Now that’s what I call Molliepause 2018.

It’s been nearly a year since I started the compilation of stories that has become my blog, and almost five years since I became Lady M’s subordinate. It’s been quite a journey but not all that bad. Some of the conditions imposed upon me have led to some interesting prerequisites. So I thought I would share with you my top hits (that I can remember) to remind us all that through the varying seasons the menopause inflicts upon us. You can still find time to laugh.

The complete and utter loss of memory. Now there are many tales of memory loss that bring cringe, laughter and embarrassment but this tale has to be in my top five. Upon joining my new department I had warned my boss, close peers and colleagues about my tendency to ‘forget’  things , names a particular bone of contention. About three months into the role in a fairly small department of 20 (ish) people, there was a bomb scare in the building. We were all evacuated to the buildings across the road until the bomb squad, police and relevant emergency services attended the scenes to quantify what this dodgy package was. Circa 2000 people all moved across to the car parks adjacent to our building, where soft drinks and refreshments were supplied until the business decided what to do with us. Much like a gang of refugees from world war two we stood firm clustered together in our specific departments. After a good few hours of keeping each other entertained with tunes such as ‘we’ll meet again’ and ‘roll out the barrel,’ those with alternative transport were told that they could leave upon authorisation from their managers. Following this much welcomed news an eager young man advance towards me full of smiles. And hope. ‘ Can I go home please Mollie?’ Yes I replied; just find your manager and let them know. ‘Mollie you are my manager’ I looked at him, nothing, no name came to me, I stared at his face, zero recollection. Now at this point I could have said ‘one sec I will get someone to record your name’, I could have blagged it, shouted someone over with a clipboard, and recorded the lad’s name, job done. NO ONE WOULD EVER KNOW. Did I do that?  Did my foggy menopausal brain allow my logical, quick thinking, problem solving brain to fire up? Did it shite. I responded with this. ‘You don’t work for me’. Puzzled and obviously thinking I was having a stroke, he replied ‘ Mollie it’s me ***** ( I was going to say here I am not putting his real name  for anonymity purposes, but I actually still can’t remember it!)  Again I could have taken the obvious easy route. Again I didn’t, nay couldn’t place him, ‘Mollie’ its me **** I do work for you’, – ‘no you don’t’ – ‘yes I do’  – This pantomime went on for an embarrassingly long time, until another one of the team (who thankfully I remembered) walked over and informed me that he did work in our department and that he would log his leaving time. I couldn’t walk away fast enough. Thankfully the team saw the comedic value in it and rather than the lad being upset that I had no recollection of his name, face or general being, he laughed and laughed and laughed.  He still does every time I see him in the corridors.

The Brian Fog. Don’t mix this delightful little ditty up with memory loss. This baby has the capability to make you act, look and feel like a complete tool at the most inopportune times. Now my job involves lots of meetings and conference calls, you know the ones where someone works from home and the dog barks, someone thinks they’re giving a really good update only to find that they were on mute the whole time, or your mum, partner or kid walks in the room half way through your update interrupting with ‘mam can I some money?’ that sort of thing. Now I am a control freak, I like to plan. I normally like a room where I have access to screens, spider phones or speakers. I alleviate any risk of a Robert Kelly incident at all costs. This particular time I had to dial in at the last-minute,  which meant either that it was a late invite or I had not realised that I had accepted the invite. No big deal: I would dial in from my desk and use my earphones. Problem was I didn’t have any. I rummaged around my drawers, finding a pair deep in the back of a stash of emergency stationary. With seconds to spare I was in. Houston we didn’t have a problem. Until the chair asked me a question. Again, no big deal, I knew my stuff, this was nothing new to me. I gave my most eloquent update and sat back feeling as smug as a technical whiz-kid getting to a new level on Mario. Until they asked me was I on mute? No I wasn’t, I had checked, I repeated my update feeling the all too familiar beads of sweat creeping up my back. No. No. Calm down I said you’ve got this. Until I heard ‘no sorry Mollie we still can’t hear you’. What was wrong? I wasn’t on mute, I was connected, I could hear them, I didn’t understand; the beads of sweat rapidly turned into a stream. I looked at my colleague on the same call sat next to me with a now desperate, puzzled look. I put myself on mute. ‘Can you hear me Jules, I asked?’  Well, yeah but I am sat right next to you, she replied. Together we checked the internet connection, the headphones plugged into correct hole, all the usual stuff that could be hindering my communicaton . Nothing.

