Friday, June 19, 2015

It's Raining Men!

By Kim York

Who would have thought it would take me to the age of 50 to figure out where to pick up men?  But, this is true!  I am not looking mind you, but I have finally figured it out!

My momma always said, “The kinda man you find is based on where you look for ‘em.”  She said church was the best place to look…and I am sure she was right.  I, however, found my husband in a bar, but thankfully he joined church and calmed down a little!

So, where is this magical place to find men?  At auctions! 

Yes, I have been to estate sales, yard sales, garage sales and barn sales, but at no time was I hit on like I was at the public auction I attended last weekend.  Yes, ladies, you can get more than a retro cat clock with eyes that “tick” at an auction! 
And, the best part is that you don’t even have to bid on them…they offer themselves up for free!  But, you have to remember; people have boxes of free stuff at yard sales all of the time…that requires a special person to take.  Just sayin!

The strangest part of all is that I was actually rather sick from heat exhaustion when I was hit on.  The auction was inside, but the air conditioning was not working properly, and it was warm!  And, as usual, my menopausal body decides to have a hot flash.  Between the 95 degree heat and the hot flash, I got pretty sick, pretty fast. 

So, I decided to start up my car and sit in air conditioning for a few minutes to cool down.  It was hard to pull myself away from the auction because they were selling some really great stuff.  But, it would not have been pretty for anyone to see me pass out…and I was getting close to that point.  I had already dropped a metal goblet drawing everyone’s attention to me.  That was embarrassing enough.  Passing out next, was not going to happen!

As I sat in my car, completely enjoying the cool air, with my eyes closed, trying to picture myself in Alaska sitting on a big iceberg, I opened my eyes to a man leaning back on the wall of the auction house staring at me.  He was smoking a cigarette with one leg bent behind him perched on the wall, and he gave me a big grin.  Felt like a scene from “Deliverance.” 
He then started walking toward my car.  I reached beside me and locked my doors.  He proceeded to get into the truck sitting next to me, and he rolled down his window.  He said something I pretended not to hear because my window was up.  And, though I truly did not know what he said, I knew I did not want to know.  I quickly got out of my car and practically ran back into the auction house. 

Ok, I was safe, and I would never go outside and get in my car alone again.  But, the time came to pay for my items and load them up.  But, I had bought a set of dishes that I could not carry to the car myself.  So, a really nice, nice-looking man offered to put them in the car for me.  As he set them in my car, he asked, “Are you feeling better?”  I said, “Yes, I just got overheated…I’m a little embarrassed.”  He then said, “Do you know what makes me hot?” I said, “I have no idea.”  But, I knew what he was going to say!  He said, “Hot women,” as he was looking down my blouse!  UGH!  This time, I got in my car and said, “Buh buy.”

So, I have pondered these events over and over in my head.  Part of me is thinking, “Seriously, these guys are old enough to be my father.”  And another part of me is thinking, “Huh, Kim, you are getting older and going through menopause.  But, you can still work it girl!”
 I had a blast at the auction, even with getting sick and being hit on.  I purchased a homemade quilt, a set of china made in Japan, a Derby glass from 1963 and a crystal deviled egg plate.  And, I actually look forward to going back.  But, next time I will bring along some pepper spray! J

May your hot flashes be mild and your wrinkles even milder!
Kim York

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Menopausal Women-You are not Alone.

Last week, I had one of those days when you ask yourself, "Am I being punished for something?" This question was followed by, "Could anything else possibly happen?"  Well, I got my answer… it could…and it did. 

But, here is the thing; I can't even remember what those things were.  I do remember a spat with my husband (we always remember things like that…right?) But, everything else is a blurr.  This tells me nothing could have been that terribly wrong.  So, why was I in such need of a pity party?


The one thing about myself I am quite aware of are my emotional mood swings.  One minute, I am driving to work, eating my banana, and thinking about what I plan to teach my students that day, the next minute I am boo-hooing because I heard "Jesus Take the Wheel" on the radio. 

I am driving myself crazy!

But, I read this article (excerpt) in Medical News Today, and realized this is fairly normal.

1 in 4 women 'struggling to cope' due to menopause

A separate International Menopause Day-related report by the UK-based not-for-profit health care provider Nuffield Health, meanwhile, finds that women feel they have little support, advice or treatment for menopause symptoms and hormonal changes.

Nuffield Health questioned 3,275 women in the UK between the ages of 40 and 65, of which 62% said they were going through hormonal changes or menopause symptoms that have a detrimental effect on their lives.
Overall, 1 in 4 women said they were struggling to cope with aspects of life due to their symptoms. Almost half (47%) of women with symptoms said they felt depressed, with more than a third (37%) suffering from anxiety.

More than two thirds (67%) of the women in the study said there was a general lack of support or advice for women going through menopause.

Written by David McNamee

This article also discusses the need for regular health checks for women going through menopause because of the increased risk of heart disease and cancer.  And, it talks about the need for increased exercise in women going through this life-changing process.
But, I want to focus on how menopause creates emotional turmoil in 25% of the women going through it.  This is a big percent of women.  This is also why we decided to begin this blog.  We all need support!

First, it is so very important that you seek medical attention if those feelings of emotional turmoil turn to depression or thoughts of suicide.  DO NOT WAIT to see if it will improve!  CALL your doctor and tell them you need help now! 

