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Hitting the Menopause

Updated on August 30, 2020
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I have always loved and loathed in equal measure. Passionate about most things in life, I never view it in black and white.

Post it notes come in handy. I usually stick mine on my forehead!
Post it notes come in handy. I usually stick mine on my forehead!

What did I do to deserve this?

The menopause is of course different for each individual, but there are certain aspects of it that I`m sure every woman who is joining that club can relate to..

I could never be classed as someone who hasn`t any fire in her personality. I am at best a passionate person, at worst, a fiesty bitch.. So, when I hit the so called "perimenopausal" stage, you know that time, when you first have wild images that you`re pregnant because you no longer menstruate, and then you realize that you can`t be because you`re too hot to have sex, I was a bit sad..

I remember at the age of 12 and a half years old going to the loo only to find blood. Me being me imagined my insides were falling out. My sister`s seeing me white faced and tremling casually announced " You`ve come on" I then took a day off school and they left a mutual male friend there to look out for me. He very oddly bought me some "jam doughnuts" from the shop. Being male it didn`t occur to him that I may have thought he was taking the piss, but I forgave him after I scoffed them all. I thought I was special going into womanhood, even though I was still looking for faeries in the woods. I got through puberty with less spots than most of my friends and I had a British standard handful as far as my new size double Aa`s were concerned. Thankfully their size increased. I remained a healthy weight during childhood, and throughout my early adult years. So then I fell pregnant in my 20`s and again, no real problems there. Morning sickness was short lived and my bump was pretty small and there were no unsightly stretch marks or other atrocities that can happen to pregnant women. The actual birth of my son, was not as I imagined. It was horrendous, to the point that I had begged the staff to consider a cesarian. I remember hearing them telling me that I was having a natural birth, and that there were no complications. I saw that word "natural" as synonymous to "irony" because I wanted to push when told not to, and not to when told to.. The "no pain no gain" theory definitely showed itself that long day in June 1987. They say that you soon forget the pain of childbirth, but whoever "they" are, I certainly never did. I became a neurotic, wild person who could only really see the anaesthetist in the room. I locked my eyes firmly upon her and put my faith in her hands as I waited for that long overdue epidural to numb the pain. When it did, heaven prevailed, and for the first time in 10 hours I was able to smile again and focus on why I was actually in that maternity ward at all. When I saw my boy for the first time, involuntary tears had spilled down my cheeks, and I remember being aware of how I`d ordered all those staff members around. I had the mid wife giving me back rubs and my friend giving me foot rubs and constantly commanding that the anaesthetist stay put. There were apologies and thank you cards and the best gift of all, well obviously was given to me that day.

I do remember thinking that being a female did seem to throw in a few curve balls, and that males in comparison had an easier ride. I believed that we were all born with the capacity to worry, but that women seemed to have a lot more to worry about. When I had my son in 1987 my world changed more than at any other point in my life and those changes were fudamentally good ones. The thought of reaching that age whereby, I could say that my days of reproducing were over, didn`t seem too daunting, as I knew I would only ever have one child through my own choosing. It seemed a long time away, but as dormant as it lay throughout those years in between, was just a calm before the storm..

Sub zero outside. Tropical indoors. A time of odd shifts in temperature.

Is it hot in here?
Is it hot in here?

Physical and mental changes

Feeling hot as in body on fire hot is not a pleasant experience. During the menopause it can happen at any given point. It could happen in the snow and the temptation would still be strongly suggesting that you rip all your clothes off. It`s an overwhelming feeling that may not last for longer than a few minutes, or you may feel hot for hours, however long it grips you, there seems to be little escape. The body itself in the physical sense, in so far as your core temperature is concerned, is unchanged. However, it increases by 5-7 degrees on the surface. I try to mask it by opening doors, cold flannels, the usual but it goes when it goes and for myself, I don`t see it as a major deal but do miss my bedclothes staying on all night? Would it be nice to have a normal thermostat again? I have no night sweats, just the odd hot flush now and again, and during the daytime. It is not my particular worse symptom of this phase, although unpleasant.