‘ One second,’ I said, ‘I will try again’ – maybe the microphone was blocked on the headphones. I picked them up and started blowing into the earphone; a bit like the scene to Bridget Jones blowing into the microphone only to discover it wasn’t switched on; picture that  and you’ve got the gist. It was cringe. ‘Can you hear me now?’ Still nothing. Carry on I said and get back to me in a bit. I continued my quest to find the issue, after much blowing at the headphones followed by me speaking into the cord saying, One – Two – One – Two….  Jules leaned over and picked up the cord. ‘There’s no bloody microphone on the headphones,’ she said, ‘how bloody old are they!!!’ In between belly laughs and being unable to breathe we gave my updates with a nifty use of the mute button and Jules acting like my translator which just about got the message through, after which I ran to the toilet to dry up the remnants of the hottest flush ever.

The forgetfulness. As we all hurtle towards middle age this is part and parcel of our daily regime: where’s my keys, have I forgot my phone, is the front door locked, are the cats in?? You know the drill. In my quest to beat the middle-aged dread and spread; I have taken to going to the gym each morning before work. This not only helps me fight the flab it’s also good for my soul, it puts me in a good mood and sets me up for the day ahead. When it goes to plan. Now I don’t know about you lot but as Aunt Flo’s visit creeps closer each month, Lady M ramps up her ramifications. It’s a doublet with cataclysmic conclusions. I become weepier, more bloated, more anxious,  even more bloated ,  angrier and more forgetful. This week I have been blessed with a tandem visit from my two perpetrators.  It’s my turn. My time of the month. It’s not been a bad one so far all told; other than being a little impatient with myself and others, whilst approximating a pot-bellied pig.

The main impact this month has been to my memory. Not once but twice this week I have been caught short, as it were. Leading to some obscure choices due to forgetfulness.  After my workout I love to go back to the changing rooms put the music on, and proceed with the leisurely routine of getting ready. Now I’m pretty low maintenance; a quick shower, light dusting of bronzer, hair up and I am good to go in under ten minutes. That is if I have remembered the essentials. You know like a towel or underwear. Yes, not once during this period, actual period,  I have forgotten these two essentials. Now let me ask you ladies. If say you had forgotten your towel and had completed a really sweaty workout; with Aunt Flo dealing her worst and a wet wipe not cutting the mustard,  which option would you choose? Option A. No shower. Not an option, Aunt Flo’s flow is to damning at the best of the times; add in Peri-menopause, flow turns to flood. Option B. Use one of the towels left behind  by those who either has shares in Matalan or has given up fighting the flab. Mmmm maybe but on seconds thoughts; no. Gross right. Option C. Run around the changing room until you’re dry. Mmmm Safer option; as I was alone, stupid and had an 8:00am. There I was running up and down using Lycra leggings to cover my tuppence, mouthing ‘nut bush city limits’ as the cleaner walked in. ‘Sorry’ I said face already red from too much exertion, hot shower and pretending to be Tina Turner, ‘I forgot my towel,’  ‘Oh.’ she said, ‘might have been better if you had gone into the next room and used the hand dryer.’ Following this cringe experience I vowed to ensure that I’d never forget my towel again. And I didn’t: I forgot my Bra. Now for those of you blessed with double A’s or a nice looking set of C’s this may seem no biggy. Mine however;  are colossal,  as Aunt Flo was sojourning they were bigger than ever, reminiscent of the  Mitchell brothers. I often tell them to ‘Git outa my pub.’ They never listen.  Lady luck was in attendance this day as I had chosen to bring in two tops, one that would have gotten me arrested  sans bra and another that was high-necked and would need the imagination of a pubescent sixteen year old to rustle up any lewd images. Great, this  would be fine bra-less, fine.  Fine that is if using your nipples as hip muffs have suddenly become en-trend. There was nothing else I could do; I would have to wear my sweaty sports bra. And I did and only I and Natalie knew about it. To be fair it was actually really comfy and kept the brothers nicely imprisoned all day.

The hot flush. A trip to London in its self is enough to bring on my panic attacks, self-doubt and anxiety. Couple this with travelling with the world’s most un-organised gay man and you have yourself a recipe for disaster. My pervious trip to London had seen me flying solo, however despite having the row of rows leading to nil communication from Ian; a call from my daughter in law saying my son was in hospital, and a mini panic attack as the train pulled into King’s Cross: did I have my ticket? Where was the hotel? Could I handle the tube? What if there was a terrorist attack?? I had coped. Which, let me tell you, is no mean feat when you have the imagination of Steven King mixed with Nostradamus.

