Sunday 19 May 2019. Day 128: What a difference six months can make. Life as I knew it back in November has changed somewhat.
Early November: although being constantly tired with worsening migraines, I am just about managing to work a stressful job, run a home, manage a child with severe anxiety, provide a day each week of granny daycare to my granddaughter and to be in a relationship with my partner who no longer lives with me (long story).
Late November: I’m at a work event in London complaining to my colleagues that the hotel bedroom was unbelievably hot last night and insomnia has befriended me. Strangely, the venue we are holding our event in is also warm (apparently only to me). The following week I’m in Berlin (again for work) where the temperature outside is perishing. Again, the hotel bedroom feels stifling, particularly at night. Once more I ask my colleagues if they notice it too, but oddly they all just look at me blanked faced.
Early December: I stay over at my partners place, having listened to my new Headspace sleep app at bedtime in an attempt to fall and then stay asleep. After a very hot and sweaty night (nothing carnal related believe me!), I wake in the morning with a looming sense of doom as I’ve somehow finally connected the dots; I’m in the menopause! The tears flow and my partner agrees that this probably is the case.
Mid December: I’m with my GP, crying and sweating and she smiles and says ‘yes, it’s more than likely you are now in the menopause given that you’re 49. There are options but I suggest you go away and have a look at a menopause website and come back to me if your symptoms get worse, then we’ll discuss HRT’.
Early January: my relationship is at a very low point. I spend the weekend between Christmas and the New Year totally on my own. I don’t want to see anyone, not even my partner. I am back with my GP and asking her to help me. I am prescribed a low dose of HRT patches (which the pharmacy don’t even have in stock). After a week of sticking patches on my bum, I’m not sweating profusely at night, I’m not sweating at work and I’ve not had a headache or migraine all week. I am still low, I have no libido, and I still don’t want to see anyone outside of family and work, including my partner. He’s confused. He feels rejected. He’s not having sex with me let alone any affection, so we are distant.
February: Valentine’s Day comes and goes without a card being sent from either of us. He cooks us a Morrison’s Valentine’s Day dine in for two dinner (Morrison’s? Seriously?!). I’m behaving appallingly because I’m all over the place and he’s gone even quieter so I just get more angry. He’s trying (so trying) but he’s completely bewildered by this imposter.
March: I’m back with my GP. My anxiety and low mood is beginning to cripple me. I’ve got the NICE guidelines with me and I’m asking for a higher strength HRT patch along with testosterone as this will help with my hibernating libido. ‘We’re not allowed to prescribe testosterone’, my GP states ‘but we’ll try a higher strength patch. I also suggest you go back on antidepressants because I’m not convinced that it’s the menopause that’s making you feel so depressed’. I accept the patches but refuse the antidepressants because according to the NICE guidelines, that shouldn’t be the go to remedy for a menopausal woman. GP very kindly sends me links to ‘self-help’ websites on ‘beating the blues’. I call my partner and I’m sobbing down the phone because I seriously think I’m losing the plot and cannot carry on feeling like this. He says ‘oh dear. We’ll talk later’. Little do I realise that this will be the last time we speak.
April: the higher strength patches are kicking in and my mood has lifted, although the anxiety is still there, twisting and turning in my stomach. I somehow manage to head to Chicago with work. Jet lag and menopausal insomnia are brutal! That said, the change of scenery and the fun of the Windy City has inspired me to sort my shit out when I get home.
Early May: anxiety is almost out of control. I’m 50 this month and I’m feeling 80. I’ve just found out via social media that my partner is dating someone I know. I have no words.
Today: migraines are fully back with a vengeance, so I’ve made an appointment to go back to the doctors although I’m going to see a different one within the practice. I have still heard nothing from my now ex partner; no conversation where we end our relationship. After 7 years together I feel it’s the least I deserve. Again, I have no words to express the pain I feel.
The last week has been BBC Breakfast’s menopause week and I’ve been overwhelmed on social media by the volume of women who are struggling like me. Maybe that’s why I can’t get a doctors appointment for three weeks?!
So that’s my menopause story so far. I don’t think it’s too dissimilar to others, given what I’m hearing in recent weeks. We need to talk about this. We need to be heard. We need help to make us feel like ourselves again. We owe it to our daughters and granddaughters to change society’s attitudes and the treatment of the menopause. We need the men (and women) in our lives, both personally and professionally to understand, empathise and support us. Together we can do this and undo the menopause taboo. Who’s with me?
Until next time, much love.
Menopause #bbcmenopause #menovist #midlifeblogger #menopause #mymenopausestory depression empoweringwomen hormones hrt knowledgeispower makemenopausematter over50 perimenopause relationships womenshealth
50 year old mum and grandma juggling children, grandchildren, love, work, and the menopause!