You know you may be descending towards the spiral staircase of Menopausal Madness when…
1. You appear to be able to multi-task less successfully than usual, can barely even mono-task with any real aplomb on some occasions, and find that things you once committed to memory must now be jotted down on post-it notes. Like appointments, birthdays, your own children's names, and the fact that the towels have been sitting in the dryer for five days.
2. Your Aunt Flo, once a regular visitor you could set your watch by, has now become the annoying relative who shows up uninvited at all sorts of irregular hours, comes and goes as she pleases, makes brief fly-by visits between extended stays, or ignores you altogether for weeks on end before making a grand entrance at the most inconvenient of times, expecting you to be prepared. And of course, you are not. She becomes, without a doubt, the worst relative you've ever had... except maybe that drunk uncle who had trouble standing. No, come to think of it, he was more fun at Christmas and weddings than Aunt Flo has ever been.
3. A good hair day no longer applies only to the hair on your head, but also the hair on your chin. And upper lip. And neck. And big toe. And boob. And that one which is smack-bang in the middle of your forehead, wtf? (Dear Forehead Hair, you better stay blonde. If you go black, I may have to nuke you.) And you realise you are increasingly neglecting your formerly well-maintained lady garden as you spend so much time deforesting these new areas. Really, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry should register you as a Domestic Plantation.
4. You spend hours tossing and turning every night, cursing the night sweats and resulting insomnia which has gripped you, then spend your days falling asleep on the phone, in the bathtub, at the computer, and whilst reading, cooking or having sex.
5. You constantly forget what you are doing and have to say to yourself in a clear voice, out loud, “Okay, what am I supposed to be doing again?” even if you are in a queue at the bank, a crowded supermarket, at a birthday party, or having sex.
6. You while away hours playing with the air-conditioning controls, trying to find just the right icy temperature to keep you cool, never noticing that the rest of the family have donned their jumpers and ugg boots. And if you do notice, you really don’t care.
7. You no longer measure the severity of the Summer season by how many hot days you had, but by how many hot flushes you had, and realise you either had ninety, or just one almighty mother that lasted three months.
8. You proudly boast that you have bought all the natural supplements and vitamins you’ll need to get you through the worst of the symptomatic madness, but by the time you get through the denial stage, acknowledge your changing body and remember to start taking them, they have all gone past their use-by date.
9. You spend a solid hour in front of the TV, yelling and abusing everything happening on screen, while your family look on in fear, thinking you are nuts. You then spend the next hour in front of the TV, crying and sobbing at everything happening on screen, while your family look on in resignation, now convinced you are nuts.
10. You go to the doctor to discuss the onset of what you believe to be peri-menopausal symptoms, and when he asks you to list those symptoms, you go completely blank for a full 10 seconds, before staring at the ceiling and repeating the symptoms listed on the box of menopausal relief pills you have already started taking, when all you can really concentrate on is the fact you forgot to get something out of the freezer for dinner for the third night in a row and doesn't the doctor look nice in that coloured shirt.
11. You organise a social function, then forget about it and double-book it. You move it, and forget about it and double-book it again. You move it again, forget it again, and double-book it yet again. You then cry and give your Son the ticket to the show you really wanted to see but will now miss because you have lost the will to live.
12. You blame the soap, the fabrics, the body lotions, the hand creams, the dandruff, the shaver, the heat, the mosquitoes and the allergies, before realising even the tingling, itchy skin is hormone-related. And you absent-mindedly scratch yourself raw whilst reading about it.
13. You read about how much anxiety increases during menopause, and since you've always been an anxious person, you become anxious that you'll become more anxious. You are so anxious, you sit bolt upright and wide awake at 3.14am, with no idea what has made you so anxious, apart from the fact you are anxious about becoming more anxious. I know, even I'm confused, and I'm the one it happens to at least twice a week.
14. You suddenly notice you have batwings, hang-gliders, tuckshop lady arms, nanna wobble, bingo wings, whatever you want to call them, and you start to spend more time in the cardigan section of the department store than you ever thought possible. And no matter how bad your hot flushes are, or how much you sweat, the cardigan stays on in public to hide the flab because your vanity levels are neck-and-neck with your discomfort levels. Of course, once you get home the cardigan is discarded and let's face it, even underwear is optional.
15. Bloating, fluid retention and excessive intestinal gas are increasingly blamed on bread products, poor circulation and the dog.
16. You know there is a good chance you will stab the next person you hear chewing. Or coughing. Or sniffing. Or breathing.
17. Everyday items in your home become potential weapons. You wonder how deep the puncture wounds of a hair comb or dinner fork would go. You wonder if dishwasher powder leaves forensic traces in the blood stream. You start calculating the velocity of a 460 gram dinner plate thrown from a distance of 3.7 metres and wonder if anyone will have time to duck.
18. You fervently hope that the next time you need to sneeze violently during a hot flush, you are already on a toilet, as you weren't sure if at that restaurant last week you were just drenched in sweat, or you may have pee'd yourself a little, and you had to squirm your way through dessert and coffee not knowing exactly what sort of body fluids you were sitting in.
19. You realise that any previous mention you’ve made of having sex is a complete fabrication, because you just can’t be bothered.
20. You think of a really good #20 idea for this list while making breakfast, but by the time you sit down to write, you’ve forgotten it.
Oh, yes, just thought of another one...
21. YOU ACTUALLY GET OUT THE SCALES AND WEIGH YOUR DINNER PLATE....