Monday, 22 August 2011

Head, heart & hormones?

This is going to be a very self indulgent post.  Feel free to click away without reading, I just need to write some of this stuff down.

I have had an overwhelming urge to be on my own for most of this year.  I left home at 20, met my husband at 21, became a parent at 26 and so at 45 I have always been somebody's Someone, now I just want to be my Me.  Not daughter, not wife, not mother.  Just Debbie.  Classic mid-life crisis.  Women in their mid 40's are well known for going of the rails and its been a source of amusement for years, I have laughed at the stereotype myself. Living with it is so not funny.  

On one hand I feel incredibly trapped, like my life is slipping away and if I don't do something utterly selfish, for me, to reclaim these final years before I no longer care I am going to go mad.  I sometimes get really panicked about the way the years are ripping by, sometimes I sit somewhere on my own and have a really good cry, makes me look like ten types of crap and isn't making me feel any better at all.

On the other I realise that I have a lovely husband, great kids, and am healthy (ok have RA but compared to other people with it have got off lightly to be honest) and that I have so much to be grateful for.  I have always been half full, easily pleased, lived in the now and not sweated the stuff I couldn't change.

I literally feel like I am being torn in two, by the need to do something and the realisation that I can't.   Occasionally I have to really work to resist the urge to pick up my handbag and my car keys and get in the car and just drive. Seriously, it seems like a good idea.  So far putting the kettle on and having a cup of tea has stopped me doing it.

Having pretty much pushed my luck as far as my marriage goes S and I reached a point last week where we discussed splitting up.  I actually said I wanted to be on my own.  But I don't actually believe that I do.  I think it is the only way I can see myself getting away from the guest house.  I make no secret of not loving the guest house but for 10 years I have been able to keep myself in check, it would seem looking at a recent review that I am not doing that so well anymore.  The review reads "We received a very warm welcome from Steve"  the lack of mention when it was me that served their breakfast every morning for 7 days seems rather pointed.  And it is deserved.  I know I was less friendly than I should have been.  Which is even more pressure that I could do without.  I am struggling to get a grip a lot of the time and now I have to remember that whatever I am feeling I have to smile and be charming and interested in our guests too.  See why I feel I need to escape!

Bizarrely until this weekend I had never given a moments thought to the fact that my pitiful mental state could be due, in part, to a hormonal imbalance.  I found a book in the library that on the cover has a photo of a small white house surrounded by miles of moorland with a huge sky and no neighbours and when I saw the picture I thought "thats it, thats where I want to be"  
The book is a study of silence and how it can be both theraputic and terrible, depending on whether it is sought out or forced upon you.    Whilst I am quite clear that I do not want "silence" some of what she felt is similar to how I am feeling and that has been very comforting.  I am not going mad, I'm menopausal!  

If I am honest I would say that I am feeling much better about things now that I know that there might be a reason why I have been feeling so awful.  I had considered therapy and having confessed to a couple of people that I had had some very dark thoughts, they had urged me to seek that kind of help.  I am resistant to the thought of therapy, I am not sure why, it just feels like an admission of failure maybe?  Or maybe because it is just so self indulgent?  Not sure and might yet explore that avenue.

I think "doing" something might be of more help.  I quite fancy doing a creative writing course, just for the hell of it no aspirations of becoming a writer, palpable relief all round! So am going to have a google and see what I can turn up.

So, thats where I am at.  Navel gazing done for today, thanks for reading. If you did.


  1. I read, and totally understood what you meant. It's all about re-establishing your identity. I hope you find yourself

  2. I'm sorry that you've been feeling like this but it must feel a lot better to know that it's hormonal rather than a hole you can't climb out of. Do you think going off on a holiday on your own for a week or so might help? Maybe combine it with a residential course in something you would enjoy? I imagine it is hard to get away with the guest house though.

    I know you say you're resistant to the idea or therapy but do you think it would be worth going to your GP to see what options are available to you? I'm thinking HRT rather than counselling.

    I hope there some light at the end of the tunnel. I hope that writing down how you've been feeling will lighten the load too xx

  3. Thanks Kellie, thats exactly what its about, fingers crossed I can get it sorted sooner rather than later!

    Hi Jane, have had more than my fair share of holidays already this year tbh although I did book the writing course which starts in October so I am looking forward to that. I think I am in the early stages of menopause, not sure when you can start on HRT but it would certainly be something to consider, am loathe to go to the Dr as am there lots already because of the RA and a knee issue I have so more pills doesnt appeal, although patches might be worth a whirl! Writing it all down helped hugely tbh, which is what I had hoped!

  4. You sound as though you do need time away on your own. It will give you a chance to reflect, perhaps realise that you miss what you do have,or it will confirm what you already feel. Chin up, we're still reading, and hoping you find your way

  5. I really think it's brave of you to talk about how you are feeling so openly on your blog. I know I've felt this way plenty of times with my depression and I found that going away for a few days on my own really helps. Even if you don't 'think' about your situation and just enjoy some peace and quiet.

    I'm here if you want to talk via email or phone lemme know x

  6. Hi Liz thanks, I think some time away would be ideal but unfortunately its just not realistic, with the guest house and the cleaning business there is just too much for one person to cope with and my work is freelance so if I dont do that I dont get paid, so I think I need to sort my head out whilst I get on with the other stuff!

