On the day I wrote my first blog post in December 2009 I had been told by yet another medical "expert" that I was imagining things and that in his opinion I was a tad hysterical and so on. He gave me two options: a prescription for "something to calm you down" or a referral to a psychosomatic clinic. I took option three and walked out of the door and started this blog. Well to be honest, I did not quite walk out of that door because at the time, walking was difficult, the ground seemed to shift under my feet most of the time and my energy levels were unbelievably low. Unbelievably for me that is. I know now that "experts" like this one see an awful lot of women in their early 50s who after complaining of similar symptoms do the slow shuffle out of the door clutching a prescription for a psychopharmacology cocktail. And to him I was just another one of these poor misfortunate hormone-stricken creatures. Bless him.
I knew, KNEW, that I was not going through some menopausal depression drama. Or I think I knew. But there were times when I was more than tempted to give in, declare myself mad and depressed and get on with "life" from there. I remember one morning a few weeks earlier sitting in the car in the pouring rain, quite unable to face the short drive home because yet another wave of vertigo was hammering through my head. I was holding a prescription for "simply the best on the market" anti-depressant in my shaking hands. Looking back, this was clearly one of my historic moments because once it had stopped raining I got out of the car and handed that prescription back to the surgery receptionist. No, there had better be another explanation for all of this.
Of course there was our baffled GP who, while at a complete medical loss, had known me well and long enough to keep on digging (with hindsight, we had some of it staring into our faces). And there were my people who tried to stay patient and supportive and hold my hand etc. But three months of this had been quite stressful and also quite boring in its repetitiveness for all of us and I was running out of people to turn to in my modest hope of... oh I forget what I was hoping for. And so to blog.
I knew next to nothing about blogging. It seemed a good enough way to dump my fears and panic stations. Like Hansel and Gretel I started to drop my crumbs in the hope that one day they may lead me back home. Back to my normal life. Well, obviously things did not quite turn out that way. For starters, a few weeks after my first post I was finally given a diagnosis and with it a year (72 weeks to be precise) of hospital stays, drugs and tests I never thought existed.
When I got the first comment I freaked out a little bit. I had only told half a handful of people about this blog (all of whom had heard my stories ad nauseum anyway and pretended to be interested but basically stayed well away from it) and although I soon discovered other blogs and left a tentative comment once in a while, I never thought that anybody would read my shit, let alone comment on it. It still surprises me no end. That and that the majority of comments come from such wise and clever and human and gentle and caring and funny and understanding and sympathetic and kind people out there on the planet.
Still, I was more than unnerved when I realised that there are people reading my blog (silly me). Well, I have calmed down and what the heck. And while I will never disclose real names, real places or any such personal information, there it is: the real me tumbling through this maze.
Whereas facebook, that's another story alltogether. I joined it when our daughter decided to make ALL of the world her homeland incl. travelling to ALL of its corners. Last week a colleague went off in a little huff because I would not let him be my facebook friend. I am old-fashioned here. My facebook friends include a) people I have been able to hold hands with in real life, b) maybe even hugged in real life, c) people who have sat in my kitchen, that is any or even all of my kitchens in the past 50 years, and d) the wonderful kids, parents, lovers, ex-lovers, partners, etc. of a) to c). 95% of the stuff I post of facebook is for my daughter to smile at, the remaining 5% are videos of kittens - and they make her smile as well.