22 - Jan 2022
I realise the title of today’s blog may be enough to put people off but bear with me.
If you’ve read any of my blogs but missed the ones where I talk about my fibromyalgia then I’m hoping you’ll be surprised to learn that I am living with a chronic illness. I’m also experiencing a crappy menopause, although that is all beginning to change. Throw into the mix the pandemic, empty nest syndrome and other ‘stuff’.
Did you know, and I only learned this a couple of night’s ago when listening to a clinical psychologist speaking on a zoom meeting for black women experiencing menopause (Yep, that’s how I spent my Thursday evening) - mid life is a time when many women experience depression and anxiety, perhaps for the first time? Me? I’ve been living with depression and anxiety on and off for 27 years, so consider myself well placed to talk about mental health issues.
Mid-life. It’s a recipe for disaster when you think about it.
If you‘ve had kids they’re probably all grown up by now. They may have left home or worst still be staging an ‘occupation’ in your home and still being looked after like they were 12.
Your parents, if they are still alive, are elderly. It’s a constant reminder of where you’re headed. Even if they are in good health, it’s increasingly apparent they are from a different era. You are grappling with trying to remain living life like you are in your late thirties and they are grappling with how to change channels on their Smart TV remote.
Your body is changing. Your health overall, reminds you that you are … older.
Marriage tensions tend to be a bigger thing than they used to be. That’s if you are still together.
You’re finding out who your real friends are and learning to let go of some who just aren’t good for you anymore.
You are tired a lot of the time. Tired of asking yourself the same questions. Who am I? Why am I here? What do I want?
What else? Money and mortgage, savings and pensions. You’re beginning to realise that you might need to think about the financial side of your life.
Hey I’m just putting it out there. I’m all about authenticity. This is not about negativity. It’s about facing the truths.
Remember that old catch phrase - Positive Mental Attitude?
When at my lowest point I used to read that and want to scream. I have only got this far in life because I‘d like to think I’m essentially a hopeful person, a positive person. I have had to dig deep several times -we all have or will have to. And it is true. Adversity builds resilience. But when someone is at their lowest ebb - PMA just doesn’t cut it.
A one size fits all approach is not helpful
To bark at people that they should have a PMA is, at best hurtful, at worst harmful. Ok, bark is a provocative word. It reflects my feelings towards being ‘advised’ what to do, particularly by certain individuals at unhelpful times.
I get tetchy, I get annoyed, angry even, when confronted by PMA. I need to get one thing straight. Several things actually.
I’m a defensive person. I’m not going to apologise for that. I’m owning it. It’s connected with my past and something I’m aware of and am working on.
In my heart of hearts I know that the advice is often coming from a good place. The genuine desire to help.
Even the most well meaning suggestions may not help if the timing is not right.
PMA is not in itself a ’bad’ thing.
Toxic positivity never comes from a well intentioned place.
I‘ve only just come across the term, toxic positivity. I didn’t know such a thing existed. Have you heard of it? I don’t think it needs explaining. You’ll recognise it when you come across it. It’s the equivalent of someone quoting a positive meme at you, with an in genuine smile, when really they are thinking you should get a grip.
Mid-life doesn’t smell like a bed of roses but it doesn’t smell like shit all the time either
Despite my words about the woes of mid-life, I’d like to think I’m all about positivity. I’m a positive person. You’ll see me smiling in my photos. I’m all about capturing when I feel most radiant, most alive. Of course my life isn’t that a lot of the time. But, come on now, who wants to look at pictures of my miserable, unhappy face?
So what do I do to when I’m overwhelmed by the bad stuff? How am I getting through it all? How am I coping with my mid-life crisis? I’d like to think I’ve touched on it in some previous blogs. Here goes again.
Accept you can’t do it alone. Reach out to friends, family and other suitable qualified professionals, medical and holistic.
Take charge of your health needs. Do whatever is necessary. If you need to pay for treatment and can afford it, do.
Ask yourself, what do I need right now? Be prepared to listen. Your gut instinct is, more often than not, right.
Be kind to yourself. You will make mistakes. It is part of the human experience.
There is more than one way to practice self-care. Find what resonates with you.
You are unique. Remember that. What works for you may not work for anyone else. Yoga or jogging. Embroidery or dancing. Whatever floats your boat. Do what makes you feel good.
Every one of us is creative. Find your creativity and make time for it when you can.
Have a good weekend x