FIRE and rain

Yesterday, I hit bottom.

Exhausted after two straight weeks of severe stress-induced insomnia, I walked straight into a Monday one-two punch of insult and injury. The injury was only to my pride, but the insult – well, that was to my character, and it was the last in a whole bale of straws. Let it go, a friend said. Look at it as a sign, said another, hitting closer to the mark. These two events made the past two nights of sleep even worse, as if that were possible, and when I dragged myself out of bed at 5 yesterday morning, awake since 2, the floodgates opened.

My meltdown – slow tears dripping onto the mat, crescendoing into loud sobs – happened at about minute 3 in my 20-minute yoga tape. Gamely, I tried to turn off the spigot and continue, but it was no use. I gave up and gave in. It was a long day.

Those of you of a certain age might remember the TV show “Quantum Leap,” in which Scott Bakula played a hapless time traveler who would jump without warning from era to era, landing smack-dab in a new body in the middle of some strange new scene. This is precisely how I feel, in my malfunctioning menopausal body – which refuses to sleep properly, digest properly, move properly, or gain and lose weight in the slow, predictable way it always has – and my unfamiliar confidence and burgeoning sense of self.

I have leapt through a time warp and come to in a body and a life that is foreign and hostile. What is inside no longer fits what is outside, and my trapped inner animal is snarling, stalking up and down in its prison, lunging at the bars. The last time I felt like this, I got a divorce. That was terrifying, too.

In that other lifetime, just nine years ago, I found the courage to break through. Then, I knew what freedom looked like. But now? I know what I’m running from, but I have yet to figure out what I’m running to. I’m out of patience and out of time, at the end of my rope. I’m unwilling to continue my life of captivity, but not yet ready to break out and risk free-fall or – worse yet – recapture.

And so, between meetings and to-dos, I marshaled the forces, reaching out to friends and my professional support system, making plans and appointments, researching recommended courses of relief physical, mental and spiritual. I have placated the beast; the lion sleeps tonight. How I wish I could.


About Mindy

I am divorced, no kids, working full-time in corporate communications. There are never enough hours in my day, mostly because I insist on hygiene, food, exercise and clean dishes. Really, how do women with kids do it?!?
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2 Responses to FIRE and rain

  1. mmm61 says:

    Mindy, I have been wanting to reply to this post, but unsure what to say. Suddenly, like you, my body is not behaving. For three months, my calendar has been filled with doctor’s appointments. Some days my spirit is ready to soar, other days all I want is sleep. This time of life is strange. I feel like I am in a hurry to come “into my own” – starting projects with a friend that may turn into a real business. Perhaps menopause or peri-menopause makes us all too aware of time passing. Add to that children moving out and on with their lives. It’s exciting and a little unsettling – as if the ground beneath my feet is shifting slightly. For the most part, I have welcomed the changes (not the doctors). A spare bedroom became my office – finally. There’s more room to breathe in my small house. The schedule is less frantic. But the drive I feel inside doesn’t match my energy, or strength, or shape, or size. I feel young and old at the same time. I guess that’s being middle aged.

  2. Mindy says:

    M- What a perfect way to express this: “Young and old at the same time.” I don’t know if that “in a hurry” feeling is the cognitive recognition that we are middle aged, or the result of hormonal changes — or both. I see this restlessness reflected in the number of women my age who are moving closer to ending their marriages. It was that step that set me off on my journey back to myself. I think we reach this age carrying so much baggage that it takes us much longer to get anywhere.

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