Menopause Diary—The Beginning Basics

This became a separate post once I started writing about menopause, and it went on and on and on. I hope it helps educate you and makes the medical community aware in general of the many symptoms and issues arising from perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. I’ll keep it separate from my other posts and update it regularly. 

On menopause or postmenopausal: I guess it would be postmenopausal now as it has been over a year (?) since my last period. I got tired of keeping track because it had been coming and going for over a year prior and I had removed my period tracking app from my iPhone because I was afraid it would be used against me thanks to the fascist amorality of Republicans and their insane autocratic need to control female/LGBTQ+ reproductive systems. I still have a full box of tampons left because I was afraid I wouldn’t have any if and when I needed them. 

On what age: I’m positive it was around 40 and lasted for 10 years. I’ll be 53 in September. 

On weight gain: I ballooned in weight adding about 25-35 pounds in my early forties. This physically felt like an unhealthy weight because of all the symptoms I was experiencing alongside. 

On medication: I had stopped taking my birth control pills around my mid-thirties because my healthcare and job situation was so precarious and I had no access to maintaining my bc pills or antidepressant meds. I had previously taken Ortho-Novum birth control all of my twenties up until my mid-thirties. I took Zoloft for about a year or two early to mid-thirties and once I had access to healthcare again, I didn’t really bother. I think at one point I tried Yaz (?) and got sick. I wasn’t having sex with men so I said fuck it and didn’t bother. I did start carrying around condoms just in case I had sex with men. 

On my periods: My periods were so heavy at times you would have thought I was having miscarriages. At one point, I was on a photog biz trip with a pal to Asheville when I had to tell her she had to check into the hotel room without me because I was literally so drenched I had to put a plastic bag under me so I wouldn’t ruin my car seat. In one conversation with my Auntie and Mother, I told them that my periods were so heavy that I was using two Ultra Playtex tampons every couple of hours, and my mother, who birthed two 7-9 pound babies, looked at me with this questioning look on her face making my Auntie (her younger sister) laugh remarking your mother is wondering how you did that. I rolled my eyes. This should tell you everything you need to know about how my childhood went. 

On cognitive impairments: Around 40, I started experiencing clinical depression again (it was a different sort of clinical depression) as my two cats that I’d had for half my life, almost 20 years, died within months of each other—I was devastated. I was working professionally at the time and the organization I worked for stuck me in the center of a dark building, in a cubicle, under an air vent that blew air 24/7 onto me that turned frigid even when it was warm—this was absolute total torture for me. I couldn’t function at all as I get cold very easily and I cannot even remember if I told them or not; I’m sure I did. I was also spending every waking exhausting hour trying to get my photog biz off the ground, but the regular job was absolute misery. It was only when I was in that building because the job was one where I had to travel back and forth to DC interacting and catering to the educated elite (no, seriously) and that was enjoyable but draining for an introvert such as myself. It all went downhill from there on out. I started experiencing some cognitive events that I don’t even recall happening, nor why and how, and did some things that I am not proud of that I don’t even remember doing, or how I even got to that point (think snowball effect). I recall someone asking me if I was okay and I said yes, but I clearly was not. This was probably a coping mechanism leftover from my traumatic childhood. I’m positive I was not cognizant when any of this was happening after having reminisced about it, a lot. My emotions were all over the place, which caused more personal and professional problems. Eventually, it all accumulated until it was way too much for me to handle by myself. I went to my Auntie, my mom and gramma and tried to heal—that was ten years ago and I’m still healing. 

On cognitive impairments now: I swear I think I’m developing a mild form of dyslexia, which is the oddest feeling ever. I look at a number and write it and I somehow transpose the numbers. This could explain lots regarding the education and medical history of my immediate family and myself. 

On dietary limitations: No gluten, seeds, or dairy. I don’t think I have to tell you how depressing it is to sit with the thought that I’ll never be able to eat another slice of pizza or a nice big juicy sandwich for the rest of my life. I was a sammich girl, and I live with my mother who eats Cheese Puffs for breakfast and anything she wants. Fortunately, she doesn’t torture me by bringing her fast food into the house. She told me that would be too cruel of her knowing how distraught I am to lose the ability to eat certain things. I have explored my creativity in the kitchen though and that is a positive thing and Jersey Mike’s does have gluten free bread though it is a lot more expensive—everything is more expensive when a person has dietary limitations, not to mention inconvenient and depressing.

On coping and adapting: In my world and history thereof, the skills to sufficiently cope and adapt have always been necessary, but so exhaustive, and this in addition to being an introvert while dealing with people is just downright laborious.

Until next time.

© 2023 Matilda London/Pamela Gay Mullins

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