“Housework can’t kill you, but why take a chance?” –Phyllis Diller
So the reason it took more than 50 years to discover that I had this hardly rare “disorder” called ADD is that the condition was seriously exacerbated by the effects of, shall we say, hormonal changes. Until I hit about 50, I was managing — maybe not as well as I could have had I known I had ADD, but I was getting by.
Perimenopause is the period in a woman’s life when she is going through “the change.” I hate that term. I prefer transition; it just sounds more Zen.
Anyway, the transition is often referred to as menopause. But in reality, menopause is when the hormone shifting has pretty much ended along with all the crap a bunch of dissipating hormones brings.
And when I say crap, I don’t mean that literally — holy hell is more like it.
My symptoms include hot flashes and, trust me, they are not pleasant even in the dead-freezing cold of a Rocky Mountain winter. In fact, the after effects often result in chills. Sometimes I’d get so hot my glasses fog. The hot-cold cycles also severely disrupt my sleep.
I use present tense here because I’m still in the throes of it. However, I am doing significantly better thanks to a little patch I slap on my butt or belly twice weekly. It was a difficult decision to go on hormone replacement therapy, but that’s another blog entry …
Many women who’ve been through it will tell you they get quite befuddled during the transition. Forgetfulness, difficulty communicating and serious cognitive issues sometimes arise. Sleep disturbances only serve to heighten these challenges.
Depression is also not uncommon — predicated, in part, by all the other lovely perimenopausal symptoms.
Creased and nearly falling apart, it is clear this notebook is my constant companion. It contains random phone numbers, ideas, book and video suggestions from other people, old to-do lists and vague reminders.
It’s sort of like going through adolescence all over again — what fun! Only now you understand what’s going on AND you’re trying to live an adult life. So really it’s just damn frustrating.
There’s no more tantrum throwing, emotional meltdowns or locking oneself in the closet only to come out later to a nice, hot dinner and a forgiving family. Seriously, it’s just not acceptable adult behavior. But believe me, I’ve probably wanted to do all these things (and worse) over the past year or so. You women out there of a certain age know what I mean.
So combine this transition thing with ADD and you have a human wrecking ball — at least that’s what I feel like sometimes.
For example, another fun thing about people with ADD is their tendency toward disorganization. Despite my best efforts, I just can’t seem to keep things — let alone my life — tidy. Add to that the befuddlement of the transition and you get, well, me.
I’ve been working to make my freelance writing life more organized and it’s mostly working thanks to Google calendar and GTasks — a mobile app that syncs Google calendar and Google tasks from my computer (actually Google’s gargantuan servers, I guess) into a single window on my phone.
I also carry around a small notepad which I use to take down quick notes which I usually transfer to my computer or phone later. It’s just faster than putting them into my phone when I’m on the run.
But my stuff, well, that’s still a struggle.
I’m attempting to ascribe to the OHIO (Only Handle It Once) behavior and it’s also helping. It’s gratifying to see our house getting less cluttered.
However, right now I haven’t seen my cool coffee press travel mug for weeks (maybe months).
The significant other’s coffee press mug. Mine’s missing.
And I know I’m missing other things, but I can’t even remember what they are. One day, perhaps, I’ll come across them again and it will be a fun eureka moment. Until then, I guess I’ll remember what I’m missing when I need it. Or maybe I just didn’t need it to begin with …