I was planning to take a break from blogging, until these anxiety issues resolve themselves. I thought you must be tired of listening to me go on about it in every post. But, on Monday, I ran into another mom at the dance studio and we started talking about how we were both going through anxiety issues, both having a sudden onset. We had so much in common as we go through this, I thought surely there must be other people out there who are going through, if not anxiety, other medical or psychiatric issues related to peri-menopause or menopause. If even one person can know she is not alone in her struggles, it's worth writing about. I apologize if this subject bores most of you. Maybe some day you will remember this time in my life and know you are not alone.
It's really such a strange time of life. It's only recently that I have realized it has always been called "the change." I never gave much mind to what was going to change, but it is a change, and it's not just fertility that is changing. This mishmash of hormones causes the craziest symptoms. I can't even stand the smell of coffee any more -- it's like being pregnant, but with no sweet baby at the end.
Anyway, I thought I'd mention a few things that have helped me as I go through this -- just the anxiety aspect.
First, prayer. How would I get through this if I didn't know my suffering was worth something? I wouldn't. How would I get through it if I didn't know that God was at my side, and my Blessed Mother was praying for me? I breathe "In Mary, out Jesus." Deep, slow breathing for 15 minutes. It does help.
My doctor also put me on a low dose of progesterone. I know a lot of people go on medications for anxiety and depression, but I wanted to fix what was wrong, if it is hormones, not mask it in my brain. I can't say I won't ever go on anxiety medication, but I want to try to remedy what's causing it. Next week I see my gyn to talk about the different kinds of progesterone. My family doctor is not a hormone specialist, so she just gave me a low dose pill, and I'm currently taking half of it. I want to talk to the gyn about using bioidentical cream -- apparently the pill works better for some women and the cream for other women.
I have increased my fluid intake -- mostly just cool water, but I have noticed that the more I drink the better I feel. I also gave up all caffeine. I've tried some teas -- chamomile seems to work to relax me, but it also stuffs me up -- I think chamomile is related to ragweed, which I'm allergic to. Because of my coumadin, I have to be cautious about the other herbs I use.
I knit -- nice even, orderly stitches. And I try to distract my brain with something soothing. I'm watching Downton again. It's the only thing that holds my attention and doesn't rev me up.
Anxiety is not something most people think about, not unless you're dealing with it. And it's hard for others to understand what it feels like. Last week I really debated about calling my doctor's office to say, "Who do I call when I just can't do it anymore? What number do I dial to get the men in the white jackets?" Mental health is just not something people talk about like they do other health issues.
Right now I feel close to normal again, but every once in a while throughout the day, I get back right on the edge of feeling like I could lose it. I don't want to scare my kids, but I have a really short fuse right now and they have definitely noticed.
Tomorrow I am scheduled to go in and have that spinal injection -- if my blood is thick enough. I am praying now, and not shy to ask for your prayers, that I get through the procedure without dropping my basket.
And if you have anything to offer, in terms of dealing with peri-menopause or menopause, or how your mother dealt with the symptoms, please, please write a comment. I guarantee there is someone who would benefit. Anyone had any good results using stones? I used to think "stone magic," if you will, was a bunch of hogwash, but I recently came to the conclusion that God created stones, and why not for our benefit? I know there are stones that are supposed to provide calming energy and I wondered if anyone reading had used them.
Jill. She is still missed desperately. If you've been a reader that long, you prayed with us as our Jill struggled with an awful rare cancer.
On Monday, we followed one of Faith's dance teacher's, also a Jill, into the dance studio parking lot and I noticed she drove the same kind of Jeep as our Jill did. I mentioned it to Faith and she said, "I really miss my Godmother." A girl really needs her Godmother, and we often talk to Jill in heaven.
This weekend is a walk in Cincinnati for a scholarship at Jill's high school. I am hoping the spinal injection will not create complications, and I can go.
On the food front has been apples. Faith and I picked one day several weeks ago, and we went back yesterday and bought Honeycrisps from the orchard's market. They are so dear in price, but a favorite around here. They didn't have many pecks left, but I'll be back in a few weekends to pick Jonagolds -- my favorite.
This wonderful, wonderful dish was created with golden supreme apples, a slightly tart, yellow, crisp apple. They are not my favorite to eat, but they make a great dessert. This is an apple fritter cake, and it really, truly tasted like a fresh apple fritter. Yum, yum, yum. Everyone enjoyed it. I modified the recipe a little to cut back on sugar, but here is where I found it. Below is the recipe as I made it, with a little less sugar. I would make it again in a heartbeat, but then I would be so tempted to eat most of it, I won't. Once a year is good and I'll be looking forward to it next year. It was best the first day, but stayed fresh several days.
Apple Fritter Cake
1 heaping cup of sliced apples
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
small pinch freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons water (I needed more to keep apples from stocking, but it probably depends on the variety used)
1/2 cup brown sugar (I used a 1/4 cup each of dark and light)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup greek yogurt (you could use plain yogurt as well or sour cream)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 tablespoons milk
Make your filling by combining apples, sugar, water, cinnamon and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Cook on low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly until the sauce is thickened and the apples are a bit soft (I didn't really have sauce -- it was pretty much sticky apples). Set aside to cool. In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together until well combined and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9×13 baking dish. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add applesauce and vanilla and mix till combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sift the dry ingredients together. Add the dry ingredients to the batter in three parts alternating with the yogurt in two parts, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat until just combined.
Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan. Spoon the cooled apple mixture over the batter carefully and spread as evenly as possible. Sprinkle 2/3 of brown sugar cinnamon mixture over apples and cover with the rest of the batter. Sprinkle the rest of the brown sugar cinnamon mixture over the top.
Bake for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
While the cake is baking, make the glaze. In a bowl, mix the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk until the glaze is desired consistency. When the cake comes out of the oven, immediately but carefully pour onto hot cake. Try to pour as evenly as possible. You might have to pick up the cake and tilt it to spread the glaze evenly. Let the cake sit for awhile for the glaze to set.