I wish I drank. If I did, I would totally be lushed out right now.
For the past few weeks, my life has been all kinds of shaken and stirred with plenty of lemons and lime squirts, but no yummy olives.
For starters, it’s no picnic to get a menstrual period after 8 months of not having one and worse, to get one that is so painful it makes up for lost time and lasts for almost a full week. Enduring the excruciating pain of my nether region revolt coupled with full-body aches and pains from taking on a house cleaning gig didn’t make for a great time.
I doubled down on self-pity and self-loathing and went into full-on defeat mode – I crashed, hard.
For the first time in a long while, I contemplated checking out and not just running from family, friends and social media, which I did, I’m talking about the ultimate check out. I didn’t know how to make myself get up another day to face my failed life. I couldn’t find the inner strength to keep fighting the good fight and I felt so utterly alone.
I cried and I wallowed, I got pissy and cranky and then, I stopped that shit cold turkey.
How? Honestly, I don’t know exactly. It’s not that I don’t still feel the pain, I do, just thinking about the past few weeks makes me teary-eyed, but I think disconnecting from the noise of social media helped.
Also, a dear friend (thanks Ben) pointed out that I’ve probably put too much pressure on myself trying to keep up with the writing schedule that I’d made for my blog, social media, newsletters, et al. He’s right, this Wonder Woman shit ain’t pretty – I can only do what I can do. I’m looking for meaningful work to pay the bills while trying to write and share my truth. It’s not easy. I’m depleting my strength reserves faster than I can replenish.
The biggest help was recognizing that I need deep connections with like-minded folks to recharge my energy.
I need to get myself out into the world and connect with people who I can relate to, go on adventures or simply have deep-hearted conversations over coffee or lunch.
I’m in a new state, a new city and I’m an anxiety-prone introvert, how the hell am I supposed to “get myself out there” to find people without subjecting myself to the noise of social media?
I considered creating a “friends-wanted” ad, crazy right? Instead, I decided to get involved with local groups through Meetup. In true introvert fashion though, I signed up for groups and RSVP’d to events that I couldn’t bring myself to go to but something awesome happened when I connected with an introvert group. One of the requirements for joining the group is that you watch one of Bréne Brown’s TedTalks, specifically, The power of vulnerability.
Okay, here’s the thing, I kinda knew who Bréne Brown was, sorta. I’ve never listened to or read any of Bréne’s videos or books though I’ve seen some of her inspirational quotes cycle through social media. In my mind, I’d pictured her as Shonda Rhimes, I don’t know why.
Watching the power of vulnerability video on YouTube was exactly what I needed. Here’s what’s crazy, just a few days before that video found me, I told my hubs that a huge part of my feeling depressed is the feeling that I don’t belong, that I’m on the outside, that I just don’t fit anywhere. If you’re not already familiar with Bréne or this video, watch it and tell me if you can guess why it made such a huge impact on me.
The Universe will give you what you need when you need it.
I needed the validation that what I’m feeling has merit and that I’m on the right track.
I was physically sick with womanly issues, sick mentally and emotionally causing me to withdraw from myself and writing. I was gasping for air, grasping for hope and direction, I needed to stop and reset. Now I have a newfound strength and dedication to myself and my writing that feels authentic and healthy. I can breathe again.
Finally, midlife ladies, I want to tell you that menopause gets easier and maybe one day soon I’ll be able to tell you that with conviction.
Until then, if you’re feeling depressed don’t do what I did, don’t suffer in silence. At the very least, find someone to talk to, having a connection to someone who understands the crazies of menopause is better than suffering alone and a lot better than vodka.
Jae Hermann is a writer, an award-winning actress, and reformed marketing professional. She lives with her hubs and their two fur-babies in Olympia, WA. Read Jae’s midlife mental health, wellness, and lady boss bits on her blog, Becoming Jae. Also connect with Jae on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.