I often get people sharing their stories with me, which are worth sharing as they are helpful for us all. What works for me, might not work for you, so the more information and stories, and tips and tricks the better! So, below is one of those from one of our readers. A story about the woman in the mirror. Do you recognise her? The menopause can strip you of you. But you will get her back!
The Woman in The Mirror
I don’t know who she is, this woman in the mirror. She looks like me but is not the same as me anymore. I know her face, her blue eyes, her skin with maybe few more lines, I see her lips which are still full. Her hair long and blond with just a few grey strands which have been painted over with a great product that makes those grey strands disappear…at least till the next wash. Impossible to run to the hairdresser every 4 weeks.
Who can afford such a thing?
Her neck shows some lines- it’s lack of hydration. Over fifty-one, got to drink and drink and drink. Water that is. It’s her eyes which are different. They don’t sparkle anymore. Her heart is beating fast. It’s always beating fast now. She has anxieties that overturn her life. It creeps up on her from one minute to the next. As a result, there are days, in which she is scared of leaving the house and it takes real effort in arranging appointments. It’s a bit like a full-blown mental health issue, except that it is caused by nothing else but the drop of oestrogen.
A single, simple hormone.
Her mood is like the English weather. Four seasons in one day. It drives everyone around her crazy and challenges loved ones. She can’t help it. She really can’t. There are badges pregnant woman wear. “baby on board”. They are great. When you see a woman with a badge like this in the tube, I get up normally from my seat and make room for her. I remember how tiring it is to be pregnant and how heavy the body feels. It’s good to sit down.
I wish there were badges for the pre-menopausal woman too. To alert everyone around of those mood swings. A bit like the owner of dogs who put a sign on their garden door maybe. “Beware of the dog!” My badge would read: “Beware of me, I am pre-menopausal and I don’t know the fuck how I’ll be reacting to anything you say or do or not do -I might burst into tears, or tear you apart.”
At times I feel like I got no layer of skin on my body, nothing to protect my inner self. I am pure and open anything. Pure emotions and soul and feelings. A combination of all of them. I remember my older friend Monica, she used to tell me, that the best time in her life was in her fifties. I get it, kids are grown up, working life in order, time to follow own interests etc. HOWEVER, what she didn’t say is, that those nice things will be overshadowed by ANXIETIES. And a sponge brain that doesn’t absorb anything at times. Or rather like a sieve that you use to drain spaghetti.
My brain feels like the water that pours out of the tiny holes. Yesterday I asked my doctor to prescribe me a beta-blocker. It slows my fast heartbeat and stops me thinking I might have a heart attack. It helps… It’s not a great solution but at least I can carry myself to work without feeling I am going to die any minute. I am considering Hormone Replacement Therapy, but it increases the risk of cancer. Can’t win, can I?
I can’t cope that well with stress anymore either. And it’s not the massive stress I used to handle before. You know, the time when you have small children and you have to handle not just yourself but also your children and their appointments and school life and being a great mum and a great wife and go to work and clean the house and do every ones laundry and be interesting by going to interesting places and have interesting friends and do sports and have great hair and write all those Christmas cards to people you don’t care about.
No, I don’t have any of that any more. Having grown up kids and no husband and no house to clean other than a flat has reduced my stress from 100% to 15%. I also only write 7 Christmas cards. However, at times I can’t cope with the minimum of impact life throws at me. I keep looking at the woman in the mirror and I smile. “You know it is not that I don’t like you, it’s just I wish you would stop worrying about all those things.” She smiles back at me.
I feel compassion for her and I am also proud of her, for all those things she managed the last 50 years. “Look, it’s ok you feel like a freak at times. Maybe menopause just lets you finally be you. Allows you to be angry now for the things you didn’t allow yourself to be angry about before.”
A Light at The End of The Tunnel for The Woman In The Mirror
I can feel the woman in the mirror is easing up. I can almost see a little sparkle in her eyes. “Thank you, look, I just need more peace. I worked hard on many things over the years, because of this I am a bit tired now. I just want you to allow me to be slower and deal with less. Let me be free to follow my aspirations which I forgot about. Please forgive me for making life an emotional rollercoaster. I promise that it won’t last forever.”
My heart is beating normal now, and I suddenly feel real and alive as I have never felt before. I feel like I am standing on top of a mountain looking at the most beautiful scenery… My life. Ahead of me. Full of me with all the freaking emotions. But real with real values and a sense that I have never been so close to myself before as now.