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(This isn’t me.  But a year and a half ago it could have been.)  

A year and a half ago, I was crazy.  Seriously.  Like certifiably insane.  I also had pseudo-Alzheimer's.  I'm allowed to say that because my mother had Alzheimer's for many years.  My father died from a malignant brain tumor.

Brain crap is a family tradition.

Entering the second half of my life, I used my therapeutic skills to "reframe" the aging process.  I wasn't half a century old, I was in my Renaissance time.  I was reinventing myself, figuring out what I was going to do with the second half of my life.

My Renaissance time was mocking me.  If the truth be told, it felt more like the Dark Ages.

I lost things on a dally basis.  They were the same things, lost over and over and over again.  This was the basic list:

1.    Car keys

2.    Cell phone.

3.    Reading glasses

4.    My sense of sanity

These items had legs of their own.  I had to become a spy to track them down.  My brain felt fuzzy and mushy.  I could physically feel a maze of disorientation in my brain.

I was reduced from professional competent woman to Lucille Ball on steroids.

Then one day, I turned into Linda Blair grown up.

My husband and I were fighting about something.  I don't remember what the fight was about.  Something about he wasn't HEARING ME.  

I went to the grocery store to cool off.  Instead of cooling off, I built the proverbial legal case in my mind.  I internally listed all my husband's blunders, faults, and personality defects.  I came up with point after point of evidence to support my case.  I was sure the Supreme Court justices themselves would have backed me.

I came home armed and ready to TALK.

Husband was watching TV.  I came in lugging bags and bags of groceries, landing them with a loud thud on the counter.

Husband is engrossed in a football game.

"WE NEED TO TALK...RIGHT NOW!"

Now, argue with me all you want, but these are the 4 most dreaded words heard by the average male..."WE NEED TO TALK".  The automatic reaction is, "Now what?  What did I do now?"  

If you really want to get to the bottom of the matter, men, when they hear these dreaded 4 words feel, at their core, shame.  Many men want to provide, want to protect, want to offer solutions.  What may seem like a harmless statement to most women becomes an accusation to the ears of a man.

Husband, sensing that he is in a no win situation calmly tells me that he is watching the game.  This incenses me.  I'm feeling an internal nuclear reaction building up in side of me.  This man is so unreasonable!

"NO!  WE NEED TO TALK AND WE NEED TO TALK NOW!"

Now he really knows he's screwed.  The shrill tone of my voice, the flashes of fire bolting out of my eyes.  I am furious.  The man is still staring at the TV seemingly unaffected by my urgent demand to be HEARD.

I then began to sound just like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, "NICK, I WILL NOT BE IGNOOOOOOOOOOORED!"

This tactic entrenches my husband further into the world of football.

Then I lose it.  I mean really lose it.  Like scary lose it.  I start picking up the groceries and throwing them in every direction of the room.  I rush over to the refrigerator, yanking the door over with such force, the entire right side of the shelf comes crashing down.  Broken bottles of ketchup and salad dressing begin happily swimming all over the kitchen floor.  This makes me even more angry.  

My husband's transfixed stare at the TV turns in to a look of utter disbelief at me as he slowly starts shaking his head.

I take my strategic position in front of the TV with my hands on my hips.  "NOW, DO YOU SEE HOW SERIOUS I AM?  YOU NEED TO TALK TO ME NOW NOW NOW!

Husband quietly gets up and walks past me.  "Mary, you are in no state of mind to talk right now."  He walks into the living room where there is a very irritating annoying large TV and turns the game on.  And BTW, it's not even the Broncos playing.  This adds more insult to injury.

I am huffing and puffing.  I can only see red.  This man is being so unreasonable!  He is so stubborn!  How dare he not want to talk to me!  How dare he not care???

In the living room, we begin a comedy routine of turning the TV on, turning the TV off, turning the TV on, turning the TV off.

