Have I ever told you why I decided to ‘come out’ about my menopause? It sounds weird to say it, but it’s true, isn’t it! You have to at some point tell people, “I AM MENOPAUSAL” and it can quite nerve-wracking especially since when I did it I didn’t even know how to react to it, let alone how others will.
When I came out about it, everything happened so organically, but I felt like I had to talk about it. If you don’t do it, if you keep everything for yourself, it could lead to unhealthy habits. Over-eating, unnecessary shopping, or whatever your guilty comfort habit is.
At the time, I worked in interior design, but my mental health was impacting my job. Work, deadlines, emotions… something I could handle so well before, became sometimes too overwhelming. I later realised this was due to the menopause.
How do you come out about menopause?
So, as I was waking up in the morning I’d ask myself: Do you feel up to talking about how you’re feeling about the menopause today? If I answered YES, then I would do it. I was calling people I knew, people around me, and I was talking about my feelings. Most of the time, I was a bit wow, how can I be the only one experiencing this? And this is when you start feeling alone. Not sure if you can even talk because who can relate??
I had mostly mental related symptoms, and I was talking about them. When I found out that what I was feeling was all menopause-related, I hadn’t been out of the house for 3 months. Inside. Alone. I was just isolating myself, I couldn’t face anybody or anything. It was horrendous how I was feeling, and all the emotion I was experiencing. I can’t even explain it and wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, no I DIDN’T want it to happen to anyone. I didn’t want anyone else to experience anything similar, my daughter, or another female, feeling invisible.
Then, after 3 whole months, I realised I wanted to do something about it. Not just to help me, but to help if possible every single woman out there who is going through this, or that will at some point go through it. Since I was always an open person, quite comfortable talking in public and about mostly anything, maybe people would start to relate. After all, this is what I was missing, no one was talking about it, and I couldn’t be alone feeling this way.
I don’t think I was being brave, I think this is something I was destined to do.
I realised I had 27 of the 34 symptoms and I thought it could have been a good idea to talk about it. Some of them I never even associated with menopause. The burning mouth sensation I thought was related to the fact that I talk so much. I thought the weight gain was due to my stopping going to the gym. My hair, I thought I need more expensive shampoo. It was not very nice to myself, I found out I gave myself a hard time. My skin was itchy and dehydrated. I thought it was part of getting old, I was struggling with life, I was not able to pack a piece of luggage, pack a bag, anything.
Everything became overwhelming and became essentially bigger than it was. I didn’t even want to walk my dogs. Everything became really hard. All I wanted to do was stay in my pyjamas. Even opening a letter became difficult. Everything was fearful in my life, it was a very hard time.
I was 49 when I discovered I put it down to stress, but it all started at 42. I don’t think I was being brave, I think this is something I was destined to do.
As I am a huge advocate for animals, I always thought my life’s mission was to help animals. But then I realised God had another job for me, and here I am. For women. And I am only at the beginning of the journey. It took me 2 years to become a strong voice and to be heard. Now we have to prove we need to prevent these feelings from happening. We need to allow people to start HRT on time because prevention is very important.
The Future of Menopause
I am hoping that in the future, everyone will have a letter with menopause info and a DEXA scan done routinely at 50. You will get some of the symptoms or all of them or none. Not all of us will have problems, but many women will have osteoporosis and cardiac-related disease because of the menopause. This what I am working for. A future where you go to the GP and say: “I think I’m going through the menopause” and it will be enough to get you started on what you really need, before the worst hits. That is what gave me the strength to come out and start talking.