I`m a physical, mental wreck, waiting for a beard
I have no sense of time, I`m definitely weird.
I`m peri-menopausal, go from blazing hot to cold,
I have wrinkles, bags, am fat, and very very old.
I sometimes find my my car keys in obscure places
I often forget names, while remembering certain faces.
I`m 50 shades of madness, go from saint to sinner,
I eat chocolate for my breakfast, lunch, and sometimes dinner.
I often lie in bed with my heart and mind both racing
bang on red alert when it`s just my pillow I`m facing
I have a yen for change, I want a tie dye dress in blue.
I want to get naked in a field under a snuggly at midnight, true.
I`d rather have a hob nob than a quickie with a stranger
I`ve forgotten all the words to "Away in a manger".
I often google questions, that apparently nobody asks,
The naughtiest I get, is putting whites with colourfast.
I wander round my place with a million good intentions
to complete the jobs at hand, then start dreaming of inventions.
I get time warped, tongue tied, and prickly
I lose my direction and the plot quite quickly.
I`m managing not to pee when I sneeze
I`m doing pelvic exercises would you please.
My sex is definitely not "on fire"
I don`t even fancy Danny Dyer!
Is it Monday today? I`ve forgotten what I was saying.......... 

During this time, which is still in transit, by the way, I have piled on the weight. Saying I have put on a few pounds would be an understatement, to be honest. Since the age of 40 it has crept on and now I`m at my heaviest ever. I am sure that a doctor would be classing me as "morbidly obese". I won`t let them pop that tag on me, as I always tell them anytime they see fit to weigh me, that I don`t want to know how much I do actually weigh. I have never put the emphasis on pounds or kilos. I go by clothes size and how I can see myself in a mirror, but for anybody to tell me what I am when the crux of it is that I know I`m fat, it would just feel like an unnecessary insult. I`m not a lover of the GP as it is, without them trying to state the obvious to me like it`s a revelation. So yep, weight gain is a curse during this time, and as with the general incline towards old age, not bloody fare. Losing it seems a damn sight harder. I have an underactive thyroid gland, so that does not help my case. However, being a positive person and an honest one at that, I have to say that although hard during menopause, it`s obviously not impossible to shed the "stones"... and if you have to work a little harder at it then so be, but you still are the captain of your own ship here, even if the sea is choppier than usual. In my case, it feels like a tidal wave engulfed me. Chocolate is my new best friend. It walks hand in hand with crisps and all the other unhealthy snacks your body doesn`t need but clearly wants.

The wandering into a room, forgetting what it was you wanted there, is cliche but true. Finding your keys in the fridge is not something to dismiss as fantasy either. It can happen, I would have written a book on the madcap scenarios I have found myself in since I hit this phase in my life but I have already suddenly found myself to be not unlike a goldfish. Trying to retain my short term memories is like trying to force a square peg in a round hole. Best not to stress yourself trying. My son puts this lack of memory down to be senile or worse still Alzheimer's... It makes me giggle as he always manages to do. Either way, calling him by someone else's name, and then someone else by his, also has him constantly taking the piss. I have a dry sense of humor which is a blessing during this hideous time because tears are a massive part of it for me. My sensitivity to anything remotely touching is off the hook and my other half has come to expect me regularly breaking down. More tissues and toilet rolls than ever have been used in the household these days. Sometimes I don`t recognize the quivering tear-stained, morbidly obese mess that sits dunking galaxy bars in her tea. I want to swap her for her former self but she`s as far away from me now as Mars.

Sugar fest seems best!
Sugar fest seems best!

Crying while dunking Galaxy bars..

I first found myself dunking galaxy chocolate bars and watching true movies all day when I was around the 50 years of age mark. Don`t get me wrong, chocolate was always on the agenda and I love true movies. The sudden combination of the two was probably inevitable at some point in my life. A nice combination I may add, but I kind of got into a rut with it. Tears are not an unusual part of this hormone wrecking time, I could cry over a fallen leaf these days. There are certain songs that I can`t listen to in public anymore because my tear ducts and my wobbling bottom lip, are in control. of my better judgment. Sometimes, I cry for no apparent reason at all. Emotionally, it`s a roller coaster ride. I guess the depression does lift at certain times, hard to say these days when that is exactly. One reason being, because I don`t know what day of the week it is, still aware of the month, but I am more inclined now to forget appointments. I`m forever asking people to send me text reminders and emails. Worse still, is when you turn up for one on the wrong day. The text reminders beat the emails, as I forget to log in every day to check them. Um, it`s a weird time, like sitting beside a monkey with a box of tricks. You never know which one he`s going to hand you, let alone when.