Then I tire of this, as it is not producing the desired effects.  I grab the remote control and start throwing it at the wall.  I keep throwing it until it produces the new desired effect...a large divot in the wall.

Husband then goes back in the other room.  The kitchen looks like a war zone.  Spilt milk is all over the family room carpet.  Salsa, orange juice, a broken jar of mayonnaise join the already displaced food items that have suddenly become homeless.

I am practically hyperventilating so crazed am I by his stubborn behavior.

He says calmly, "Mary, you better start cleaning this up."

" $xx%(#W&($#*&##, I AM NOT CLEANING THIS UP!  YOU CLEAN IT UP  $#&*@(&$#*(&#*#!  YOU STARTED THIS AFTER ALL!"

I was frantically looking around for something else to throw against some innocent wall.  My heart rate is at about 170.  Then some small rational voice inside of me says, "You need to get out of the house.  You need to go for a drive.  You need to get some space."

I listen to the voice.  It's the first rational thing I've done all day.  I drive over to Don and Susie's.  They are enjoying a peaceful Sunday morning.  I stomp in and tell Don, "YOU NEED TO GO OVER AND TALK TO NICK AND TALK SOME SENSE INTO HIM!  HE'S BEING HORRIBLE AND ABUSIVE!"  I describe the kitchen scene.  Don just smiles and says in his very calm voice (so good to have a close friend who was a Navy fighter pilot back in the day), "OK, Mary, I'll go talk to Nick and see what's up.  Besides, I've gotta go see the damage!"

Don leaves.  He is gone for hours.  I'm sitting there plotting revenge, fantasizing about divorce papers and a life away from such a crazy man.

Susie doesn't say a whole lot.  Later, Don and Nick saunter in the door with silly grins on their faces.  Don declares in a big booming voice, "We ran out of Scotch and football games!"  

They are in the best moods!  Don has obviously betrayed me and turned red coat and gone to the other side.

The next morning, due to the grace of synchronistic timing, I have an appointment with the bioidentical hormone doc.  I'd made the appointment because I was tired of the foggy brain, the constant forgetting where things were, and uh, oh yeah, I forgot this part, THE DREADED DECREASE IN LIBIDO.

I sit down across the compassionate woman, the woman who's been through it herself, the expert on peri-menopause and menopauses (the pauses that feel more like a never-ending story than a pause).

I start crying.  Now, I'm not a "crier", but lately I had been.  I blather out my stories, including the rampage of the day before.

She listens carefully.  When I finally come up for air and am blowing my nose, she reaches into her drawer and hands me a small patch.  "Mary, take this into the bathroom and put it on your skin right below your belly button.  Ask no questions.  Just do this NOW."

Like a small child, I obey without question.  

I return and she tells me that my husband is not crazy and that I'm not crazy.  I'm just peri-menopausal and it's going to be okay.  She gives me prescriptions for more things like Progesterone and Estriol.  And she tells me to check back with her in a week.

On the drive back home from Denver to Boulder, I'm calmer.  Like significantly calmer.  Like calm enough to be objective.  

I've been on this hormone patch and bio-identical hormones since then.  Now, I don't want to be so arrogant as to say that I still don't go through my up's and down's.  

But before I went on them, I had lost connection with me.  I couldn't trust myself, I couldn't depend on myself.  My feelings were up and down, in and out, blown up to epic proportions that at the time seemed to be so logical and reasonable.

My husband had been gently trying to tell me some of these things.  But, and many a woman will attest to this, the worst thing a man can say to a woman when she's hormonal is "You're being hormonal".

Diet, exercise, meditation and bioidentcal hormones has helped me to travel through this windy path without the cliffs, sharp rocks and emotional daggers.

And the question all men want to ask, "WHAT ABOUT THE LIBIDO?  PLEASE TELL US IT HELPED WITH THE LIBIDO!"

So let me get real graphic here.  Men, let's have a come to Jesus meeting here.  When a woman is off hormonally, sometimes the simple act of being touched can make a woman want to go Uzzi.  The skin is prickly, sensitive.  It's the feelings of hundreds of spiders crawling over the skin. And this is important, IT'S NOT PERSONAL.  It's just "what is".

