Spirit Guides or Menopause?

I work in academia, and friends of mine like to play a little game called “Academic or Homeless.”  Here’s how it’s played: You drive around the neighborhood of a university, preferably a major research center, and determine whether the people you see walking down the street are academics or homeless.  At first it’s quite difficult, but after a while you start to get the hang of it.  Academics are usually not dressed as well.   

Anyhoo, I have my own version of the game.  I call it “Spirit Guides or Menopause.” 

“Spirit guides,” by the way, is a collective term for all of the unseen spiritual forces constantly interacting with us.  Some people have deceased ancestors or archangels or ascended masters nudging them from beyond the veil.  I have something more like a full glee club of deceased vaudeville acts.

My spirit guides must have some difficulty getting their message across because they have been known to resort to some pretty dramatic ways of getting my attention.  But, I’m also a menopausal woman, and that can get confusing.  I’m not always sure if specific experiences are an abundance of heavenly energy or a deficit of estrogen.  I can hear some of my spiritual friends now saying, “It’s all speerit.”  Perhaps it is.  But, I’m pretty sure my reaction to you saying that is pure menopause. 

Okay, so, . . . hot flash.  Spirit guides or menopause?  Well, are you in a sweat lodge?  That would be your spirit guides.  Or it could just be your biological reaction to hanging out in a life-size tandoori oven, but we’re going to give the guides this one.  But, let’s try a different scenario.  Are you breaking into a full sweat after stepping out on your front porch still wet from a shower early on a January morning when the National Weather Service has just predicted a record-breaking low?  And you’re naked?  That’s menopause. 

Mood swings . . . spirit guides or menopause?  Do not think for a moment that your Spirit Guides won’t give you mood swings.  Especially when they’ve been drinking.  If you’re torn between two important choices, and you feel like the direction of your life could be dramatically altered based on your decision, any mood unpredictability could be your spirit guides attempting to plant some road signs in your psyche.  However, if you’re experiencing what could be a contender for the greatest day in the history of great days, — sun is shining, temperature is not too hot and not too cold, birds are singing, you had a good night’s sleep— but you just cussed out an 80-year-old woman at the grocery store for having 13 items in the 12 items or fewer lane, and she was a nun, that’s menopause. 

Trouble sleeping . . . spirit guides or menopause?  If you are awakened at precisely 3:15 each morning, but you feel refreshed, and within about 20 minutes you are astral traveling to the Pleiades, yeah, that’s spirit guides.  But, if you’re awakened at 12:15, 1:15, 2:15, and 3:15 feeling like meat in a grinder and within about five minutes you’re traveling to the bathroom or to the kitchen for a snack or maybe even out to the end of the driveway to take out the trash you forgot to take out the night before because you could have sworn it was Wednesday, but now you remember that it’s Tuesday, and the garbage truck will be rumbling by about 7:00 a.m., . . . that, all of that, is menopause. 

Memory problems . . . spirit guides or menopause?  Your spirit guides will cause you to forget past hurts, futile regrets, and personal slights, both real and imagined.  Menopause will cause you to forget why you’re driving down the road, what colors go with blue, and your cat’s name.  

Decreased sex drive . . . that’s just menopause.

A few years ago, a friend asked me whether it could all just be menopause.  Being a middle-aged woman brings so many changes it feels like second puberty at times.  Perhaps the hormone fluctuations are solely responsible for both early morning pee breaks and out-of-body experiences.  Maybe the shutting down of the baby factory is the only cause for both forgetting where you set your keys and forgetting that 30-year-old heartbreak, the remembering of which, by the way, has never really done you any good.  So many women I know hit warp speed with spiritual development at this time of life, so maybe it’s all just menopause. 

Or, maybe it’s all just speerit.  You decide.  You can play the game any way you choose.  

© 2020 Deb Moore, All Rights Reserved

Like I Want To Jump Out of My Skin

According to WebMD, “Irritability and feelings of sadness are the most common emotional symptoms of menopause.”  And to be completely truthful, it so totally pisses me off that some asshole at WebMD thinks they have a flipping clue what might be going on with me that I may cry.

Writing this at all is evidence of the intensity of the aaarrrggghh-ness. It may be that I courageously face alone, in admirable fashion, any less than happy and pleasant (read: in control) feeling.  Or it could be that I am completely incapable of emotional honesty.  I haven’t figured out which.  All I know is that I don’t readily admit to depression, sadness, or pissy-ness.  And even if I do admit to them, I insist on using my Aries ram-like approach to barreling through.

But, all of that — the avoidance, the denial, the forging ahead — it’s just not working.

Sometimes I feel deeply, deeply sad.  There might be a reason — a reason that in prior days would have made me slightly sad, but nothing I couldn’t handle — or there might not be a reason at all — that particular pink of the sunset, or the way Buddy nuzzles my neck and reminds me of past nuzzles, or just driving down the damn road. Let me be clear about this one thing: this is not depression.  Are there elements of depression at play?  Perchance.  But, this is something different, a specific shade of sadness that introduced itself to me in the past year or so.

And let’s talk irritability.  If you don’t like colorful language, you might want to stop reading now.

