Thursday 28 February 2019. Day 48: It’s been a couple of weeks since I last wrote a journal entry. Two reasons; Firstly, I only want to write about things that bother, excite or concern me; Secondly, I can’t be bothered or get excited about anything at the moment. I guess out of my list of reasons to write, that concerns me.
I can only think that this is due to a symptom of the menopause that I was unprepared for – depression.
Since my early 20’s, I have often been prescribed anti-depressants for short periods of time. My diagnoses were always the same; I was overwhelmed due to becoming a not-by-choice-lone-parent aged 19, and all that that entails, along with feelings of guilt that I had failed little Red by not providing her with a daddy who would stick around, and low self esteem as no decent guy wanted to date me.
Thirty years on, life is different, yet somehow the same. I am now a lone mum to two daughters (daddy number 2 bailed as well) and lone grandma to a granddaughter. I still juggle work, life and children, although the girls are now grown women, each with their own life issues. The guilt I felt at both my girls’ dad’s leaving them, has resurfaced (it never fully left) with the arrival of my grand-baby (if you’ve read ‘Single mum transitions to single grandma’, you’ll know what I’m talking about).
That little black cloud that has been following me most of my adult life, seems therefore determined to hang around a little while longer. If you met me as a stranger, you would quite possibly not imagine me to be on the more depressed side of the scales; outwardly, I’m an extrovert who likes to engage with people and I see the funny side of most day-to-day situations. Inwardly, I crave my own company and if I allowed myself, I would wallow in my life sadnesses for days on end.
What I’ve always been able to do previously, is to pinpoint the root of my depression and try to sock it in the face. Now I’m in the menopause, I just feel flat and I can’t really explain why, because actually, life is okay. Perhaps it’s the aching joints that pain me as I get out of bed after another rubbish night’s sleep? Perhaps it’s the brain fog that stops me in my tracks when I’m at work? Perhaps it’s because I’ve become so used to battling through this journey mostly without a life partner, that the prospect of growing disgracefully old alone terrifies me?
Before it hit me, I really did think that the menopause was just about my periods ending and I could skip happily into ‘me-time’. I am absolutely overjoyed to not have periods anymore, although thankfully I’ve not had these for the last three years thanks to the Mirena coil (implanted as a deterrent to my fibroids – another middle age delight!). This of course tricked me, as I had no idea when my hormones were going to board the menopause train; I couldn’t understand back in November, why I was the only person who thought we were having an Indian summer!
With two grown up children and a grandchild, I can honestly say that I am not sad about the end of my baby-making days; those seemingly endless sleepless nights, the constant mood swings, the tantrums. That said, I’ve just described the menopause but without the baby!
So it would appear that this time, the reason for my current low mood is actually all down to the menopause. It’s shit, and I am far from being alone in suffering the debilitating symptoms this period (ironic!) of my life is inflicting on me. The wonderful upside of writing this blog is discovering the huge amount of amazing women I am connecting with who are going through the same hideous struggles, and that affinity is hugely comforting. It is vitally important that we all keep shouting about what we’re feeling and experiencing but more importantly, that we see our GP’s and tell them that we need help with this.
You are not alone but if you don’t look for answers, you will suffer alone. Let’s get this menopause revolution rocking! In the meantime, I’m going to slap a fresh HRT patch on my bum and take my magnesium tablets with a cup of full strength Pukka nighttime tea!
Until next time lovelies, I’m always at the end of a keyboard. Much love.