Another article by the Calm Clinic talks about stress and anxiety during perimoenopause:
This article talks about how these emotional changes start before we begin menopause, so this ultimately incorporates many years in the lives of 25% of women.  The article also stresses the importance of staying focused on positive things.

"Don't forget to stay positive. Look for activities and events that keep you focused on how great your life is and how great your life will be, not simply the fears you have about the future."

This is how I try to live, and it is what I tell my children.  Bad things happen, but focus on the good things.  It really helps you stay centered.  And, I try to remember that the bad definitely forces me to appreciate the good so much more!
Another really great site I found that was very helpful to me was Menopause Matters (link below).  There are many tips (even tips for men) regarding menopause.  You can order books and even ask a doctor a question.  Go to this site and bookmark it.  I did!

Menopause, as my partner on the Menopausal Mom blog states, is universal!  So, let's pull together and utilize this blog to offer information to each other.  Educating ourselves about this process is the key to understanding, acceptance and survival.

May your hot flashes be mild and your wrinkles even milder!
Kim York



Thursday, June 4, 2015

My Brain on Drugs

My brain doesn't work as it should.

It's not a value judgement but a fact.

I know how receptors and neurons and levels of dopamine and serotonin and how they help regulate the human existence .

I know it is all part of  highly complex system of energy and transfer and chemical reactions.

My wiring is bad.

Over the years I've learned that a lot of what I considered my fate --- depression, inattentiveness, occasional waves of of hopelessness -- was tied to my faulty wiring. I was also constantly vigilant, hyper aware of what was going on around me.

 It was exhausting.

Still, I figured it was just a part of me, like the blue-green color of my eyes or the now white color of my hair.

It was who I was and who I had to come to terms with being.

I have been this way as long as I can remember. My earliest realization of  it was when I was in the second grade. That was the year I wanted to be a nun. I prayed and prayed and prayed to God to help me although I didn't know what, exactly, why I needed help. 

I just knew I didn't seem to be like everyone else. The term alien comes to mind.  

That feeling of otherness stayed with me all these  years.

Although I tried to hide it with considerable effort and energy but it clung to me like a low, gnarly hum, always there.

I have a gift, or maybe a curse, for putting things that are mentally troublesome into a box. Can't get out bed?

Have to talk myself for an hour before going into the kitchen to get something to eat?

Seeing and experiencing things that should give me great happiness and joy, seeing these same things bring great happiness and joy to others and not being able to quite join the party.

It was an invisible veil hanging between me and the best parts of the world.

So I tucked away the sadness or distance and put it in a box. Lid ti. I was good at it. I was voted Friendliest in my senior class in high school and that kind of persona carried through much of my adult life.

There were efforts to cope. In my 20s I was put on Prozac.
At the time Prozac was rolled across the country like a fierce anti-depressant Army.  I was one of the first members of the Prozac Nation, one the 2 million or so people who used it in the first year, 1987.
It was a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.  Antidepressants of its kind now the third most prescribed type of medicine in the United States, according to the New York Times. 
It never worked for me.  It made things worse. A side effect, I found out years later, was insomnia. I struggled to sleep for years and wondered why I didn't feel better. The doctors never suggested that King Prozac might be the problem.
But eventually I stopped taking it and trudged on. But the experience left me with  deep suspicion about brain drugs.
That is not say that every day has been a soul less chore. I wasn't like Debbie Downer. I tried to keep it mostly to myself.

But it lingered in me, that sadness and pull,
I've tried other things to fix it. Alcohol, food, when I was younger handsome boys who loved me but couldn't quite reach me and didn't know what to do when I would begin crying and not be able to stop
 I have almost always had a counselor which helped keep me steady but I recently had a crisis. Not a life and death kind of crisis but a heartbreaking one. It was mostly of my own making. But I was laid low.
My carefully constructed box was no match for it and everything that had been tightly held at bay come pouring into my life. I went to work but barely got out of bed on the weekends. I told no one. I lied to some. I avoided those who might venture to guess how bad things were.
But I couldn't keep going and sought help. Again, came the suggestions of a drug for my badly wired brain. I'd like to think I was older and wiser but the truth is I was desperate.
So I listened to people who told me, as I had been told time and time before, that I had a brain disease. It wasn't a question of character or willfulness.
So I took the medicine as prescribed.  It was not a miracle cure. Two weeks in my trouble thinking was much much worse. I couldn't find the words I meant to say. I cried a lot. Going to the grocery store? I barely made it through the check out. There were conversations that I might need to go to a hospital if things didn't improve.
But they did.
So my days are brighter. Less fraught with peril. I feel genuine joy and genuine sadness. And genuine excitement. Sometimes it takes me a minute to identify what is what.
I was talking to a friend who is a doctor and he said, "You are smart lady, why did you suffer for so long?"
I don't have a good answer for that. Maybe I thought change was out of reach. Now I can be a crowded place and just be calm. Or, really, most places and just be calm. My blood pressure has gone down.
And my faulty brain, at long last, seems to have found the right path.

Shout out to the United Arab Emirates! Menopausal Moms of Kentucky has been read in 35+ countries.
Menopause is Universal!