It’s official… I am menopausal…..
Probably have been for over a year.
But I didn’t know. I have been at the doctors so often over the last year I actually just dropped a Christmas card in for the receptionists (my surgerys receptionists are lovely unlike the stereotypical dragons you often hear about). The doctors are lovely too – showing great patience as I regularly popped in convinced I had one or a combination of:
- Altzheimers (as can’t remember anything)
- Early onset Dementia (as above)
- Underactive Thyroid (gained 20lbs in a year)
- Diabetes (craving sugar)
- Vitamin D deficiency (muscles weak – am so tired)
- Depression (just want to lie in bed all the time, lost my ‘zest for life’, cry a lot)
- Bi Polar Syndrome (am manically high then so low)
- Ovarian Cancer (my belly is so swollen I look 6 months pregnant)
- Borderline Personality Disorder (I don’t feel like me anymore – someone has taken over my body and my mind)
It was a locum that finally suggested I may be menopausal. I was highly offended. ‘Very much MENSTRUAL, thank you very much! Every 26 days without fail’ I told him. But the blood test we did ‘just in case’ finally showed a positive result. Though I can see nothing positive about it. Perimenopause they call it. The worst of both worlds. Still having periods but menopausal at the same time. A bit like a practice for the real thing the doctor said – less than helpfully.
Menopause. Yes of course I had heard of it – and I knew I would probably have to go through it at some point. Jean from Finance at work was going through it last year, she called it ‘the change’ and bored the arse of anyone who shows even a vague interest. She used to sweat profusely, regularly pull a fan from her drawer and whizz it dramatically in front of her four or five times a day. She then went off sick and we were told not to ask why. But she was old – with grey frizzy hair. And elasticated beige trousers. So although I knew at some point I would go through it – it seemed a very long way into the future.
When I did think about it – which was rare – I suppose I felt I would be a bit more ‘Helen Mirren’ about the whole thing. Elegant and Slim. Floating my way through it gently like a summer breeze. I certainly wouldn’t be like Jean.
Except I am now like Jean. Not the grey frizzy hair. My hairdresser and my straightners are very much still in use. But the sweats are there – I thought I was just coming down with things and that was my body fighting the infection. And I also have the need to find out more and talk about it. I want to talk about it – a lot.
I went off to Waterstones – one of the last bookshops in town – to find out more. I was raging and sweating when i got there. I had forgotten where it was despite having been there several times in the last few months. I reassure myself that at least I know now (thanks to google) that this is a symptom of the menopause and not Altzheimers (which incidentally I aced the test for at the doctors – defo not altzheimers!!). For the last year I thought I was going mad – I would get calls from friends asking where I was – I’d just totally forgotten to meet them. At work I’d be half way through a meeting and realise I’d forgotten what happened at the start of the meeting. I’d get half way through a book and forget what happened at the start. I regularly got lost travelling to familiar destinations. I was sweating just because that happens all the bloody time despite having done zilch exercise but walk 200 yards from car to the shop. I was raging because I had caught sight of my reflection looking a lot more like Jean then Helen Mirren.
Found the health and self help section no problem as I had regularly visited it over the last year desperately looking for new meaning in my life. But never to find books on the menopause. But yet here I am. And there is nothing. NOTHING! Thats right – NOTHING. I am now more raging. (I have been getting raging a lot over the last year). I can find out how angels can help my life. I can discover the power of crystals. I can even learn a bit about the Kama Sutra. Apparently I can make myself happy, feel the fear and do it anyway, cleanse my aura, learn the rules of love and get slim on a million different diets. But I cannot find out about the menopause. The sales assistant (male and about 20) is ‘working’ ie reading books on cars nearby. But I can’t bring myself to ask. I scan the shelves again – every woman in the country will go through this – surely there is a demand for books on the topic.
I give up and go to meet my pal for lunch. Am a bit late as I forget where we are meeting and need to scan through whatsapp then my texts then my emails and finally find the location on facebook (thankfully she is facebook obsessed and checks in everywhere she goes – it is a big help). She is the same age as me – in fact 2 months older! I am going to ask her and am looking forward to a long chat about our symptoms (I am realising I am more like Jean than I would like). We get wine and settle down and I ask if she is menopausal. She almost drops her wine. ‘We are in a restaurant’ she whispers looking around in horror. ‘But are you?’ I say… desperate to find out and talk about it. ‘No’ she says and then ‘Lets decide what we are having to eat’. I am dismissed. This is the woman who 30 years ago told me in great detail in Macdonalds about her genital warts diagnosis and treatment while referring to the guy who gave her it as that ‘fucking riddled cunty bastard’ in a voice loud enough to be heard a mile away. And now…. she can’t bring herself to talk about the menopause!! I am about to remind her of that story but I stop myself. I am finding myself in trouble a lot for not filtering whats in my head before it comes out my mouth. I think now is one of those moments where silence might be the best option.
But it isn’t just me .. is it? And thats why I am doing this blog. For everyone woman out there who thinks she is going mental and can’t find a book or blog or someone to talk to.