    Hi Annabella, thank you for the offer of an ear, its much appreciated! I have never experienced anything that I could have described as depression but I think this is as close to it as I might get. I do have issues that go right back to my childhood that it would probably do me good to address but I am always afraid that once I lift the lid on all that my head will just explode, or my life will implode or something will do something ending in "ode"!!

    Everyone, the supportive comments have been a big help in themselves, thank you all very much. xx

  7. A few months back I read an article that said the perimenopausal phase could last about 10 years - it was a huge revelation. I thad some useful suggestions, being the hoarder I am it may be around somewhere I'll have a look. I know my mum started to feel like she was swimming through treacle sometime around her mid 40's.

    Doing a course is a great idea - I remember being on a mental health course at work and doing something like that for yourself was one of the recommendations as a positive step to keep on top of good mental health. At the time I had just signed up on an art course to distract myself from the not getting pregnant which was having a huge impact on my MH - I had a 'rah I'm doing the right thing moment' which is why I remember it so clearly. That and the fact that I couldn't stand the smell of the oil paints by the end of the course;) I digress. A change is as good as a rest - a course that takes you out for a few hours to yourself is better than a holiday.

    Puts on her I studied Psychology (baddly) hat - (actually it's the personal experience of someone close)If you have issues from your childhood they won't go away on their own and may just come and bite you at a more vulnerable time later down the track - Go deal with them!


  8. Helen. Wow, thanks for your detailed reply! If you can find that info would be interested to read it, friend recommended something with soya that she took so need to ask her about that too.

    Glad the course is the right thing to do, have to say it feels completely right. Last time I did anything like this I went to France on my own for a weeks photography course, was terrified! But ended up loving every minute of it, I have always liked the creative side of things but was brought up that academic was best, sadly but I can understand where they are coming from! Personally if I could earn my money taking photos of people wearing earrings and necklaces I had made, eating food I had cooked would be a happy lady! That said if the outcome of my doing the course is the same as yours will have fifty fits!! That is such a lovely story btw! x

    As for the childhood issues, nothing hideous, but had very bad relationship with my dad - he always much prefered my very pretty blond sister and wasnt overly keen on his wordy, chunky, older daughter! That said we do now get on well and part of me feels it would be incredibly disloyal to discuss what is very firmly in my past whilst he is still around. I am horribly aware that at some point he wont be around and I think when that happens I might have to deal with things. Thank you again for confirming that its ok to feel like I do!xx

  9. I read this post and then re read it hun. I really understand where you are coming from with this.
    I have been feeling much the same recently, i even went to my doctor about something completely different and when he asked me if i had been down or depressed recently i just burst into tears.
    I keep thinking that surely there is more to life than this? Then i feel guilty for feeling that way because i have 2 beautiful kids and am happily married (most of the time)
    I too have been looking at doing something just for me as i think when you are a wife and mother sometimes it feels like you are so busy supporting everybody else that your hopes and dreams just sort of fade away bit by bit without you realising and before you know it you lose the real you.
    I dont have any advice but all i can say is i feel a lot better for knowing im not the only one who feels this way.
    Thanks for sharing so much xxx

  10. Nicoletta you summed it up totally "your hopes and dreams just sort of fade away bit by bit without you realising and before you know it you lose the real you." Absolutely spot on. And increasingly as I speak to friends and lovely lovely people comment on this post I realise that actually part of what makes women so vulnerable to this sort of feeling is what also makes us so bloody powerful. We feel. We feel our own pain, we feel other peoples pain and we reach out to them and connect in a really meaningful way just through shared experience. And that connecting makes us strong.

    You and I both know we can do anything we want. And once we re-direct our negative feelings into positive actions there will be no stopping us and we wont need to discard or trample over our families to achieve it, we will be able to look after ourselves whilst continuing to look after them.

    Your idea of setting something up for yourself, saw your tweets!, is a brilliant idea. You are quite clearly personable, friendly and genuine and those qualities will make any business of yours a success because before anyone buys a product or service they buyer the person selling that product or service and someone like you will have no problems selling themselves. You will do brilliantly and if you do decide to do something that needs photography to promote it I am right now offering to come and take those photos for you for free.

  11. Aww thanks so much honey you are a such a star :)
    I cant tell you how much it means to me to read that. I am now officially walking around with a big smile on my face.
    You are so right in everything that you say xxxxxx

  12. Debbie, that was so open and honest! I really get where your coming from. As everyone has said, take some time out and do something for yourself. The course sounds like a great idea. I think anyone can get stuck in a rut. I know I feel like that at the moment. It's just what do you to get back on track? Hmmmm you've got me thinking now.... Here to chat if you need me x

  13. Hi Leanne
    thanks for the offer of a chat if needed, much appreciated! You are right, I am sure its not just women becoming barren whose heads are all over the shop; younger, fecund folk also have moments where they feel they have lost their way too! I can't wait to start the course and you will of coure be able to share my progress as I may just post some of my "creative" writing!! xx

  14. You do that! I can't wait to read it. Are we going down the erotic fiction route?? ;o) x

  15. Finally found the article - in the days before the times pay wall I would have had it there and then! Thought I might have to get a copy, but thankfully found a copy online

  16. Thank you for the link, very interesting and makes perfect sense. A friend of mine took a soya based thing that she felt really helped so am going to drop her a line and ask for the name of it. xx

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Would love to hear from you, I always read comments and reply and I love not feeling like I am talking to myself! dx


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