So before I answer the Where the Hell is the Libido question, let me just say that it's the sex piece that seems to hurt couples the most.  The loss of desire, the loss of intimacy, the loss of the physical connection so important to both men and women, and let's be really honest here, so essential to the happiness of men.

Oh if women really understood the need men have to feel valued and connected and loved through the act of sex and if men really understood the unwelcome changes women experience, changes that feel out of their own control, we would all be better off walking through this complex maze together, with mutual compassion and understanding.

SO, TO ANSWER THE URGENT QUESTION OF MEN, YES, BIOIDENTICAL HORMONES DEFINITELY HELP WITH THE LIBIDO!

Bioidentical hormones/hormone replacement therapy aren't for every woman, especially women with a family history of breast cancer, but there are many natural alternatives that can be profoundly helpful.

If you're a woman suffering from any of the symptoms I've described, don't let anyone tell you you're crazy or need to be put on anti-depressants.  Check with someone who knows women and knows hormones.  There is relief.

What do you have to lose, except yourself?  And if you're a woman going through this unassisted, you know, you've lost yourself already.



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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote May 4, 2009
    • I’m not there yet but I thoroughly enjoyed YOUR story!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Robinesque wrote May 4, 2009
    • DEFINITELY some parts will be forwarded to the husband!!  He’s already expecting the worse, which to him, is the change in our air conditioning!!

      Peeper:  What do you mean, “The only "side effects" of the bioidentical hormones was that I found my memory, got rid of the menopausal symptoms?”

      So, what is the name of these Bioidentical hormones?  Is it a classification or individual names to look for?



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Getawaygal wrote May 5, 2009
    • OMG...I’m not quite as bad as you were prior to the hormones, but, at 45, what you are saying is sounding awfully familiar...I can see myself headed in that direction. Peri-menopause didn’t even occur to me...I was just wondering why I felt “hormonal” during my supposedly non-hormonal times of the month!  Sigh...but, reading this made me feel better and made me realize I’m NOT crazy...



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Debra Montgomery wrote Apr 29, 2010
    • So how long does it take for the hormones to take affect?  I am picking up my meds tomorrow.  

      Our intimate life is gone, along with my figure, sleep, confidence as a woman and I find myself feeling so angry and agitated sometimes, I can’t even stand myself, let alone accommodate someone else in the house. We are self employed and live in a remote area so most of the time, I don’t have anywhere to go to get away - I just have the option of stopping my work and going all the way to town or putting on my IPOD and cleaning the animal pens.  This, of course, affects our income if I don’t get my work done.  Sometimes, for now, at least, I wish we could work separate schedules or something.  I really feel like I just need a lot of time to myself right now.  

      Anymore I can’t tell if it is just me or if we just spend too much time together.  I used to be strong and able to do my job as a welder, but since we moved up here, and due to the changes in the economy, I have had to give up my gym membership and have lost a significant amount of strength over the last couple of years, making it increasingly difficult to do my job.  On top of that is this menopause thing, so I have gained weight, I can’t get enough sleep, my face is red and blotchy from constant hot flashes and break outs.  The last thing I want to do is anything sexual. I find myself getting jealous of the guys we have helping us now because they are doing the jobs I used to do.  It sounds silly, I know, but I am getting to where I can hardly bring myself to go down to the shop to work anymore if anyone is there.  

      I have just become a new grandma and have a trip planned to Hawaii to see my son and his family to celebrate the new little guy and I am afraid in the humidity over there, the hot flashes and agitation could potentially ruin my visit because I don’t feel like I always have control.  

      I have had trouble over the past could of years since about two years post hysterectomy.  But this is as bad as it has ever been.  

      Is this going to get better?  Not sure if this is going to put a permanent dent in our relationship.

      I am sad, mad and frustrated.



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