I had an interesting conversation with a victims advocate from one of our partnering agencies recently. She was venting about the toll that perimenopause is taking on her life. She spoke about the physical challenges; the weight gain, irregular periods, thinning hair, and hot flashes. She shared the mental and emotional side-effects; the brain fog, depression, inexplicable periods of pure anger and rage. We bonded over the damage that endless nights of interrupted sleep will do to a person's psyche.
It was both sad to hear and good to hear (in a "we're all in this together" sort of way).
After our conversation, I thought a lot about where I am now on this journey and it occurred to me, that, for the first time in a really long time; I recognize myself.
Recently, I have had moments when I can clearly see the me who used to feel good about herself. The me who was optimistic and who could find the bright side in difficult situations. The me who knew peace.
There are also ways in which I still don't recognize who I have become. Physically, I am a wreck of my previous self. I look in the mirror and I see an overweight, frumpy, middle-aged woman. The things that my body used to be able to do have become a challenge for me; things like balancing on one leg to pull my pants up on the other leg without falling over have become frustratingly difficult.
The old me is making a run at the current me. I have been dutifully exercising, eating a healthy diet, getting a decent amount of sleep (I'm actually sleeping deeply enough to dream again), maintaining my hormone balance, and taking vitamins and supplements like my life depends on it (maybe it does).
I understand that two years of neglect will not be quickly undone, so; I'm not expecting fast results. I am focusing on how moving more and eating better are improving my mental and emotional well-being, both of which are rebounding far more quickly than my muscles.
I am hopeful that I will eventually return to some semblance of my previous physical form, but, for now; I am thrilled as shit to finally be able to look in my head and say, "hey, don't I know you?".
Maybe not in the mirror, but, I'm working on that.