I Can’t Stop Worrying

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Dear Robin:

I don’t know what is wrong with me lately.  I am not usually a person who worries much, but lately my mind has been running nonstop worrying about money, my kids, my husband and my job.  The things that is weird is everything is generally going OK in all those areas.

At night I lay in bed and my mind spins around and around like a ferris wheel that I can’t get off.  I feel powerless, like I have no idea what the future holds and how to control what happens to me and my family.

Have you ever had this problem and if so, how did you handle it?  It’s been about eight months now and I feel like I’m starting to lose my mind.

Worry Wart

Dear Worry Wart:

First, I think it’s important to note that everyone feels this way from time to time, especially when it comes to worrying about the future.

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Thank you for emailing with me yesterday.  You gave me some additional nuggets of information that helped me form my advice opinion.  Perseveration can be caused by organic problems in the brain, so I STRONGLY suggest, nay, I INSIST you call your doctor today and schedule an appointment.

I am especially worried because you said this arose quite out of the blue and unrelated to any particular stressors in your life.  I’m going to make this blog very short today because I want you to focus on seeking a medical opinion from your physician as soon as possible.

OK, here’s the part where I am glad I am sitting in my office and you are wherever you are, because I don’t need you throwing a brick at me when you read the following:

Have you considered you might be peri-menopausal?

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Perimenopausal women often report a variety of cognitive and emotional symptoms, including fatigue, memory problems, irritability, and mood swings.  It can be hard to precisely determine which of these symptoms are caused by the hormonal changes of menopause.

Emotional and cognitive symptoms are so common that it’s often difficult to be sure if they are due to menopause.  You admitted to me you have also started having night sweats (you are 46 years old).  Ah, don’t you love the night sweats?  There’s nothing like waking up in the middle of the night soaking wet, for all the wrong reasons.

I’ve changed my sheets more often than an OCD germaphobe over the past year, due to the regularity with which I wake up drenched in sweat, cursing my lady bits and the march of time across them.

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The night sweats can cause tiredness and fatigue, which impacts mood and cognitive performance.  You told me you have been having weird memory and other brain malfunctions lately, and sister, I can surely relate.  I put my coffee cup in the freezer instead of the microwave this morning and recently propositioned the dog.

You actually have a really fantastic life and much to be happy about right now, with a recent promotion and finding out that your son got into Yale.  I too have been experiencing a period of personal growth and happiness that I never could have anticipated just a few months ago, which makes the fact that I can’t remember why I leave one room to enter another all the more frustrating.

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Then again, aging sure beats the alternative, doesn’t it?  I am a big fan of the movie “Citizen Kane,” and one of my favorite quotes from that film is prescient here:

“Old age.  It’s the only disease, Mr. Thompson, that you don’t look forward to being cured of.”

I’ve got to run now, so I’ll sum up: yes, I have experienced what you are experiencing, and to be perfectly honest, your email prompted me to make an appointment with my doctor next week.  I urge you to do the same to rule out anything serious.

If you are indeed starting the downward slide into menopause, your doctor can give you some advice on how to battle the symptoms.  Me?  I’m starting over – everything that makes me unhappy (except Archie, the psychotic Chihuahua) is being swept off the table and I am living my life on my terms.  Plus I sleep with a towel now, which is lovely.

I suggest in order to fight off some of the anxiety and worry you are feeling, you channel that energy into something fabulous.  Maybe you have some exciting changes you have been thinking about?  New challenges or adventures?  If so, go for it!

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Please see your doctor immediately and write back to let me know you are OK.  Or, as OK as a woman can be at your advanced age.  Bwa ha ha ha ha!

-Robin

 

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Mrs. Ditter

    YES. Excellent insight. Perimenopausal symptoms can really screw with your life. Kind of like a little preview before full-fledged menopausal symptoms.

  2. A Loyal Fan

    Wow – totally over my head. Was this a “chick” thing??????

  3. echinachea

    Excellent advice all around. I completely sympathize and empathize, but hate to admit that retirement cured all those whacko symptoms. Nothing really can eliminate the inevitability of aging, but it’s wonderful to live life fully, more or less free of anxiety. Still do wish it would stop raining, however. That said, aging in a downpour beats being dead in the sunshine.

  4. Queen Bee

    What a good answer! I too experience some of those symptoms, but oh well life goes on…

  5. Chicken

    Doctor is good, specialist is better- loved your advice, but the “downward slide into menopause” was a little hard to swallow (the truth hurts, ya feel me?) Oh yeah, and for once in a while times when you can’t sleep and are so anxious it’s just rather painful? There is a lovely little drug out there called “ativan”….

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