Crying into my coffee …

I have recently become one of those women that mutters “it must be my age” whenever I can’t remember what I was going to do.  What’s worse is that my husband and teenagers can be heard muttering it about me too.  And I catch my reflection in the mirror sometimes and I’m really, genuinely surprised.  I mean, I didn’t feel old on Sunday so how is it that on Monday I look it?  To be honest though I have quite a growing list of “How is it” questions, such as …

  • How is it I (need to) wear more make-up now than I did as a teenager?
  • How is it that my skin is so dry I occasionally worry one of the kids might have tried to mummify me during the night?
  • How is it that I ache all the time even though I last exercised probably about a year ago?
  • How is it I actually have spots again?
  • How is it there are some nights when I just can’t sleep no matter how exhausted I am?
  • How is it that I have hair randomly sprouting out of my chin whereas it seems downright bloody reluctant to grow from my scalp any longer?

And, the most embarrassing for me ..

  • How is it that I go from being a competent woman dealing with teenage angst, managing a team and resolving more than just the occasional crisis to having tears pouring down my face, all because the particularly smiley barista at Starbucks was nice to me?

It seems there’s only one explanation – MENOPAUSE.

Or rather perimenopause to give it it’s proper name.  Perimenopause, I’ve recently learned is the transition to menopause (when the ovaries stop releasing eggs) and the average length is apparently four years.  I’m sorry – did you actually read that? FOUR YEARS!!!! And that’s just an average, some of us will go through it much quicker and some of us could be stuck in it for even longer.  Symptoms can include irregular periods, hot flushes and night sweats, insomnia, fatigue,  anxiety, (is anybody else inwardly screaming yet?) loss of confidence, decreased sex drive,  vaginal dryness, breast tenderness, bloating, and if all that wasn’t enough, we need to brace ourselves for urinary leakages! Apparently we can’t even have a good laugh about it.

It’s like puberty with the added responsibility of mortgage payments and a looming pension deficit.  When I started my periods my main concerns in life were the state of my skin, whether I would ever have a boyfriend and my O levels in the dim and distant future.  Now I’m finishing my periods my main concerns are the state of my skin, whether my kids have sufficient emotional resilience to cope, and the crushing fear that this actually IS my future.

I’m a bit of a Google junkie and it’s clear to me that there are lots of websites, blogs and Facebook pages with a wealth of information about the menopause, and the journey to it.  There are lots of experts and there are lots of opinions. What I know without any reference to Google however is that there are lots and lots of women going through it and wondering how is it that we feel so bewildered by it all.  We don’t want anti-depressants and we’re still not entirely sure about HRT. We’re willing to consider a few dietary changes but not if we have to  start eating flax seeds and quinoa.  We’d love to sit and read a book about it but if we had a spare few hours we’d actually rather go out with our girlfriends and drink cocktails thanks all the same.

So where do I go to find women that aren’t quite ready to simply put up with it, who haven’t entirely lost their zest for life but can’t quite remember where they last left it. Blogland seems like a pretty good place to start.

My intention/hope with this blog is to create a space for us to share our stories, find friendships, reinvent “normal” and distribute virtual tissues and hugs to one another when we feel the need to cry into our coffee cups (or cocktails, your choice).  I really hope you’ll join me and that we’ll have some fun on the way too. Just be careful not to laugh too much – we all know what that might lead to ….

29 Comments

  1. Nessa
    April 3, 2018 / 9:53 pm

    This. So much this.

    • Jackiekent
      Author
      April 3, 2018 / 10:45 pm

      And yet none of us really talk about it face to face ☹️

  2. Helen Pullen
    April 3, 2018 / 9:56 pm

    Thanks Jackie. A much needed and appreciated blog.

    • Jackiekent
      Author
      April 3, 2018 / 10:42 pm

      Intending to post regularly – you know me – always got something to say!

  3. Annabel
    April 3, 2018 / 9:58 pm

    Thank you !
    I am bewildered by the information out here rather than informed. So it’ll be good to share.

    • Jackiekent
      Author
      April 3, 2018 / 10:41 pm

      Thanks Annabel – it’s all a bit overwhelming isn’t it! Lots of conflicting advice…

  4. Gerri
    April 3, 2018 / 10:59 pm

    Ahh this – I’m in a rather good forum about this exact issue. There’s also the issue of getting it confirmed. My doctors all say “your bloods are normal. Apart from raised immune response.”

    That has seen me, over the last year, through many different hospital departments. I now have a slight clue about what it is but they still say it’s not Menopause.

    I’ve been told I need to see a hormone specialist privately to get the bloods to confirm it, becuase the NHS doesn’t cover the costs of the full bloods and tests for hormone changes early on. Apparently you have to have stopped periods for a year!

    Also – Perimenopause can go on for a good 10 years 😱 the horror!

    • Jackiekent
      Author
      April 4, 2018 / 6:54 am

      I feel for you – that must be really hard. Not to mention expensive. Will you get it done?

