What would you do?

There are two other teachers at school who are my age, 40+, so I decided to confide in them, both of them have studies in medicine making them all the more appropriate… I approached one by the copy machine and whispered to her:

“What would you do?” and she turned around to look at me directly in the eyes, ” what would I do about what?” she asked back… and I told her how I’d been feeling, foggy minded, a bit dizzy, like when you’re in the WC in an airplane, yes, that kind of dizzy! Terrible anxiety, feeling like staying in bed all day with the covers up to my eyes… Extremely sensitive, on the verge of crying till I shriveled up like a prune… not knowing how I got where ever I went or why I went there in the first place… the arrhythmia and heaviness in the chest… etc… “How about your period?”… “Hmmm, longer, heavier, closer together, and that’s if I remember to write it down on the calendar, if not then I just suppose I did get my period the previous month” … “Sweetheart, I’m going through the same thing” she said… “Really?!!” I asked incredulously “but you are so healthy and grounded and intelligent, a fabulous teacher, with everything in order…”… “Well, this is perimenopause and it doesn’t care about that… you need to go to your gynecologist to start looking for answers, at least that’s what I did!”… “OK, I’ll start there”…

Semester finals came up and I forgot about this appointment with self-care… I continued my half-functioning, half-aware life… not noticing how I was about to touch the deepest point in the pool as I tried to calculate my students’ grades… I had no idea what to do, I couldn’t concentrate, the numbers would dance on the screen and on my lists… at one of the worse moments of overwhelm my husband started asking me for quatities of payments done and due, I zoned out, could not speak until I just barely said, “I don’t remember, I don’t know”… “What?” he said in a very loud demanding tone, “Think!” he insisted… instead I started digging through my mess of a purse looking for ATM and grocery receipts to explain how much I had spent and where… I panicked… he decided to take away my credit and debit cards, I felt relieved, I had wanted to let go of that worry for a long time now, of course this meant he didn’t trust me anymore, though at that moment I didn’t trust myself either so no hard feelings, just relief…

He gave me everything back on Monday as he realized he had misplaced his credit card and had to cancel it… Karma, I thought as I put the credit and debit cards back in my wallet…

Christmas vacations started and I slept through like a bear in hibernation, that’s all I had the energy to do: SLEEP. I did put up the tree and it was one of the most peaceful moments to just sit and lose myself in its beautiful lights and decorations… The Christmas rush did not get to me, I was depleted. I gathered up strength and thoughts of gratitude to get me through Christmas dinner with the in-laws, that was it… we had our 17th anniversary and did nothing special, I just made a trip down memory lane back to my newly married years and how complicated they had been and now here I was, 17 years later, losing my youth along with my mind.

January 5, I get a call from school, “There’s a student here complaining about her grade, she says she didn’t flunk and her mom wants to talk with you, she needs for you to explain to her your class program and all the tasks done, when can you meet with her?”… I started to hyperventilate and asked to speak to the principal before doing anything else… and I cried, from frustration, from self-pity, from disappointment in myself and what I was becoming, from despair at the possibility of not going back to who I was before all this started…

I made my appointment with the gynecologist for the next day… She ordered I get a pap smear, my thyroid checked, a general blood test and another one that consisted of about 25 different markers… “We’ll know what’s happening once we get your results” she said bluntly.

9 responses to “What would you do?

  1. Dear Karen, I love when my words help others just as I love when other’s words make me feel better, teach me something or comfort me, like yours always do. I know that superwoman syndrome, I stopped a while ago, can you imagine how crazy I was back then juggling every single task I got offered or asked to do, never saying no…and still, the remnants of that got me here like this, depleted. “Set healthy boundaries” I like this!!! tell me more 🙂 Being over Doing!!! another quotable to really dive into. Thank you Karen, you speak from experience and with your heart, the best combo, it is truly comforting to read your words and see how you are so active in a life that you love, I want that, keep being an inspiration and a role model for us, the newborn group of women just discovering life again. Love back to you plus a huge hug, Ale

  2. Oh my, not feeling that wise, though 🙂 but it is so true, start practicing unitasking before you don’t have a choice… if we are not patient and considerate with ourselves then who will be? I am learning/appreciating so many things, but that’ll be part of my conclusion post 🙂 xoxoxo

  3. As you wisely say: One thing at a time. A lesson for all [including yours truly who is trying to ‘carry one too many watermelons in one hand’ an old Greek expression for multitasking!]. Take care of you!!! 🙂 Hugs [some more!] xxxx

  4. Hi Alexandra,

    I’m sorry to hear about your tough times, with so many demands on you. I’m about ten years older than you, and have gone through times like you are going through, but mine didn’t seem connected to physical changes that you’re talking about, which yours very well could be.

    The thing that I’ve noticed about myself is that I’m not super woman. I can’t do everything at the same time. When I get scattered, I have learned to slow down. Otherwise, life has a way of slowing me down, if I don’t. I got double pneumonia when I was about your age because I was trying to be superwoman with my work, and rather than asking for help, and allowing myself to find my own rhythm and pace, my body forced me to slow down. With that said, it’s not easy when you have kids, work and a husband, like you do. Sometimes, we would rather get ill than set healhty boundaries for ourselves.

    I think it’s wise to see a doctor if your intuition tells you that this is physically caused state of being.

    I would also suggest that you consider that your presence in the world is more important than your doing. Just being alive is enough, we don’t always have to be competent and achieving. You do your best and let it be.

    Hope you feel happy, healthy and centered soon!



  5. Marina, thank you 🙂 you know, I’ve got all the theory on self-care and believe it completely, but it wasn’t until my body refused to keep up with my demands that I realized how I drove it into a hole, now, I’m starting over from a very different perspective, one where I do as my body’s energy permits and my brain has fallen in line with it… I can’t even convince myself of considering multitasking, honestly my brain cannot plan out tandem activities anymore it has decided that we are doing ONE THING AT A TIME, what a novel idea, right?! jajajaaaa… I hope my recount of how this has been hasn’t been tedious, I’ve been trying to paint a picture in words of this time in my life hoping it’ll serve someone besides me (I want to have a record of this time so I can free up some brain space for other stuff) thank you for the hugs and kisses dear Marina, many more back to you… please forgive my absence from the wordpress neighborhood xoxoxo

  6. I can only say that setting yourself aside is bound to have …side-effects to you and the people around you, so: take care of yourself, my dear Alexandra, please! Hugs and xxxxxx 🙂

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