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7/23/06
the extreme stress I have been under

Dear Kim:

Are you moody?

(Kim: No, I don't think of myself as moody. I know that it makes a lot of problems with other people to be moody. They often think it was something they did that made you act the way you did.)

I am.

I am not, as a general rule, depressed like some people I know. Sarah struggles with chronic depression and is very open about it.

No, I am moody. Which is to say, my moods are like the St. Louis weather. Pretty extreme and liable to change quickly.

My friend Phyllis says I can laugh and cry all in the space of the briefest conversation.

I think some of that is precipitated by the extreme stress I have been under the past year or so. Although it is certainly can be said that there are plenty of people who are under stress who don't resemble a weather forecast.

I think the moodiness is in part about this woman's body that I inhabit. No, not just inhabit but that is me. Although I prefer to think I can exist as an independent mind, when you really come down to it, I am not sure how true that is.

How can I separate who I am from my responses to the chemicals that go coursing through my body?

(Kim: One of my heroes, William Glasser, believes that we choose to have chemicals of one kind or another surging through our bodies. He claimed he could talk people into not doing that.)

As I go through menopause, I have noticed that the moody young girl that I was is becoming more so.My moods are more extreme and more frequent. I totally endorse the idea of better living through chemicals and would love to be on some sort of hormone replacement.

My docs, all of them, tell me it is out of the question because of my cancer. I had something called estrogen receptor positive cancer. Which means that the dormant cancer cells in my body love estrogen. They think it is yummy and hospitable to them.

So no hormones for me.

Instead, I have been taking an antidepressant called Effexor. Not because I am depressed. Or even because I am mood swinging. I take the Effexor for hot flashes. Supposedly, they cut hot flashes a lot.

The other day when I was so busy cranking, I forgot to take my Effexor. I woke up at 3 in the morning, drenched in sweat and moodier than all get out.

Later,

Joan

Friday, Mar 10, 2006

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