The next trip down I had company as Clarus couldn’t be there to meet me, Steve would replace her. Good stuff: not only would this keep my over-active mind occupied during the journey, he himself being a well-travelled lad would assist in the navigation across London. Or so I assumed. Steve is one of my new team members and he has slotted right in as if he had never not been there. Within a few weeks of him joining the team, we all had affectionate if not slightly UN-PC nick names for each other, life tales were shared and unbreakable bonds made. Who better to accompany me on this trip; not only does he know his onions, (workwise) the comforting thought of having a companion to while away the hours on the train journey and help me weave my way through the streets of London would be a welcome change. Or so I thought. That was my first mistake. I assumed that as Steve was always telling us about his holiday travels, he was accustomed to navigating around cosmopolitan cities without the need of a copy of the lonely traveller or a map.  He would keep me calm; help me push any anxious thoughts out-of-the-way and be a supportive shoulder.

Things started well: after I found out which tube we needed, how to find the way to the hotel and steered us around Winter Wonderland without incident we headed back to the hotel for an early night. The next day we attended the meeting; I found our way there too. I mean,  I have been to London loads of times, often on my own and have blended in like a native with no issues at all.  Two days with Steve I had lost all ability to use the underground, felt the need to search for addresses on Google maps and experienced the biggest hot flush to date. Following the meeting we had no rush back to the station as we had an open ticket and the trains were hourly. Great, this meant we could have a stress free walk to Kings Cross avoiding the hot crammed tubes at rush hour. Result. We had missed our preferred train, however not to worry. I advised Steve that we had a booked seat; open ticket for the way back. Now everyone knows what a booked seat, open ticket means: right?  Ok I won’t assume, I will explain. As we had missed our booked seated place,  we could still get a train but we would need to find a seat, as it was an open ticket we could get on any train up until midnight. We waited for the next available train, watching the screens showing the seating availability as intensely as an episode of ‘YOU’ on Netflix.  We had stood all the way from Newcastle to London on the way down and no way were we doing that again. All but one carriage was full, and that one had limited seating. Not to worry, we had plenty time, we would be first through that gate. We headed to the train focussing on the carriage that had seating. Now those more fortunate and the celebs amongst us will know its first class at the top end and then you go down the alphabet towards the end of the carriages in alphabetical order, everyone knows that right? Not Steve. Oh no; every two seconds, ‘we need to get on! we need get on!’ ‘No we don’t Steve ours is the last carriage. Carriage D’. On and on he continued ‘We haven’t got a seat, we need to get on! we need to get on!’ again, ‘no Steve the only carriage with seats is the second  last one, remember?’ Approaching the carriage with the only availability I scanned the area faster than a shopper at the Next Boxing Day sale and found two seats, sitting together, free. RESULT. On we hopped, now at this point I was a little flushed as the experience with Steve had given me a flash back of my three-year old grandson in the back of car repeating ‘are we there yet, are we there yet?’  Not to worry, we were seated and I could start de-layering.  Suddenly Steve announced, ‘We’re on the wrong train, we’re on the wrong train!! ’ And I believed him, so convincing was his cry; I took in every word and took part in the drama like a theatre lovey in an am-dram of Othello. Off the train we dashed, grabbing coats, hats, gloves and suitcases pushing past the quizzical passengers observing us with a mixture of disbelief and hope; hope for our seats, we bounded onto the platform. There we were stood alongside the carriages and the engine noise, with the smell of oil,  steam blowing. Me, fat sweaty and nearly crying, Steve, flapping, running up and down waving his ticket in the air shouting ‘I’ll ask a conductor.’  A mixture of a scene from Downton Abbey  and Carry on up the Carriage.  After I had mopped up my  tears, sweat and nearly Steve’s blood. I took back charge. ‘Steve, its fine, these tickets are for any train remember?’ ‘Quick!’ he panicked, ‘let’s jump back on!’. NO! No way was I getting back on the same carriage: One – the seats had gone and two – the people in that carriage were already waiting with bated breath to see what calamity these two clowns would deliver up next. We would take our chances on another carriage. After steering us to the quiet Zone we found some seats and just as my temperature had dropped to 100 degrees, Steve piped up… ‘Mollie, can I just ask about this  train?’. ‘No, Steve. No you can’t;  you can talk again at York and not before!’ And that’s what I call Molliepause.

