I realised this weekend that I was not ok.
Perhaps I am "supposed" to be. As the Founder of this Midlife Movement I do my best every day to be measured in my responses and careful what I post. And I am, as a rule, ok most of the time.
But I am only human and the current situation, I think you will agree, is testing for us all, to say the least!
As I always do in a crisis, I "look for the helpers" as Mr Rogers would have said. And I am finding them, and posting about them and aim to do my best to help calm the anxiety and fear that is surrounding us as much as I am able.
So how do I know that I am NOT OK?
It started with feelings of irritation at small, silly things. Not being able to get the lid off a jar, losing work because I forgot to press save - that sort of thing. Then yesterday I lost my temper - very rare as I have a very slow burn - at some misinformation doing the rounds on social media. (Not at the well meaning people sharing it, but at the irresponsibility of the...
Worry is such a pointless occupation, we all know that. And yet sometimes when hormone levels start to fluctuate some of us are beset by anxiety that seems to come from nowhere.
Anxiety caused me untold angst during my own perimenopause. It didn't matter how much my head reassured me that all was well, something nagged away inside my brain, telling me it was a lie. I walked around with a vague feeling of dread which sat in the pit of my stomach like a heavy stone.
I would wake up in the morning and was immediately assailed by a horrible sense of impending doom. To try to counter it, I would lie in bed and think about each of my four children. "He's doing x with y and is going to go to z," I would think, "so I know he's ok." "I'm seeing her at lunch, so I can check she's ok..." It was endless.
To be fair, our family were dealing with some serious difficulties at the time. Weirdly, I seemed to be able to cope with the big, obvious stuff. It was the little things...
I'm fine, thanks. That's what we say, isn't it, when asked how are you? I'm fine, thanks. But what if you're not? What if you are sinking, struggling, not fine at all?
I live a fairly public life insofar as I have written about myself on blogs and in books, I show up regularly on Facebook live videos, on Youtube and, now, on the new Midlife Movement Podcast. Most people know me as optimistic, generally happy, always smiling.
If you follow my output regularly, though, you will know that I have had my battles with anxiety and depression throughout my life at various points. I always know when I'm starting to "slide".
There are warning signs that I dare not ignore. These include: