Monday, July 13, 2009

Still not understood

I'm going to put it out there. Ready? I'm 50 years old. And I'm a female. There, I said it. Really, I don't feel "old" even though all the "jokes", which by the way are not funny, about how we physically change and all the maladies surprising us all with their sudden appearance complete with all the painful creaks, pops and pain, have reared their ugly heads.

There's alot of real information out there, along with all the jokes, but you know what? A majority of doctors still don't take us seriously. And our husbands still have absolutely no clue what we are really going through. Both subsets of the male species, pass over us. When we do try to express the physical or mental conditions we are going through during this period of life, both glaze over and it passes right over their heads. They say "uh-huh" alot and do everything short of patting us on top of the head to either change the subject or the channel. After twenty-two years of marriage, I HAVE come to understand that men, generally, need to "fix" a problem and if they can't, they don't really want to hear about it. Doctors do have an advantage that husbands don't. It's called a prescription pad. And you know what it is they do to "help"? They conclude that we are simply suffering from one or another form of depression and given one or more meds for anti-depressives, or anxiety, or, or, or. And many times it goes from "or" to "and"! DOes the underwhelming result prove it works? I seriously doubt it. I know a number of ladies my age and a majority of them are on some sort of these kinds of medications and they still suffer from all the same thoughts and moods that I do.

There's one thing that we pre/mid-menopausal ladies do to ourselves, besides buy into the illusion that doctors are really trying to help. We turn on each other. Not turn TO each other, but turn ON each other. Right at a time of life when we need to circle the wagons around one another and be understanding, we emotionally stamp our own foot and take stands against a friend "taking advantage" of us. Admittedly this is a solution that is probably needed somewhere in our lives, but misdirected toward the wrong target. Having meaningful friendships with other women is VERY important for us. But, it's more common that we are isolating ourselves from those friendships because we won't take the time to be understanding and reach outside of ourselves. We are so invested in our families and their needs that it's too easy to excuse our lack of outside relationships. When understanding and compassion is needed for yet one more person in our lives, it's common for women to feel we are being taken advantage of or that person isn't adding anything to our own lives, only sucking it more dry. So we distance and isolate ourselves from those other ladies. It's just easier. After all, we must take care of ourselves and think about ourselves for once. Or so we're told.

I challenge all women to take care of themselves by making sure to add a few meaningful relationships with other women into our daily lives. Not just a couple times a year, but on a regular basis. It's not easy. It's hard. It's work. We have to think outside of ourselves. But it's so worth it! The benefits to our physical being and our mental being is tremendous. We may actually live longer and healthier. Now, isn't that cheaper than taking a bunch of medications we really don't need?


  1. Scotty,
    What a great blog! Although I am not yet 50, I still relate to all that you have said and I believe all women need to step it up and find that meaningful "sisterly" relationship. Doctors have too many of us on meds that are not needed. The points you touched on were fantastic! Great writing!

  2. I agree, men don't get it and doctors do not take us seriously. At 50, I have not distanced myself from other women. (Maybe, because I have distanced myself from others for years.) In fact, it has been at this age that I decided that perhaps I should find a new set of friends - friends with more of the interests I have. I found a Christian book club and am making new female friends through that and Cafemom and Facebook have led me to other women in cyberspace. We as women need to support one another!