Like any phase in our lives, it’s impossible to truly empathise, until you have personally experienced it. You can nod sympathetically at the new mother who is up five times to feed at night, or lend an ear to friends with overwhelming PMT, but until you have actually known the feeling of permanent jet lag created by a new baby, or felt like you could actually kill someone and feel justified, as it’s the time of the month – you have absolutely no idea how debilitating these things can be.
In ones 40’s, the menopause looms in a mysterious and almost fascinating way; surely it can’t be that bad, after all we’ve dealt with periods, PMT and child birth and managed!
The menopause often coincides with other major changes in our lives – children leaving home, ageing parents and mid life career choices – and the onslaught of dark moods, headaches, memory lapses, insomnia and hideous hot flushes can feel overwhelming and very unfair.
Some women sail through the menopause (although I don’t know many) and move onto the next phase of their lives with very little disruption and other suffer – many in silence – with a myriad of symptoms that doctors generically put down to “hormones”.
There is no test to pinpoint when the peri- menopause kicks in and little or no relevant information, as every women experiences it in a different way. This makes the onset of the many different symptoms difficult to deal with, as one isn’t sure if they are associated with the menopause or not.
Mentioning how you feel to others, is a bit like telling a male PE teacher you have your period, or announcing yourself as a hot, sweaty, mad woman. People (especially men) reel in horror and look visibly uncomfortable, as for some reason it isn’t something we feel comfortable talking about in public.
Women’s Hour had an interesting (if rather depressing) feature on last week about the everlasting menopause and when we took to Twitter to discuss the subject further, we had some really interesting feedback and we jokingly commented “lets try and get #menopause trending”.
So over the next few months we are going to take this subject on board and aim to get as many people talking about it as possible. We have already had offers of some really interesting posts and will be seeking professional advice and gathering feedback from readers, in order to get some clarity on the subject.
So if you have any experiences and tips that you would like to share – please get in touch, either by leaving a comment or dropping us an email.
We would love to hear from you – lets get this conversation started people!!