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The Time I Spontaneously Combusted (A True Story)

How menopause made me spontaneously combust.

This past weekend I was in South Florida. For many, that probably sounds like a nice little break during fall. Head to the south, grab some rays while sitting on the beach and sipping umbrella drinks. For me, I was in the pit of hell. For real. I coasted right by the Seventh Circle and flipped the bird at the Ninth Circle until I arrive into a part of The Inferno that Dante dare not even cast a glance at let alone approach in writing: THE CIRCLE OF MENOPAUSE.

I’ve been in the peri-menopause thing for probably about a year now. It may be pre-menopause, but who the hell cares at this point. All I know is that it consists of having your internal organs randomly burst into flames causing smoke to come out of your ears like one of those 70s cartoons with “ACME” written on something. That alone sounds amazing, I know. However, add in the never-ending insomnia, the spotty memory, the ongoing feeling that you are seriously going batshit crazy and the general feeling of hating everything and everyone in your path and you can imagine the non-stop party that’s going on 24/7 up in here. So, call it what you want–peri-menopause, pre-menopause, menopause, batshit crazy–it really doesn’t matter because it all results in one general culminating demise of the natural ability to regulate your body temperature. And your mind. And your weight. And…well, whatever.

Look, it might not seem like a big deal if you haven’t experienced it. I mean, so what? You get a little warm, right? No, people. We’re not talking “a little warm.” A little warm is what you feel when you drink a creamy hot chocolate after building a cute snowman on a crisp winter day. A little warm is what you feel when you see someone hot on the big screen. We’re not talking a little warm. We’re talking someone has given those chefs from Chopped a pig roast challenge and it is happening RIGHT INSIDE OF YOUR CHEST at the same time you’re in a witches cauldron boiling up your body parts for some human stew. And, up there? Some has turned the flame under your brain up to 11 and it is scorching the shit out of your cerebellum.

And they’re laughing at you. You know because you can hear the cackling right in your head while you’re trying to remember if your kid’s Spanish class is really at 3:00 or 4:30 (nevermind that you’ve been doing it a few times a week for the past year). And, you can’t tell if you really are going crazy or if it’s just the fallout from the 379th straight day in a row that you haven’t slept for more than 45 minutes at a stretch without a fan blasting in your face. And, because of this, you’ve moved into the guest room where you can keep the temperature at a constant 49 degrees and strategically place two fans blowing on body parts that turn other people into ashes should they happen to touch you.

And all of that? Right there? Is why I spontaneously combusted in Florida over the weekend.

I had not been feeling well a few days before we left, so I already had one strike against me. But when we landed and the additional heat hit me in the walkway from the plane to the terminal, I knew I was in for a long weekend.

That weekend, I sweated from areas that I didn’t even know had sweat glands. I swear, at one point, my eyeballs were sweating. EYEBALLS, PEOPLE. And the best part was when I met The Husband’s coworkers and I had to try to delicately and inconspicuously dab the waterfall from my face without leaving remnants of napkin like I had just been shaving my face with a machete and left pieces of tissue as cauterizing material.

And then someone said, “What’s wrong? This is cool weather time in Florida” and I throat punched him. But it’s OK, because I won’t remember it in a few days.

Along with being a contributor to, Jacqueline Wilson is: Appalachia Advocate~Supporter of Women~Writer~Accidental Pit Bull Advocate.


  1. Christin

    October 1, 2014 at 7:11 am

    I am so sorry! Does it help if I tell you that I have been where you are, and it does get better? My menopause was sudden, via surgery at 37. Although, somewhat medically controlled, I too spontaneously combusted in an airport! My airport wasn’t even in South Florida, but in Europe in January, so menopause heat gets you anywhere! I am currently medication free and have not combusted recently…hang in there!

  2. Janis

    September 30, 2014 at 11:34 am

    I’m in SW Florida and the humidity is bad, I know, but I guess you learn to adjust. All I can say is Thank God for Air Conditioning!

  3. Rebeca

    September 30, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Oh bless your heart. I really feel for you, but also, this made me laugh. Your handling it with grace tho. I remember when my mom went through the Change (despite my attempts to block it out ) using that as my point of reference…you’re doing great. (And I expect you to tell me the same when it’s my turn!)

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