My name is Rachel Tobin.
I run Myrtleberry Studio B&B in an idyllic spot on Castlemorton Common with fantastic views of the Malvern Hills. I live with my husband Terry and two teenagers. Last year I had just got to the end of a rather stressful 3 years of getting a reluctant, bright son through exams and though I had been gradually less able to cope with anything and was finding it harder to get up each day, I wrongly presumed all these issues would disappear once my son past his exams and landed a job. Unfortunately, life had a different plan for me!
I was crying out for support from a woman, as I was the only person I knew with these extreme emotions…I felt a freak and just kept wondering “why me?”
I was suddenly hit with every menopausal symptom going, but the worst by far was low self-esteem and anxiety. My lovely husband is always supportive but neither of us knew what to do, nor the doctors at my surgery who I visited in turn. Nothing worked. HRT had no effect and I tried various anti-depressants one of which made me feel suicidal. I had already over the last few years, cut back on work commitments to make my lifestyle stress free, always ate healthy and had started yoga and running, but nothing was working. I was barely able to function.
Luckily at one of my worst moments, I confided in a friend who immediately took me seriously, rallied into action and who has been my guiding angel from then onwards. I was crying out for support from a woman, as I was the only person I knew with these extreme emotions…I felt a freak and just kept wondering “why me?”
The good news is that I now have more energy than I have had for the last 20 years and run every day…
Although Terry my husband, was 100% there for me, I realised it was too much for one person to deal with. Eventually, in desperation, we went to a Harley Street clinic and I started bio-identical hormones on the recommendation of my reflexologist and having read about Carol Vorderman who had also had extreme symptoms. The hormones took a month to kick in and then I felt so much better. The good news is that I now have more energy than I have had for the last 20 years and run every day, something I wouldn’t have contemplated before as I have always suffered with fatigue problems. I’ve lost lots of weight, which surprisingly I am not that excited about, as the reason for running was for the anxiety/low self-esteem; and though this is better, it still lingers on.
I have never had anxiety and low self-esteem before so this has been a real eye opener. However, the very darkest times of anxiety and self-doubt hatched another new skill in me. I started song writing and just couldn’t stop. I have always loved pop music and my first song ‘Living in the Moment, Happy in my Calm’, is about a fantastic moment in time when I was on the canal path with Terry and feeling calm and unafraid, it felt so extra wonderful after such dark times. My second song is called ‘How could it be’ and describes the self-doubt and anxiety I have experienced and how I plan to move on.
This stage in life is a great time to re-invent yourself and find the real you – don’t let society tell you otherwise!
I have lots more songs in the pipeline and all are based on feelings and emotions about motherhood and life’s journey. I have also ventured into the world of writing and editorials too. I think I could write a book on the last year and the rollercoaster of emotions I have been through. I am talking openly about my experiences as the support structure for women has got to improve. This stage in life is a great time to re-invent yourself and find the real you – don’t let society tell you otherwise! So what that singer/songwriters are mainly in their 20s, we probably have more relevant messages and life experiences to get over in our 50s. Anxiety can make you feel very alone and isolated and I have found Matt Haig’s books have been an immense help to me, in understanding anxiety. His writing has also been a big influence on the songs I write. My songs are now available on all streaming sites including Google Play and iTunes.
I wish Megs Menopause had been there for me last year. Not only does Meg have great taste in sandals but her site is just spot on. Too many sites and books make the subject so depressing and negative. I also hope Meg will venture out into wider hormonal issues…no one should put up with menstrual problems at any age or period poverty and there is still not enough support for women going through post-natal depression. Motherhood is a really tough job and we all need to be more supportive of one another and speak up.
Keep going Meg: we are right behind you.
Contact Rachel: firstname.lastname@example.org