In recent months there has been more conversation, discussion and public commentary on the menopause. It is something that half the population experience at some point in their lives and is just a part of life for women. I have to admit that beyond hot flushes, sleepless nights and mood swings I didn’t know much more. But as I am on about day four of a series menopausal phase I thought I would try and share what it actually means.
Someone close once said to be ‘why do I need to know about your menopause?’ and really if you are a woman it may help to realise you are not alone, or to open your eyes to what to prepare for, and if you are a man please look at how you can help.
The worst thing I have experienced is catastrophising and a feeling that everything is going wrong. It can be the best moment and I would still have a feeling of inner dread that something bad is around the corner. There is no way to rationalise it and I just have to recognise it and try to push it to the back of my mind. At its worse this led me at the weekend to dash my elderly rabbit to the vets. The bottom line is he is old and there was nothing else to add. Alongside this is wider feelings of anxiety. I am going to London later this week and have found myself writing a list about what I need to take. Before the menopause I would travel abroad on my own without ever worrying but now I find anxiety creeping up on me.
My moods are extremely variable. In one day last week I went from anger, frustration through to sadness and despair. Anyone who had spoken to me would not have known because I wore a mask of normality on my calls and in conversations. Of course, all this is enhanced with aches and pains. Not just those you get when you are over 50 but I wake up and feel exhaustion and aches across my whole body.
I have been to the doctors but HRT is not an option due to my family history and the risks associated with it. I do have some tablets to help ease migraines which is another little gift that the menopause has given to me. They are working well provided I take them as soon as I realise a migraine is on the way.
Why am I telling you all this? It isn’t for sympathy. What I want to see is more action to help women, and that is more than HRT. There needs to be access to counselling and support groups, to information about how to manage some of the issues, and to immediate help when people feel at crisis point. While there has been more talk about menopause it is just words and what the women of the world need now is more than words.