One of the weirder things that I've been doing lately is smiling.
And it's making the people in my life a little nervous.
"Why are you smiling?" SM asks eyeballing me from a safe distance.
"What's got you so happy?" My co-worker Teri asks as she walks in my office.
"What's the joke?" The MD I work with inquires, (His eyebrows up to his hairline with curiosity.)
(Either I've been a Grumpy Gus for the last 20 years or the folks who know me best can smell a rat at 20 feet.)
You see, one of the more joyful side effects of peri (or full blown) menopause is that the girl you thought you knew so well has suddenly become a tad bit more...Well...Let's just say "sensitive."
I've never been the girl who's suffered from emotional mood swings. PMS was never in my emotional vocabulary. (Although I will admit to needing the occasional M&M - Frito Corn Chip combination of sweet and salty just to get through the day. Go ahead. Try it. It's not as bad as you think.)
It's weird. Truly weird that I can be humming along happy as a clam, going about my business, when I get this sudden feeling of sadness. It's happened more than just a few times lately. It doesn't last long. But it hit's me and (like the good little clinician that I am) I wonder..."Where'd the heck that come from?"
It's usually triggered by some external source. TV, Radio, Internet. I'll read a story, or hear an interview on NPR or (heaven forbid) see a political ad on TV. There's so much fear and negativity out in the world today and I seem to be more sensitive to it than usual. I think these moments of "sadness" are more noticeable to me because as a general rule, I'm a pretty happy person. I live a pretty happy life.
So I've decided that ignorance is bliss. I don't really need to know whats happening in the Sudan. Or the back and forth bickering of the 2 kids who are running for school president. (Is it just me or does this seem like a really negative political campaign?) Or the latest bacteria that's sweeping the nation making people sick.
So when I feel that sadness sneaking in...I smile.
Does it feel forced?
Right at first? You bet it does. But after smiling for awhile a strange thing starts to happen.
The mood lightens.
Other people start to smile too.
Or I pounce on SM with my goofy, freaky little smile and he runs from me, making us both laugh.
And then the next thing you know, that sadness is gone and forgotten and the day is shining and bright and full of promise.
My own personal little Prozac pill.
A smile. Who knew?