Brain fog, anxiety, irritation, short tempered, overwhelmed, heart palpitations, hot flushes, exhaustion, do any of these sound familiar? They sound familiar to me now, but a year and a half ago I actually thought I was losing the plot!. I thought it was just overwhelm from juggling things in my life. But now I realise, from my own searching it was menopause knocking at my door.
But I am only 44 I said to myself, surely not! I am too young, (or so I thought). Since I have started talking about menopause on my social media, I have had so many private messages (of which I say thank you) from many of you, thanking me for highlighting this topic. The elephant in the room needs to be heard. We need to start the conversation, so it’s not such a surprise when it comes knocking on our doors. Women need to be empowered about their bodies, the changes, and the symptoms, because from what I can see symptoms vary tremendously. As does the age of menopause and peri menopause. There is no shame in early menopause. I, like so many of you thought ‘menopause happens when you are older!’ but that’s not the case, it happens when it happens … age irrelevant!
My experience one day came to a head, I had been having extreme symptoms of heart palpitations, dizziness, exhaustion and overwhelm, I was doing a photo shoot for a covid ‘lockdown’ article, when I said I can’t do this, I need to leave the room. I had to lie down. I was weak, tired, emotional and afraid. This experience led me to attending A&E in the middle of the night, heart monitors attached to my chest, needles in my arm for blood tests. Conclusion came back in the middle of the night from the doctor, I was fine…. so then what is this I thought.
I don’t feel fine. I went home confused, and spent the next few months trying to figure out what was going on, meanwhile juggling the symptoms. It was only in hindsight, I worked it out…. ah… menopause! Months of night sweats, day sweats, any sweats followed. Fatigue, irritation, brain fog were the hot flushes best friends. This was crazy. I am a woman of action I thought, fitness is my friend. I have been sea swimming for over four years now, I meditate, eat healthy and I live a healthy lifestyle, why am I getting such symptoms I thought? Menopause does not discriminate, so now I knew what was going on what was I to do.
I started firstly to slow down. Take a deep breath. And pause. It didn’t stop the hot flushes but it allowed me to work through them. It allowed me to be kind to myself when they came over me, heat radiated through me and I would run outside in the cold winter nights air, strip off, cool down and re-regulate, this became all too normal for me, wake in the night every hour on the hour, then up in the morning to function as a ‘normal human’ it was a challenge I had not prepared for. I look back now, currently the hot flushes have abated, they may come back and if they do, I am ok, I accept what is. I exercise regularly, not like I used to (hard core) but more gently now, I listen to my body more, I speak to my friends openly and they speak back, we laugh about our brain fog, and we openly talk about our fears, we swim in the sea, we connect. Our bodies are changing ladies, our wrinkles are starting to appear. But we are still the awesome women we have always been, these changes are part of life, I chose to embrace them.
Find your tribe ladies, and enjoy this life you have been given!