Getting Real About Menopause


Be forewarned…if you can’t handle this subject matter, don’t read this post.

The idea for this blog post came to me after two weeks of non-sleep. Granted, my husband was out of town on business and I’ve never slept well with him gone. But in my sleep deprived haze I realized that it is possible to survive on only 3-4 hours of sleep a night for an extended period of time. It’s possible, because of the dreaded M word:

Menopause

Let’s say, for one moment, that menopause wasn’t a gender specific thing and men were allowed to experience the glory that is NO SLEEP, hot flashes, night sweats…and saggy everything. Charming. And attractive. So damn attractive.

I digress.

As I was saying…let’s say for a moment that we all get to experience the loveliness that is menopause. What would happen then? I have a hunch we’d all be in big, big trouble.

I’m lucky…I have one of the few husbands out there who doesn’t think he’s dying when he gets a cold. Sorry fellas, but God made us women the only ones capable of bearing children for a reason. We know how to suck it up and get on with our lives. But can you imagine your hubby going through menopause? I certainly can’t. As I’ve told mine recently, he’s not an expert non-sleeper like I am.

For the record, I DO NOT want to be an expert in this field.

Ah…the days of sleeping in…they are nothing but a beautiful memory.

Scratch that…I was never one to sleep in, but I was able to sleep all night. Until I had kids, and then I learned to function on little sleep. Since my kiddos are grown now, I have no excuse. I really could sleep all day if I wanted (except when I’m working, of course). And I do…want to, I mean. I dream about sleeping all night, and on a rare occasion it does happen. I will say this, I may be a bit rummy now, but my lack of sleep has given me plenty of time to write.

So, as I was saying (see how I keep getting diverted? no sleep is hazardous!) menopause is not for the faint of heart. The only silver lining is that you (in this case me) are (or will soon) be free of the “monthly bill”. I suppose that’s something to be happy for.

I think I’d be happier sleeping all night.

I have no issue falling asleep. I can fall asleep with people talking all around, with the TV blaring, or even reading. It’s the staying asleep that gets me – waking somewhere between 1 and 3 nightly. That’s a rather peaceful time of night, when every other sane human being is snoring along, drooling on their pillow. Me? I’m thinking about the things I have to do…trying not to look at the clock and think about the limited number of hours I have to try to fall back asleep. I’ve tried counting – sheep, my breaths, my husband breaths. I’ve tried ‘writing’ silently in my head, going back through a finished manuscript and reviewing it from beginning to end. Sometimes, one or more of that works. Most times, it does not.

I’ve tried sleeping pills…Tylenol PM…exercise…melatonin…booze. Nothing…and I mean NOTHING works. Oh, something might work for one night, but the next night is almost worse; as if I’m being punished for the drug-induced coma I was in the night before.

Am I making any sense at all? Probably not. I am sleep deprived, after all.

One day – I hope – maybe this menopause thing will be over (I’ve been going through symptoms of it since I was 38...I’m 51 now) and I’ll go back to sleeping all night. Or maybe, just maybe, I’ll learn how to function completely on a few hours’ sleep each night.

Yeah…somehow I doubt it.

-AJ

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