Monday, November 07, 2022

Possible Empty Nest Syndrome or a Shriveled Up Left Ovary?

I'm struggling with a little bit of depression. Struggling is the right word because I'm fighting it and if you see me out and about you'd never guess it. Since my kids both left to college I've been keeping busy with activities all around town. 

Me at a fundraiser for Art in the Heart

I've been to book launches, fundraisers, events at Art in the Heart, Oklahoma to visit family, and a lot of dinners and gatherings with my girlfriends. So on the surface it looks like everything is great. The truth is that I've been paralyzed in a way that's very similar to how I felt after my dad died. It's really strange to feel this mix of being busy and out socially, but then not being able to get anything done in my house, like cleaning and laundry.

I've been wondering if secretly I'm suffering from empty nest syndrome. By secretly I mean, even I don't know I am or I'm in denial that I am. I pulled up an article with signs and symptoms and a couple of them stood out as possibilities. One of them was feeling a lack of control over the kids' lives and another was anxiety because I'm worried about them. The two are very closely related. I lack control and maybe that gives me anxiety. I can see both of them as possible reasons for how I'm feeling. I worry about Seth because it's his freshman year and I hope he's keeping up with everything. I worry about Miranda, her senior thesis and getting into medical school. Things I have no control over. 

It's strange to say this because I'm really excited to have the time to do all the things I want to do and I have been out doing a lot in the community. I'm also super happy for my kids and I want to see them fly. Why would I be sad that they're gone or because I don't have control over their daily activities? It's also possible that I'm secretly depressed because having both kids in college is a reminder that I'm growing older and that I have less time to achieve my goals. 

Another possible reason for my lack of motivation may be menopause. I've never shied away from talking about menopause. In fact, I think it's ridiculous that people can't talk about periods and menopause when they are all part of the cycle of life.

I've been in menopause since October of 2020, however I've had a couple of weird things happen so my doctor sent me in for a pelvic ultrasound. When I received the results in my portal I tried to decipher them. One thing that stood out was that the technician couldn't see my left ovary. I Googled why that could be and I found out that when our ovaries stop working they get so small that they can't be seen on an ultrasound. So in other words, I have a shriveled up left ovary. My ovaries are packing up and leaving. It's like they are saying, "Our work here is done!" 

This could be another reason for my listlessness. I seriously don't feel like doing anything at all. But I am. I'm forging ahead anyway, going out to events, writing essays, finishing the last chapter of my Kindle Vella novel, and planning what I'm going to read next. Even writing this is doing something and let's not forget that I do work 8-10 hours per day, depending on the day. I've been working so hard that sometimes I don't feel like cleaning, exercising or writing at the end of the day. 

I need to do something to address the possible empty nest syndrome and find strategies on how to cope. I also need to see the doctor so I can get the official diagnosis of my ultrasound to put my mind at ease. Unfortunately I can't control the fact that losing our ovaries affects us emotionally. I need to learn how to work though that too. Maybe I should schedule a weekly massage for the stress. All I can do is find 
ways to work through these feelings and to take everything one step at a time. #selfcare #selflove

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