I remember my mum frequently crying at this stage in her life. There was a program called "This Is Your Life" hosted by Eamonn Andrews on every Wednesday. My sisters and I tagged this night "boo night" If we sang Danny Boy to her it was a given that there would be tears and to this day I see her in my mind`s eye sobbing every time I hear that song myself and so yes, now I cry too. Dehydration is a worry during this time and yet the irony is that the menopause can also give you "dry eyes"?

Flying saucers are not always Alien related!

Tears and tantrums

Devil Woman

I should imagine that I am not alone in saying that both "temperature" and "temperament" are altered at this crazy time in life and crazy is just how those mood swings can be. I can find myself being triggered by all sorts of things that once I had perfectly normal tolerance levels for. Now, just the sound of my boyfriend shuffling his tobacco pouch or him fidgeting next to me can grate on my nerves. I try and count to ten in my head at these mad moments, but sometimes only manage to get to 5. I snap frequently, especially during the evening when I`m trying to unwind. I can no longer justify him trying to talk to me "at all" during the soaps. The shorter way to gain peace is a curt "shhh". It`s quick and usually does the job, however, if he`s after saying more than one sentence, several swear words are fired out in rapid succession and because he`s Irish, bless him, he`s not always the coolest cucumber himself, so a full-blown argument can ensue. It sounds like a nightmare, but luckily we are pretty quick to forgive and both positive people, so when I explain that I`m a "little snappier" than usual these days, he discreetly rolls his eyes. No doubt he`s thinking that I`m a hideous angry monster. He has called me a "fucking maniac" on occasions and also suggested I need help. Those are "his" less tolerant times and my more manic episodes. Luckily this is not an everyday thing, but certainly, even I am shocked sometimes at how easily I can flip my lid and how suddenly my mood can switch.

Being judgmental of others has also reared its ugly head and I find myself like the stereotypical "grumpy old woman" bitching and beefing about anything from the local shop keeper to the number of sex scenes on tv. My other half says I have altered his opinions on how often women seem to get their tits out these days on the screen... Apparently, he never used to think about it before. I guess hearing my sudden outrage at the "filth" they put on tv these days has in some way tainted his own opinions. He looks my way every time a sex scene comes on now and sometimes even skips through them with the remote. Bang goes any ideas of us two watching a porn movie together. I seem to have an opinion on everything these days and some of them are damn right brash and hostile as hell. I don`t like who I have become. Although I have never been shy about voicing an opinion, these days, the off switch seems non-existent. I don`t have much tolerance left for bad service either and frequently find myself feeling more than justified at writing strong words to whichever company may have offended me online. Never have I complained so much or so frequently in my life as I do now. It`s not an attractive time of life, either physically or mentally to be fair but for less assertive people it must feel like a release?

Some days I`m in the car shouting obscenities and clenching my teeth at other drivers like "they" truly should not be driving. I`m making hand gestures that involve two fingers like I have Tourettes and even I would be scared of me. I`ve always enjoyed nature and walking and so these pastimes are a blessing when you need to wind down but dare anyone see fit to sit within 20 feet of me beside the lake I openly sigh and tut loud enough to either shift them or shift myself. Hedgehogs have nothing on my prickles. If I sit in the car park with a hot chocolate after a nice walk and somebody decides to park alongside me, I use the sun visor to block them out and sometimes even a blanket if I`m feeling particularly moody. It really can be a manic time, but for anyone who has now reached this point, I am condensing thw worst of this stage within this hub. Some days are perfectly normal, whatever that actually means? For me, it means anger free, tear-free, chocolate-free, hot body free, absent-mindedness free, and off course carefree.

Up and down days...


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