It’s 4am and she woke me for the third time tonight. Yes, I’m exhausted, but I’ve given up fighting her. After too many sleepless nights, I’ve conceded and it’s finally okay.
When the visits first started, I fought and fought hard.
I’d thrash about under my sheets trying desperately trying to wrestle them off to let my feet breathe. My body suffocated under the blankets, begging for air. Cold air. In my head, I’d scream at her for what seemed like hours to please stop and curse at her to leave. I’d toss and turn and turn and toss until it was over. Only after I am drenched in sweat and exhausted from the fight, would she leave.
It took a while, before I realized she wasn’t going away. My fighting didn’t stop her visits: it actually exacerbated them. I was losing the battle. So I did something I don’t often do. I surrendered.
I’ve come to accept her visits. She’s always kind enough to give me a warning each time before she arrives, so when her warmth begins percolating in my chest, I know her visit is imminent and our time together is about to begin.
So now, instead of tensing up in a fit of anxiety and panic, I relax and begin my job of riding her out. I stopped screaming at her in my head and instead welcomed her in. I am ready.
I am prepared.
I calmly peel back the sheets, flip my pillow off the ice packet, turn the fan on and start the journey by focusing on my breath.
I am grateful to her too because her arrival makes me live fully in the moment. As she descends upon me and I begin to feel the heat emanating from me there’s nothing else I think about. When she’s with me, I am present. Mindful. I have to be. I think of nothing else except what is happening to me. And when she leaves, it’s then, and only then that I can go back to my worrying or my to-do list that plays over and over in my head. But for the time she is with me, all that fades away. There’s no thinking of anything else, and for that I am grateful.
From what I’ve read, hot flashes can last up to ten years. We may have a long future together and this is one relationship I can’t run from.
It took many sleepless nights to realize the most powerful, effective tool I have in my arsenal is acceptance.
So I’ve learned to live harmoniously with her, my hot flash and me.