why we really need a master class in this taboo subject

Medical exam
Medical exam

I’ve been feeling odd lately, so I took myself off to the doctor.

There I explained about the horrible feelings of déjà vu I’ve been experiencing and my exhaustion. Blood tests were ordered. Upon return to a 
locum doctor she appeared perplexed as to what to 
tell me.

“You have no anaemia and your blood sugar is good,” she informed me (I was diagnosed pre-diabetic last year!).

“Wasn’t a hormone profile done?” I probed.

“Ah yes, a menopausal pattern is beginning to emerge,” she said, with a flick of glorious, ebony, waist-length hair.

“Oh!” I replied, my heart sinking into my boots at the official mention of the dreaded ‘M’ word.

I’m in my 40s; surely the ‘M’ word doesn’t happen until I’m in my 50s. I had read 51 was the average age of its onset.

“So what do I do?” I asked. The stunningly beautiful, young (she was practically an amoeba) doctor in front of me hesitated.

“How’s your mood, is your hair thinning, have you noticed changes in yourself?”

“I’m weepy and permanently exhausted. I’m inexplicably piling on weight. I don’t really look like me. I’m having such severe feelings of déjà vu that it makes me feel nauseous and depleted after each episode, though my hair has never been so thick in my life!” I replied.

I began to feel uncomfortable by her inability to offer me any real advice. Her youth didn’t help either. I knew she had no concept of how I felt and I was aware of becoming oddly embarrassed, as though I wanted to take my aging body out of her sight. She was perfect; everything our youth obsessed society encourages us to be; beautiful, smart, super-thin.

For some reason I was reminded of the old game show Bullseye, when the players got to view the prize that they’d just lost out on, as Jim Bowen uttered the immortal words; “And here’s what you could have won.”

It was as though Mother Nature was taunting me, getting such a young and beautiful creature to deliver the news that I was on the cusp of my sell-by date. I felt as though I was contaminating her youth and beauty as I continued my withering deterioration at what now felt like an alarmingly fast rate in front of her eyes.

I couldn’t bear being in the presence of her fabulousness any longer, I told the goddess that really I felt much better; at least my barnet looked great, and sloped off home.

I decided to consult with Dr Google. I got a few answers to my queries. I found out that I’m actually peri-menopausal as menopause is officially when you have completed a whole year without menstruating.

I also learned that as our oestrogen levels decrease we are inclined to put weight on around our middle section and it’s incredibly difficult to lose.

One teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar in 300ml of warm water in the morning and again at 5pm will apparently help shift the blubber. I bulk bought it.

I discovered on menopause forums that I wasn’t the only one to experience feelings of intense déjà vu, which was reassuring.

Taking the supplement Menopace mentioned on forums, has almost eradicated my flushes.

As I read on I wondered why nobody warns you about the cornucopia of ailments both mental and physical that numerous women endue at the hands of the menopause.

It’s like entering into a secret society, like the Freemasons.

I wondered will it be necessary to roll up one trouser leg and do a funny handshake when meeting a fellow menopausal sister.

Why the big taboo about the natural cessation of our fertility? My mother never spoke to me of the menopause phenomenon. Teachers never mentioned it at my all-girl school. Why the big cover-up? Woman (and their partners) should be given a menopause master class. The menopause is capable of mentally bringing some women to their knees and destroying relationships because of the difficult issues thrown up that many women (and men) struggle to deal with.

Like other women I am searching for answers and advice on how to thrive than merely survive.

We need more information and support regarding this issue.

I honestly thought twice about writing this column. I worried I’d be perceived as over-the-hill, but if reading this has helped one woman feel better knowing she’s not the only one feeling isolated in this natural yet taboo process, then my work here is done. Let’s bring this Menopause malarkey out of the shadows.

(Recommended reading: The Second Half of Your Life by Jill Shaw Ruddock).