I got my flu/Covid booster shots a couple of days ago, which was an experience I couldn’t help comparing to earlier in the pandemic when I was gripped in a moral quandary over whether or not it was okay for me to get the vaccine because I was offered early access through my hospice work, and then when I finally decided that yes I could help BE the SOLUTION, I waited in line for hours on end and then WEPT WITH GRATITUDE FOR HUMAN ACHIEVEMENT when I got the first shot.

Fast forward to getting my second booster from the world’s weariest and over-it Walgreen’s pharmacy tech and feeling grumpy about having to do so. I probably shouldn’t admit this but I almost didn’t even go to the appointment, even after waiting weeks for an open time. I’ve been slogging through an extended period of Nah for a while now, which is less depressing than Everything Is Awful Why Bother, and not nearly as rage-inducing as Burn It All Down and Salt the Fucking Earth, but … you know. Nah. It’s got all the anhedonia of Meh, but with a no in it. It’s not great.

Nah had me feeling like not only did I not particularly want to get in the car and put on real pants and go stand in the line and fill out the paper form that is inevitably required even though you filled the same thing online, but also that it … really didn’t matter if I got sick or not.

I life-coached my way through it by telling myself that it was the right thing to do (not me cluttering up a hospital bed when healthcare resources are already so strained, can you even imagine all the apologizing I’d have to do with my final breaths), plus it was a good example to set for the kids, plus when you’re in the land of Nah you can’t trust your instincts, which are strong: Go out with friends? Nah. Just text a friend? Nah. Take CARE of your drain-circling self instead of making everything worse with caffeine and a comically bad diet and phone scrolling and Instacart-fueled isolation? Nahhhhhhhhhh.

Real talk, I have not been enjoying this lengthy stay in Nah and I very much hope to find the inner oomph to pick myself up and depart from it soon — although it is perhaps an improvement on drifting around in the Moors of Endless Internal Wailing.

I’ve read quite a bit about all the various mental and physical symptoms that come with menopause and my main takeaway is that nearly everything regarding this transitional period of life for women remains very very dark-magic mysterious to the medical community and that my generation probably isn’t going to reap any major research benefits/solutions.

At least menopause is somewhat acknowledged now, sort of. But who can make sense of how to find a doctor who gives a shit, how to decide whether hormone replacement therapy is going to help you or kill you, and how to determine whether symptoms such as, say, waves of crippling anxiety are related to menopausal transition or *gestures vaguely* modern life?

I have a LOT of anxiety these days. I guess I always have, but it feels more physical now. It often hits me early in the morning and drives me out of bed. A sort of clutch in the chest, a nonstop background thrum of oh dear, oh dear.

I read a book recently where the character described this feeling perfectly: “My heavy heart told me there was something to worry about before my mind caught up with exactly what that was.”

There’s certainly no shortage of things to worry about but I’m not sure if what I’m feeling is the result of my thoughts or my hormones or a big bummer combo plate. Maybe it’s the midterms maybe it’s parenting teenagers maybe it’s the still-happening pandemic maybe it’s Elon Musk maybe it’s my waistline maybe it’s rollercoastering estrogen levels maybe it’s—

Here’s a comprehensive list of what I’ve been doing to help myself feel better:

• Jack
• Shit

Okay. That’s not completely true. I see a counselor, I do yoga, I read self-help malarky of all kinds, I sometimes eat a cruciferous vegetable instead of a Toaster Strudel. I continue to stay away from the damaging substances I relied on for years.

But I still drink caffeine even though it sends me STRONG messages that our beautiful long-term relationship really has run its course, I consume way too much sugary/processed crap (often in the evening which for sure fucks up my already no-good sleep), and the scrolling. The SCROLLING. I really can’t seem to get a handle on my worst current habit of all, which is skimming “news” on the reg.

I have spent most of my life making choices that weren’t serving me or helping me be my best self, and I suppose if nothing else I am consistent, here at nearly 50. But I really hope that 1) I am lucky enough to live beyond this in-between-everything stage, and 2) I’ll be able to look back on my midlife years with empathy and love, the way I look back on my fretful early-parenthood years, knowing that things really did get better.

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