Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Angst Through the Ages--Suz deMello edition

I've found that my level of angst and stress has fluctuated through my life stages. 

Apparently I was a happy baby:

As a child, I had moments of stress:

and happiness:

My angst level zipped up to the stratosphere when I entered middle school. The onset of menstruation and the appearance of social anxiety were way too much for a sheltered little girl, which I continued to be for decades. I became an insomniac. I used and abused drugs, mostly pot, in an effort to control undiagnosed depression. 

But I was pretty cute--that's my HS grad pic:

As I entered my twenties, my drug use increased as I added more drugs to my pharmacopeia, most notably booze, cocaine and meth, plus occasional use of hallucinogens. I was still suffering from depression and insomnia, but was less concerned about existential angst than I was when a college student--the genesis of the universe was of less interest to me than when I could get to the Holy City Zoo and catch some live comedy, laughing my cares away in a drug-induced fog.

Then came law school graduation and the establishment of my law practice. 

No angst, but serious stress and depression as I struggled to present a happy, successful face to the world when I was torn to shreds inside.

Then I married, allegedly the happiest day of my life. Not. I wasn't sure of my decision, and though I've been apart from my ex for ten years now, still can't decide whether that marriage was a good idea--though I am certain that I will never remarry. What for?

image by Cienfuegos 241

Menopause brought a measure of peace. After working through the hot flashes and other assorted symptoms, everything mellowed out. The depression that had plagued me had gone, victim to the massive chemical changes wrought by menopause. YAY!

I'm still a highly stressed person--that seems to be a part of me. But my angst is gone forever.

Has anyone else had a similar experience? That angst has mellowed with age?


  1. You're still pretty cute, Suz!

    But oh yeah, age does help reduce angst, no question. I was so messed up in my early twenties. The years help put things in perspective.

    1. That's true in many ways, although I think the insomnia part sometimes gets worse. And the awareness of mortality, although your idea of what constitutes "old" does retreat to whatever age is tat least wenty years in your future, so there's that.

  2. I've considered my marijuana use a blessing. It has (and still does) made my life more exciting, providing a view of things in a more well-rounded way. I never had to beat the streets for drugs. I never let myself get addicted badly to harder drugs. Just a little chippie or two. :>)

    As for angst lessening over the years? Absolutely. It's easier to adopt a Zen approach with so much experience behind us. The world will go on without us.

  3. Menopause was a very stressful time, made worse by having to care for both of my parents as they took their time with dying, as well as working multiple jobs to help with the bills generated by having 3 kids in college simultaneously. Now that it's over, I definitely feel more relaxed. I miss my parents, and I miss my kids who don't live at home anymore. I miss having them young and around all of the time, but I value the relationship we still have.

    I think Daddy X is right: with age comes perspective. And you realize that you need to enjoy what time you have left, and hope that it's a long time.

  4. Wow, it would be great to think that age will reduce my angst. I have my fingers crossed that all of you are right about that! I have been looking forward, for quite some time, to the Not Giving A Shit ability that some older people have. As a person who is plagued by worry about what others think of me, I really need some of that.


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