  5. Chanene
    April 4, 2018 / 6:37 am

    Excellent read Jackie, and I’m right there with you!!!

    • Jackiekent
      Author
      April 4, 2018 / 6:54 am

      Thanks Chanene, strength in numbers!

  6. Cathy Colclough
    April 4, 2018 / 6:46 am

    I’ve been thinking much the same thing Jackie! Some days getting back under the duvet & pretending it’s not happening is very tempting. Rather like we were able to do as teens going through puberty! Instead we have to rouse ourselves into kicking our own teens out of their own beds. 😫 At least we have a couple of weeks off that little joy! I find myself wanting to threw a bigger Kevin & Perry tantrum than my son just for the reaction although he would probably not wake even then. Retaining my sense of humour is all important. Proof that we are still intelligent free thinking human beings. Now, where are my reading glasses?…..

    • Jackiekent
      Author
      April 4, 2018 / 6:56 am

      I know what you mean – although the temptation to stay in bed is even worse when most of the house are on Easter holidays 🙁

  7. Diane Carrier
    April 4, 2018 / 6:57 am

    Everyone is so different at this stage in their life. For me I have the occasional hot flush but I’m hating the weight I’ve gained.
    After not having a period for a year that’s classed as menopause. Only good thing is no periods

    • Jackiekent
      Author
      April 4, 2018 / 7:11 am

      The weight gain is getting to me too. I’m rejoining boot camp next week which I’m dreading and looking forward to in equal measure!

  8. Ems
    April 4, 2018 / 7:05 am

    I am with you Jackie, this will be interesting! When everyone in the office is putting on cardigans and scarves because they are cold, because I have the window open as I am so hot!!

    • Jackiekent
      Author
      April 4, 2018 / 7:13 am

      I noticed some of my team had actually put their coats on one day last week! My window – not yours I hasten to add!

    • Jackiekent
      Author
      April 4, 2018 / 3:19 pm

      They never told us about this back at Bluecoats did they!!

  9. Sally
    April 4, 2018 / 8:52 am

    I definitely relate to glancing in the mirror and wondering who that old lady is!! It’s the battle against the increasing lines under the eyes! Also the anxiety of no longer having a purpose once the kids have left – although they’ll always bring the washing home 😃
    And wondering why I have no motivation to exercise while my husband is always out running, cycling, at the gym ……

    • Jackiekent
      Author
      April 4, 2018 / 3:24 pm

      To be fair Sally, you are married to one of the most positively charged people on the planet. Most of us have only just recovered from working with him in 1993. You must be exhausted! xx

  10. Louanne Hicken
    April 4, 2018 / 9:22 am

    Hi Jackie, I went into early perimenopause about 7 years ago, I’ve been backwards and forwards to my GP thinking I am going mad, to be told this can last for upon to 10 years!!! I cant have HRT due to family history and I just need to persevere, I’m a strong woman, I can get through it…cheers Dr, I was there for help. I speak openly to women about this and am trying to get a group together at work for us to talk and support each other. This blog is a great idea ☺thank you xxx

    • Jackiekent
      Author
      April 4, 2018 / 3:26 pm

      It’s so necessary to talk about it I think. Good on you for working on setting up a group, we need all the support we can get. xx

  11. Sarah Akehurst
    April 4, 2018 / 3:17 pm

    Love it Jackie! Superb reading! x

  12. Debbie Collins
    April 4, 2018 / 6:35 pm

    Love it Jackie. The hot flushes in the middle of the night are the best. Throwing off the covers in the arctic temperatures when ordinarily you would have at least 24 tog duvet cover on the bed.

    • Jackiekent
      Author
      April 4, 2018 / 7:52 pm

      Power surges!!

  13. Judith
    April 5, 2018 / 8:56 am

    Wise words, Jackie! (For those who are sick of the dreaded hot flushes, acupuncture may be a solution. I’ve been having it for the past year and it really seems to be working. And I’m not a hippy dippy type so I was fairly sceptical!)

    • Jackiekent
      Author
      April 5, 2018 / 6:34 pm

      That sounds interesting, might have to look into that. Thanks x

  14. Claire
    April 26, 2018 / 9:27 pm

    Lovely blog Jackie. Im not sure if my symptoms are the leftovers from pregnancy 2 years ago (at 41 years old)or the start of the peri….but my curly hair is going straight, I’ve got 3 red spots on my face that won’t budge, size 18 jeans from primark last week….cant lose any weight, a constant pain in my neck and shoulders. My mum started the menopause at 36 and had 10 years of HRT, so I feel blessed to have had a baby late in life and not to have followed in her footsteps. My mum went from a size 10 to an 18 in those years…..eats like a bird and never loses weight. Hey ho…..being a woman isn’t always easy but I love knowing that I’m not alone. We are all suffering with something but we will get thru it and words of wisdom from you Jackie sure will help. Thank you.

    • Jackiekent
      Author
      April 26, 2018 / 10:32 pm

      We’re all in it together! And don’t beat yourself up about stuff – you honestly look fab. xx

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