Don’t Look Back In Anger

 

 

 

Well hello………….. And welcome back to those of you that care. I have not blogged since July, why? Honestly, I don’t know. It’s not that I haven’t needed too; I have just been distracted with, well life. A happy life? Not all the time. What’s that, had I gotten far too skinny and remarkable and my social life suddenly took a turn for the better? Absolutely not! Honest answer I have been lazy. And I thought I was ok. I thought I had kicked lady M back to her ram-shackled old mansion forever. If you remember I had started to take supplements on a regular basis, I had done my research, put myself through rigorous testing and had come out the other side happier than a laboratory mouse with no extra ears unexpectedly protruding from its back. I WAS HAPPY. Was. Now don’t get me wrong I am not saying I am un-happy. No-no quite the opposite. New job going well, great new team. (I’ll introduce them to you later – you’ll love them) all good on the home front. No new family issues to stress over, relationship great, and sex life marginally better, and I am now a size 10!!! Oh hang on that’s a lie. I am exactly the same shape weight and size as I was when I last blogged. Diet going well you ask?  To be honest the diet did go well, you remember the Keto – low carb – I did get down to 11st 2 lbs. What happened? I’m not entirely sure. But the weight is back, just like the mood swings, outbursts of anger and bloating.

Liken me to a Buddha who has yet to be enlightened – in more ways than one. However I am sticking to my mantra that if I end the year the same size as I started then that’s a result. But it doesn’t feel like it – and here is why. Before I started Peri I was, as I have previously mentioned, 9st 7lb: never changed no matter what I ate or drank. I am now 12st 3llb. Over the past six years I have gained 3 stones; give or take; the odd cake.  Well here is my thinking now. I haven’t put any more weight on this year but I haven’t successfully lost any either. So here it is the next step. LIPO!!!! No seriously I have bought a journal. It’s a full page one and it is lilac. Think Bridget Jones. But here’s the thing instead of writing about finding love, I am going to write about losing one thing and finding another.  Anger and enlightenment.

A few changes have happened since July. As I increased, decreased and eventually found the combo of supplements that keep my Lady M at bay, I also decided to come off my anti- depressants. I was prescribed these about 2.5 years ago when I first discovered I actually gave a shit about what people thought of me. Now before you get all judgemental on me, I have always been mindful of other people’s thoughts, feelings and beliefs, I just didn’t see that mine and their beliefs were rapidly converging. This combined with Lady M knock, knock; knocking on my middle aged door was quite an ordeal. I became anxious and for the first time in my life, depressed. And it is awful. Wiped me off my feet for six weeks, I needed counselling, therapy and of course medication. I was so far at my wits end I would’ve taken anything off the doctor. And I did. Remember Dr Feel good?

But now I am ready to move on – I have ditched all things chemical and replaced it with natural remedies, exercise and healthy (ish) living. And I felt great. FELT. I didn’t just ditch this medication – so carefully prescribed to me after a 3 minute consultation with a medical professional – oh no, I did it gradually. First the HRT, then the anti-acid pills, then the IBS medication and finally the anti-depressants. That is what I have been doing, it’s where I have been – well that and Mallorca. A girl’s gotta have some fun. I have been ‘cold turkey’. ‘ Well turkey’ – the Peri won’t even let you come down in peace. There was nothing cold about this, the flashes put paid to that, however a slight adjustment to my supplements and I pretty much have them back under control.  But they were nothing compared to the other flashes I was about to capitulate to. The all-consuming anger flashes that thundered into my psyche faster than you can say ‘there’s a storm brewing’. They, it, me,  were, are,  foul. And not unlike Lady M herself totally nonsensical. Using various techniques and talking about this stint of irritation helped me to get it under control so I was able to continue working. Clarus was as ever most helpful,’ it’s about choices; don’t attend the meeting if you already feel a stint coming on, or if I felt the stint was turning into more of a stretch, work from home. And talk; honestly’. It worked. It works. I got through it. I was getting through it. At work, at work I was O.K . The hot turkey from coming off HRT hadn’t been so bad. In fact some close colleagues were actually commenting that I had never appeared happier, relaxed, and well, less well angry.