EXAMPLE 1:  People in Tennessee are usually polite drivers.  They will stop to let someone turn into the flow of traffic.  I have to turn left out of my apartment complex, and often some guy, usually in a pickup truck, possibly because 1 in 3 people in Gallatin, TN, seem to drive said vehicle, will be directly across from me waiting to turn right.  He has the right of way.  More times than not, however, he (always a different he, but we’ll make him an EveryHe for now) will motion for me to go on ahead. It is possible that, once or twice, I have rather forcefully motioned him to go first and expressed something like this out loud (though thankfully I am my only audience): “Motherfucker!  Just drive, you fucking moron!  Jesus!  If you’d just follow the fucking rules of the road, everything would flow just fine.  You know what happens when you break the fucking rules?  Accidents fucking happen.  Fucker.”  (Please note that this is what happens when someone is being nice to me.)

EXAMPLE 2:  Another car example.  Lots of emotion gets expressed in the car, probably because I don’t have anyone else around to witness what an unbearable ass I’m being.  This example most often happens when in the left turn lane waiting for the green arrow.  The guy at the front (or any person in front of me) does not proceed with appropriate haste when the light turns, possibly creating a situation where not all cars will make it before it turns back to red.  Appropriate haste would mean zip-zip.  If you are not the first person in line, then appropriate haste means staying within 5-10 feet of the back bumper of the car ahead of you.  When appropriate haste is not displayed, my juicy monologue goes thusly:  “NOBODY in the world but you, buddy.  NOBODY in the world but YOU.  Fucker.” (The last word is like the “amen” to my prayer.)

EXAMPLE 3:  Could happen anywhere.  Ordering food through the drive-thru.  Engaging in seemingly benign conversation at work.  Walking past a stranger on the sidewalk.  Nothing happens.  I just open my mouth and absolutely anything I say sounds like the bitchiest thing any human has ever uttered.  I can hear it.  In my head I’m saying silently, “Stop talking.  Just stop talking.  Close your mouth now.  Say nothing.  Fucker.”

I’ve heard the entire playlist of the Pandora Deva Premal station 762 times at least.  I light incense and candles.  I snuggle my puppy.  Sure, I could do some more exercise (which makes me precisely like every other human I know), but I’m not a total slug.

I’ve rammed through until my head hurts.  So now I flip on the klieg lights and say, “Here it is.”

I have no answers.  This essay/rant/diary entry has no ending.  It just has an approach I’ve never tried before: admitting emotional imperfection (gasp).  So, sometimes I’m deeply sad.  Sometimes I’m a real snippy bitch.

I’m 52 years old, and I’m in menopause.  Fuckers.

Why Doctors Should Rethink Smoking


I went to the doctor recently to get my hormones checked.  I was positive I was beginning the long, slow descent into the black hole of menopause.  That HAD to be it.  I was moody and angry and depressed.  There were so many good things happening in my life, and yet I had this big ball of intense crying just behind my eyes waiting for the slightest provocation to burst forth.

I mentioned all of my symptoms to my doctor, plus I added that I had quit smoking (again!) about a month before.  He nodded, ordered blood work, referred me to a gynecologist, and scheduled me for a transvaginal ultrasound.

The labs came back within normal limits.

The gynecologist will be seen in two weeks simply because I’m due for a Pap smear.

The ultrasound was cancelled.  I thought it was overkill, and since I consider myself to be the primary player in my own healthcare, I get to trump the doctor.

I knew what the truth was.  I was jonesing.  I’ve tried to quit smoking at least 746 times . . . diligently.  I have rarely made it through an entire month stretch.  The symptoms that drove me to the doctor were simply brought on by moving through another threshold of withdrawal.  The key to my issues was completely overlooked by my well respected primary care physician.

A few years ago, a friend of mine was in the hospital.  I was visiting her when the doctor came in the room.  In the course of their conversation, he asked, “You don’t smoke, do ya’?”

“Sure do,” she replied.

“Oh,” he said.  “I thought you were smarter than that.”

It took me a few minutes to process this conversation.  By the time I determined a reply, he was down the hall.  I should have chased him.  I should have grabbed him by his white-coat lapels and said, “How dare you?  How can you call yourself a medical professional and belittle your patient in this way?  If she had just declared that she was an alcoholic or a heroin addict or a little too dependent on prescription painkillers, you would have addressed her issue with the gravitas expected from a medical professional.  You would have considered that information in her treatment plan.  You would never dare look an Oxycontin addict in the eye and say, ‘I thought you were smarter than that.'”

Nicotine addiction is a serious issue, and the approach that doctors and nurses usually take desperately needs to be reconsidered.   Belittling your patient is neither effective nor professional.  Ignoring that aspect of a patient’s overall health picture is perhaps missing the easiest path to a diagnosis.  Doctors need to have honest conversations with patients about smoking without that undercurrent of moral judgment.  Save the guilt trip for my mother.

Smoking isn’t a wise choice.  Most smokers I know wish they could go back in time and never start.  But, belittling someone is not likely to help her abandon an addiction that some say is one of the most difficult to conquer.

My next step is an e-cigarette.  I’m hearing good reports about the success of this transition and the vastly reduced health risks.  But, for now, nicotine is my Paxil.  You can start nagging me about it when you get off your anti-depressant and stop drinking coffee.