Of Mice and Menopause

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Mens, ya’ll don’t know how lucky ya’ll is.

Yall’s lucky NOT to go through the debilitating pain and inconvenience of a monthly menses. 

Lucky in that you DON’T have to endure a painful and emotionally erratic apogee and perigee that is the cessation of that monthly menses.

Our bodies break down.  Male…female…it always happens regardless of gender and there’s never any dignity in this process.    Women though (and I say this because I am one) have it tougher.   Sorry, but on this I will not negotiate.  And I say this as my self-esteem and boobs race to head south first.   I accept this, therefore I don’t mind being the age I am, I just don’t like the aging process or how I got here physically.   It’s like the difference between death and dying.  

So, for a middle-aged woman,  menopause is an unavoidable fact of life.   That doesn’t mean I have to like it.  In fact, I hate the emotionalism of menopause.  Sometimes, I think when we women are in its throes, we’re certifiably crazy.   I can honestly look back over the last few years, especially since my once fertile ovaries now only produce powdered eggs, and I know I’ve demonstrated full on lunacy from time to time.   Real Francis Farmer shit, too.

But it’s the fact that I bounced from bat shit crazy to relative sanity on my own that confounds me.  No pills, no weekly visit to the man with the office filled with naugahyde couches and boxes of Kleenex everywhere. 

So, is this the norm?   And if it is the norm, what exactly is it supposed to be?   And in the midst of menopause is there such a beast as normalcy in the truest sense???? 

Can a therapist (or an endocrinologist or ob/gyn) tell you what’s normal and what isn’t, based on what text books taught her? 

I mean, have you ever actually listened to therapists trying to out shrink each other?   Have you ever seriously listened to them as they talk about mundane things outside of their field? As God as my witness, if they use the word “narcissist” once to describe someone, they use it a MILLION times. I think  over heard a bevy of them in a supermarket once, use that word to describe a squash.

What the Freud??

I’ve dabbled in comedy and humor all my life. People have asked me, “Hey Laurie, are you funny all the time?”

No.   I’m rarely funny when I’m funny.   But I would think it’s probably hard for someone in the mental health profession to stop being in the mental health profession even in their throes of their private lives. The attitude, the knowledge, the training is pervasive, I would imagine.

I thought about becoming a psychologist briefly in High School. I conned my mother into getting me a monthly prescription to Psychology Today. It bored me. Cognitive this…and cognitive that.

Snore.

I then took three hours of psychology in college. I don’t remember much about the course other than the day we discussed libido and even that’s hazy.

Snore, then a prominent tongue smack followed by a lip flubber.

But when a relationship blew up at the same time my TV career imploded in the late 80’s, I started seeing a an analyst on a regular basis. He was Rogerian in approach. Very patient centered. Everything I said, he followed up with his patented, “And how did that make you feel?”

Snore, lip smack and a rip of sleep induced flatulence–the kind that can flutter a top sheet.

I answered him, because well, Laurie Kendrick ALWAYS had an answer, but I never told him what was really bothering me. I was still such a ridiculous people pleaser back then. I actually wanted him to like me.  Like that mattered.  I was paying the man to listen to me for God’s sake.  How counter productive is that?

I left after two months and had nothing to show for it..

I was in search of a Freudian because I knew for a fact “mommy” was involved and I felt I needed someone with clinical chops to back me up.   As it turned out, I was right. The Freudian was who and what I needed. Interesting, too. He was great at interpreting dreams and he also introduced me to the Repressed Laurie.

I loved therapy because it allowed me to talk about me. At the time, I’d just gotten back in to TV news and had spent a career interviewing others, reading what others had written and being forced to act a certain way for the sake of the almighty ratings point.    I pushed the envelope, but I never shoved it.  

Repression and my recognition of it became HUGE in my life.  My therapist helped with that and then I started to doubt his ability to help me, personally.   I felt I needed more than just recognizing certain emotional inequities within me.   My abandonment issues always kicked and negated whatever progress I’d made.   Those feelings ALWAYS came to the forefront whenever he looked at his watch and said “That’s all the time we have for today”.    So,  I left. Guess he got too close. Or I got too close to something.   Psychologically, I needed to have issues back then.  Sometime we create neediness when we need neediness.  The assertive neurotic is a much more efficient pysch patient.   

Then, during another dalliance with shrinks in the mid 90’s, I had one very forward thinking therapist who sent me to a psychic, because I felt hopeless. He said I needed “psychic therapy”. I got more out of the psychic. She told me that a man with brown hair, two daughters, and odd last name and this inexplicable need to spend a lot of time in airports would soon be coming onto my romantic horizon.

And then after seven of the worst years of life with a pilot with the morals of flagella, I went…nay, I ran back into therapy again.

So, once back in the world of rhetorical queries and tears,I felt OK again.    I stayed with this particular unorthodox shrink the longest. I liked him, but he had strange eyebrows that would change shape with every expression he’d make. It got to the point that I would sit there, look at him and see Rorschach images in those ever-changing eyebrows of his.   If that wasn’t strange enough, he also had some rather odd precepts about love, sex and reasoning.   

Can you say “Rollo May”?

I never cried much during my sessions with this particular therapist and I actually had much to cry about. The tears just wouldn’t flow–not in session anyway. I’m not sure why.

In fact, I’m not sure why we cry at all.

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But we do.

I cry a lot.  Lately, I’m damned effusive about it.  It takes little to set me off–Folgers coffee commercials; an AARP spot.   Those damned Geico ads.

Those damned hormones: 

MY FINAL THOUGHT:

I think I might get back into therapy again. I feel the need.   So, enjoy the fruits of my emotional fragmentation.  I think you’ll absolutely HATE my posts if I ever get mentally/emotionally healthy.   But don’t worry;  I’m far from that.  In truth, I’m feeling a little anxious abnd beyond that,  mentally occluded lately.   Life doesn’t feel as it if fits.  Something is askew; out of place.  Maybe it’s me in a nutshell.    

If you read a recent post of  mine which outlined a very dysfunctional relationships  with the woman whose birth canal I once traversed,  then you  know I must do what needs doing in terms of self help.  If I seek it,  I hope I can find a nice Rogerian therapist again.  I don’t think I gave the first one much of a chance. Besides, when this new one asks how things make me feel,  these days, I’ll have a hell of a lot more to tell him.   I’ve learned how to master sustaining anxiety and self loathing in recent years.

Speaking of….

“Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom”.

–Kierkegaard

“It’s called “Ativan”,  Soren.   Might I suggest you try one!”

–Laurie Kendrick

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One comment

  1. Hun I don’t think anyone would hate your posts if you got mentally stable. In all actuality I hope that you do become mentaly stable and become happy, aftereall we only get one life to live and we must make the most of it! And it’s very hard to make the most of it if you’re constantly sad and depressed, I know first hand. When I was younger there were lots of times that I thought about just giving up but you have to fight through it and in the end things will be better I can assure you! Keep your chin up dear!

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