I think the Incredible Hulk was, in reality, a perimenopausal woman.

Husband and I watched The Avengers again recently, and I started thinking about how similar I am to the Incredible Hulk.  Bruce Banner and I both go from a fairly mellow, introverted, seemingly normal person to a stunningly angry, homicidal, destructosaurus in a matter of seconds.  The differences are

  1. I don’t turn green,
  2. I (very unfortunately) do not possess superhuman strength, and
  3. I am a perimenopausal woman.

Consider, if you will, this fairly comprehensive list of 35 Symptoms of Perimenopause as presented by healthline.com:

  • Hot flashes, hot flushes, night sweats and/or cold flashes, clammy feeling
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings, sudden tears
  • Trouble sleeping through the night (with or without night sweats)
  • Irregular periods; shorter, lighter periods; heavier periods, flooding; phantom periods, shorter cycles, longer cycles
  • Loss of libido
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Crashing fatigue
  • Anxiety, feeling ill at ease
  • Feelings of dread, apprehension, doom
  • Difficulty concentrating, disorientation, mental confusion
  • Disturbing memory lapses
  • Incontinence, especially upon sneezing, laughing; urge incontinence
  • Itchy, crawly skin
  • Aching, sore joints, muscles and tendons
  • Increased tension in muscles
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headache change: increase or decrease
  • Gastrointestinal distress, indigestion, flatulence, gas pain, nausea
  • Sudden bouts of bloat
  • Depression
  • Exacerbation of existing conditions
  • Increase in allergies
  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss or thinning, head, pubic, or whole body; increase in facial hair
  • Dizziness, vertigo, light-headedness, episodes of loss of balance
  • Changes in body odor
  • Electric shock sensation under the skin and in the head
  • Tingling in the extremities
  • Gum problems, increased bleeding
  • Burning tongue, burning roof of mouth, bad taste in mouth, change in breath odor
  • Osteoporosis (after several years)
  • Changes in fingernails:  softer, crack or break easier
  • Tinnitus: ringing in ears, bells, ‘whooshing,’ buzzing, etc.

Delightful, huh.  And I’ve been experiencing about half of them.  No wonder I feel like I’m losing my fucking mind.

Let’s read on:

When most women enter perimenopause, they expect a few hot flashes and night sweats. They might even expect mood swings, vaginal dryness, and loss of libido. What they won’t expect, however, are overwhelming thoughts of doom and dread, panic attacks, high anxiety, heart palpitations, vertigo, dizziness, unrelenting insomnia, and feelings of losing control.

Yet a large number of women experience these symptoms and many others which you may not think are associated with perimenopause. In fact, so wild and unpredictable are some of the symptoms, a lot of women think they are going crazy.

Why, yes, healthline.com.  We do.

I am more irritable and bitchy than I’ve ever been in my life, and that’s saying something.  Last night, as I was trying to leave for a restorative yoga practice (to help with my stress level, right?), Happy Dog wouldn’t kennel when I told her to, so I chased her outside screaming, “I AM THE ALPHA!  I AM THE ALPHA!  WHY DO YOU DEFY ME SO?”  As I pulled the sliding screen door aside, it came partly out of its track, so, naturally, I yanked it the rest of the way out and threw it across the patio.  I mean, who wouldn’t?  HULK SMASH.

Husband asked me to help him install gutters recently, but I was apparently emotionally incapable of doing simple things like handing him tools, standing on a ladder or using a tape measure.  I’ll leave out the details, but it got so bad I had to get in my car and leave.  After I came back home, Husband confessed that he’d gotten frustrated with his elderly battery-powered drill and hurled it across the yard.  Neither of us realized perimenopause could be contagious.

I don’t sleep well anymore.  There have been times in the past couple years when I’ve slept so poorly for days on end that I feel like one of those soldiers in government sleep-deprivation experiments.  (Snoring Husband and Abnormally Loud Trains don’t help.)  And sometimes I wake up drenched in sweat, having soaked through my t-shirt.  EW.

My mother had a very difficult time with perimenopause, and used hormone replacement therapy for years.  I used to think, naively, that I was going to be one of those Christiane Northrup-worshiping hippies, embracing my womanhood and powering through perimenopause without pharmaceutical assistance.  Now I’m wondering if anyone’s invented an HRT-administering version of an insulin pump, how many of them I can attach to my body at one time and whether they’d be noticeable under my clothes.

How can anyone be expected to live like this?  Truly, I can’t remember a time in my life when I’ve felt so completely out of control.  Poor Husband.  Poor Happy Dog.  I hope they can find it in their hearts to forgive me for going all Incredible Hulk on their asses over the smallest things.

Incredible Hulk wallpaper by Sean Parsons at http://www.hulklibrary.com

Theft, Part I: Dear A*hole

So you’re enjoying a stroll through the Monteith Historic District, presumably between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. (when most normal people are out for a stroll), and you spot the cute little solar lamp I lovingly placed near the newly planted Japanese maple next to our front walk on Saturday afternoon after spending many hours landscaping that spot.  (The same exact cute little solar lamp, in fact, that graced a small planter next to the also newly planted willow tree less than twenty feet away for almost a year, without your notice.)

Front yard diagram

And you decide you must have it.  You can’t live without it.  You know in your heart that if you could only possess that cute little solar lamp, your wretched, pathetic life will suddenly, somehow, be ever so much better.  Less sad.  Less hopeless.  Maybe it’s a Magical Lamp.  Maybe if you take it home and rub its tiny solar cell, a genie will pop out and grant you three wishes.  Maybe you could wish for three more matching lamps to make a set of four.

I am so angry at you and your inability to admire without taking.  It seems like such an unimportant thing, but that little lamp, along with the planter it originally graced, was a gift from a friend, and it made us happy to look at it every night.  Will it bring you as much joy as it brought us?  Somehow, I doubt it.

stolen lampThink about how many people have walked by that lamp over the past year and haven’t stolen it.  I, for one, am perfectly capable of walking around our neighborhood and appreciating any number of solar lamps and assorted yard ornaments without making off with any of them.  O, the yearning!  The unimaginable self-control it takes to simply walk by without helping myself!  Yet somehow, I can do it.

Are you the same a*hole who stole the concrete gargoyle statue from our front porch steps in Rapid City, South Dakota, in 2000?  Are you the same a*hole who broke into our garage in Pennsylvania in 2008 and took Loving Husband’s tools and mountain bike?  I’ll bet you are.  I’ll bet you have a yardful somewhere nearby of stolen solar lamps, ornaments, decorative rocks, statuary, potted plants, patio furniture, wind chimes, sprinklers, hoses and bird feeders from other peoples’ yards.  I hope you’re smart enough to keep all those things hidden in your backyard so no one else steals them from you.

I wasted most of my day being mad at you and trying to figure out what possible pleasure you could have gotten from stealing this simple little thing from us.  Loving Husband wants to believe you’re a homeless person who needed it much more than we do.  I think Loving Husband is being naïve, but he’s much better at giving people the benefit of the doubt than I am.