Home life however different matter, the anger and rage I felt as the months have progressed has been difficult to supress. How to describe these outrages? Like a Volcano erupting, Tsunami wave crashing? No this was; is a different type of anger. Gone in a moment leaving obliteration. Remember that cartoon charter the Tasmanian devil? I am like that only taller, with a hairier chin. It’s almost like the acid reflux that’s dematerialised from my tummy has reformed; only it’s in my very essence embedded within my DNA. And I struggle to stop it. I really try. And I know that sounds like a cop out but it is true. I just cannot control them. Don’t get me wrong I’m not spinning around 24/7 destroying everything and everyone in range and radius. It’s mostly just Ian. Bless him. The rage is at its evilest and most ruinous when Lady M’s mate Aunt Flo comes to town. But here’s the thing, one major side effect of the coming off the anodynes is Aunt Flo never leaves town. As I write this Aunt Flo’s just concluded a six week bender. Unlike Lady M she didn’t just squat, that bitch had a down payment; mortgage approved and I have no tenancy agreement. She is accomplished, proficient and more skilled than Lady M. Why wouldn’t she be, this bitch has rendered me incompetent to her wares since puberty, and around her I am ineffectual.  I won’t give up though I am going to fight this head on, pass me that suit of armour (oh and a spare one for Ian if you please). If going into combat with the disreputable duo is on the cards then hand me the pack. I’ll have my poker face ready faster than you can say ‘full flush’.  I have already researched what supplements can help, I’m back at the gym, eating healthy, going to give mindfulness and Yoga a go and have gave up alcohol for the foreseeable. I am back bitches and you can count on one thing I will be looking back at the anger.

Rise up.

 

I have continued to take my supplements, I am guessing I am about nine or ten weeks in now. I have not changed the frequency of which I take them or the amount, I have added a few additions but these are mostly due to the dreaded weight gain. I have over the past few years tried a variety of different diets. Atkins, L.A skinny, Cambridge, Calorie controlled, Carol Vordermon’s Detox and Slimming World to name a few. Some have given me quick results some have given me slower more achievable changes. None have given me my pre-perimenopausal body back. I catapulted into my forties with the optimism of a newly appointed flight attendant, anything you’d like Miss, more wine, pillow not too hard, food to your liking? I was loving it. I was as enthusiastic to turn forty as I had been turning twenty one, world my oyster, life’s for living, things to do, places to see, people to meet. And I was thin. Remember when Victoria Beckham was celebrated for writing that letter to her younger self, ( you know the one she wrote when she was still practically in her mother’s womb?)

Well if I could write one to my forty year old self as I propel towards my fiftieth birthday I know what I would I say. Stay forty. Why forty? Because that was when I changed, I was so confident, strong, self-assured, energetic, happy. And deluded. I was mis-informed, someone needs to let us ladies hurtling towards their fortieth in on the craic, this is when this shit gets real. I was under the impression that once you reach your fortieth birthday a zen like figure comes out from the clouds, touches your forehead and say’s something like, ” well done, you’ve got through the worst, no more broken hearts for you, worrying about how you look will be a thing of the past, you will ooze confidence and yes, yes,  you can eat bread then go to the nightclub.”   Then you will  be struck by the enlightenment fairy , who will grant  you those three wishes that you wrote on the back of a fag packet in at an all -nighter  in Blackpool ; right after necking on with a D.J who you’d hoped you’d marry one day and live in Ibiza.  Something like that.

It’s not at all like that, well not for me. The first two years were spent getting over the fact that I had partied through my thirties; you know when you’ve had a big session and only a two day hangover will see you through too until suicide Tuesday kicks in. Well like that, only this lasted two years. Then just as you acclimatise yourself to the ‘ New you’. You know; the usual stuff, a meal out is a party on your taste buds, dancing In the car is this year’s new festival, choosing curtains not cocktails. That type of thing. Then It hits you. Peri-menopause. You’re tired, grumpy, irrational and emotional. At first I thought it was my mind and body having the world’s biggest come down. It wasn’t.

