Possibly-

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-

Present.

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.

All comments welcome.

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