I am an outlier. The average age for onset of perimenopausal symptoms is 45 (citation). I'm a full decade ahead of schedule.
I could make a joke that this is the first time I've ever been early for anything in my life. I've been known to handle difficult things with sarcasm and mildly inappropriate humor, but right now I don't feel like joking.
For the most part I've accepted that my cycles are probably going to lack predictability for whatever remaining time that I have one. I've learned what my triggers for hot flashes are and strategies that are mostly effective for dealing with them. I understand that I'm probably not going to be able to wear heavy sweaters anytime in the near future and that I probably won't need to wear a winter coat again this coming winter. With as much as I hate it and miss it, I know that cuddling with my husband isn't going to be as frequent, because the added body heat always triggers a hot flash, and cuddling with a hot, sweaty mess isn't any fun for anybody.
I'm convinced that the progesterone in the IUD has helped with some of the symptoms. While I'm not one of the lucky majority who stops having a period after they get an IUD, my periods are much more manageable and I haven't had a scary one in the almost 18 months that I've had it. I think that it's also helped with itchiness and skin dryness. For these reasons, it's worth keeping, even though there's not a whole lot else that I like about it.
I've always had PMS related mood swings, and these have intensified with perimenopause. For the most part I can keep these in check. But sometimes not so much.
I'm struggling with the fact that many in my peer group are still popping out babies, seemingly with ease, and I'm over here just hoping that I start my period soon. It feels like some kind of cruel joke.
I'm also having a hard time with what this all means for bedroom activities. The truth is that I don't really feel like having sex most of the time, and even when I do, my body is uncooperative. It makes me feel incredibly broken and unlovable. (I feel like I should mention here that hubs has been a saint and even though he's just as frustrated as I am, he's also been incredibly understanding.)
Based on the reading I've been doing, it seems that none of this is atypical for perimenopause.
I can't help but feel like I am too young for this though. And I can't help but feeling like no one (meaning medical professionals) takes me seriously when I talk about this stuff.
Right now I'm in the midst of a particularly brutal (and long) cycle. My mood swings are out of control. I don't want to be around me right now, and others shouldn't have to endure me either. Really, until I start my period, the most suitable place for me is probably an isolated cabin in the woods where I am not required to interact with my fellow humans. I literally feel like I'm teetering on the edge of going crazy. I don't even know how I'm managing to function in daily life. I don't like feeling like this. Everything is magnified and I don't really like myself right now.
And this isn't even mentioning all of the other stuff that I feel is likely related to endometriosis. Of course, this is a self-diagnosis, because even after 20+ years of trying to get doctors to listen to me, including a full infertility workup, I've been fobbed of and it's never been investigated beyond a pelvic ultrasound, which we all know is not the proper diagnostic tool for this condition. Eventually I gave up trying to talk to doctors about it.
I'm going to the gynecologist on Thursday for my (overdue) annual checkup. This doctor and practice are new to me. It's a gynecology only practice, so hopefully some of the triggers from the old practice (e.g., waiting rooms full of pregnant people) won't be present. I'm anxious. I'm wishing that the appointment fell during a more normal cycle where I felt more like myself (a logical, rational human being, for the most part) and not like the Wicked Witch of the West (who may commit homicide or start crying for no apparent reason). I hope that I like the doctor. I hope that she's compassionate and empathetic (or at least pretends well). And most of all I hope she listens and takes me seriously. While I'll consider the appointment a success if I manage to not loose my shit while I'm there, I'm really hoping to hold it together for long enough to talk about getting a laparoscopy to formally diagnose and remove endometriosis and weigh the pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy.
I needed to get this off of my chest. I'm having a hard time dealing with it right now.