My GP took me off the hormones as a back-covering exercise. Hormones increase risk of cancer and thrombosis. Giving hormones is a positive act for which one might be liable. Not prescribing hormones is not. I have been as if premenstrual for about six months, and it gets wearing. A month after cold turkey I did not know what was going on with me, but I attributed it to the hormones and went back on a lower dose. On 19 February I decided to up my dose to the one I had taken in the summer, and having given myself a month for levels to stabilise I am still weepy and emotional. I am on triple the normal dose for HRT, so it is not clear that further changes in dose will reduce my lability.

I do not know if this is a good experience, I lack the requisite comparator, but I am determined to find value in it, and I may have done. Friday 16th I was weeping over that. I phoned K, a mainstay of my support network, next morning, she asked if I were ruminating, which is hard to deny, and when I said I did not want to go back on the anti-ds said that people were often “resistant to medication”. Oh, right.

Then Sunday was Mothering Sunday. M was in Meeting. What will he minister about today, I wondered, as I saw him come in. He ministered on it being Mothering Sunday, and how Margaret Fell was a prime organiser of Quakers and of how we had been committed to women’s equality from the beginning. I am sorry, I make it sound far more prosing than it was, partly because I was irritated by it. There are significant differences in the Queries for the separate men’s and women’s meetings in the Book of Discipline 1861: we valued equality, but did not achieve it. Also it seemed, in my emotional state, to be too much for categorising, explaining and understanding reality.

I know enough not to minister out of irritation. I did want to minister. I spoke, on the Hockney exhibition, on how evanescent light and shade can change a scene utterly, on how we must perceive in the moment. Which I now feel is more complementary to M’s view than contradictory. Categorising is the foundation of understanding, from which perceiving can leap higher.

After, I sat, spine erect, still, calm and peaceful, feeling-


But it was yesterday (21st, as I write), feeling nearly in tears in the office- again- being moved before I knew why. And I thought, it really is alright. I wept on Friday evening, and the feeling passed- that it does not is the main problem with rumination, which is to useful thought as an ear-worm is to musical appreciation. And now I may feel like that, and it is alright, I have had such fear of feelings, and now I may just feel them, without fear. And they pass. Learning that is worth a great deal of discomfort. I have feared discomfort, too, very much, and discomfort is not to be feared.


It was difficult illustrating this post without breaking copyright. Googling for “woman crying painting” gives me lots of 20th century paintings, in copyright, of the abandoned weeping I sought. Rachel, my first illustration, looks up to Heaven over her dead child, and whether it is dissociation or self-control holding her back hers is not the letting it all hang out abandonment I can get to for lesser woes. I did not really want a nude, and I find Jules Lefebvre faintly ridiculous- consider La Verité– but she has that congruence and authenticity- or loss of control- which we prize, which was so much less valued in 19th Century Europe.

No- that is not it-

I need the congruence, authenticity, perception of what I feel: that changes my control from a cage, a restriction, into something empowering.

Just as I finish, I get the new post from Allison Grayhurst. And Daniel Kingsley’s experience may be related.

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