I know I have previously shared my thoughts and feelings on how Lady M has affected my mind, relationship and sex drive. I haven’t shared the worst. As I hurtled towards my fortieth birthday I said the words to myself and my mirror that we all say on daily basis . God I am getting fat. I wasn’t. Fat? I was nine stone eight pounds. A little un-toned, but at five foot eight;  nine stone eight pounds, aged forty is/was pretty good going. How I wish that was the case now. I am now eleven stone & twelve pounds. Two stone heavier in eight years. But here’s the thing I don’t eat any more than I did then, if anything I eat more healthier, I never did any exercise then, unless you count raving and cleaning;  now I do a little, although not as much as I should,  and I drink less. What the hell is it? Why has my metabolism taken early retirement? Isn’t it enough that Lady M slowly stripped me of my self-confidence, assertiveness, sex drive and carefree attitude, s now she has taken away my ability to burn off fat……..

I don’t know about you but my Lady M is, in my mind a tall haughty women aged about 65, she’s as thin as a reed and doesn’t care what she says because what she has to say is, well  it is perfect at all times,  she’s very likeable (to others) and carries herself well. I hate her! or do i? I have decided that I am going to approach this next episode the same way I did with her in my battle with my mental health issues, this needs planning, precision and patience. Luckily for me, I am becoming a lot more patient as I grow older. I used to be a ‘do it now, and do it fast.’  I am a lot more pragmatic these days so I will not revert to type. Anyway judging from past experiences quick fixes don’t work…. I know that as I  recently tried a juice diet. Losing five pounds in a week then gaining ten back as I celebrated losing the five.  Seriously. Will I ever learn ? The answer to this, yes;  fingers crossed and mouth shut.

The only diet that gave me enduring results previously  was Slimming World. Its fab. It works. You do shift those pounds and eat well. If, and here is the thing, if you are not in a relentless battle with your hormones. Who by the way decided we had to have hormones??? They are accountable for your mind, body and; well body. And they can fight. Jesus they are to our form what Muhammed Ali was to the ring. They float around you like a butterfly and bloody well sting like a bee. Literally…I have blown up two stones from my bee sting. So fuck this. I am going into this fight like George Forman, I might not win but hey I’ll lose a few pounds during my tussle. Just like George Forman. Which co-incidentally is my lean, mean , healthy grilling machine.

I am going for the ‘ low carb’ approach. Now I hear you sigh and shout ‘what no potatoes!’  This is exactly what I said.  I love my carbs, bread is my lover,  potatoes my comfort blanket. Jesus I once took a baguette to a David Guetta gig. But the love affair is over.  (David, if you’re reading this, I wouldn’t say no to a bit of your baguette). However I need to rise up.  Without the yeast.  In my quest for thinness I researched all things for fat, menopausal women,  much like myself and the ‘low carb, high fat’ approach came up trumps. And to be fair I think the lack of carbs might control my trumps. If you pardon the pump. I am giving this a go. Well I have given it a go. Six weeks in and things are starting to work . I am 7llbs down. And counting,  I went out for Sunday lunch today and passed on the roast potatoes, said no to the mash, swerved all of  the sweet things.  So I am rising on  up …. or down if you believe the scales.

 

 

Time will pass you by.

Time is a funny thing isn’t. Here one minute, gone the next. Do any of you wonder what people really think of you? Do any of you wish you could be a ‘ fly on the wall’  I do constantly. But never more so than this last few weeks .  Why?  During the last few weeks I have never felt more vulnerable, exposed or raw. Like an open wound. I am not sure if this is circumstance, Lady M or medication, potentially a mixture of all three.  In my last blog, I described a day of mental meltdown. This time It was longer , and boy what a time it was.  I’ ll give you some context, if I was a godly person. These past few weeks would have felt  like a test. I am Noah, Mary and Eve all rolled into one.  As I am an atheist , it may have been some sort of evil witchery that  took over my soul. I am still not sure.  It has however been a time  of realisation, love and endurance.

My father in law died recently, we said farewell to him on a Monday after which I started to write this bog: after a pretty albeit short lived time that he spent in hospital, four weeks in total.  He is gone. And I am devastated. I won’t go into the details but a pretty routine operation for a really healthy, active, coherent man turned into misery. Rather than dwell on this and share the gory details of which my partners family would never thank me for, I will share this. As an adult I have experienced grief in many forms: aunties, uncles, grandparents , sister. Never has a death affected me like this. Honestly  I feel the loss.  He is missing and there is a gap no-one can fill. This is a new emotion to me as I have not yet experienced the feeling where someone being gone actually means that there is a missing part to the jigsaw. The pieces don’t quite fit anymore and we can’t complete the puzzle. We really need to ‘start again’. You might be asking yourself the question? I have. How can I have lost grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins and more tragically a sister and never felt this loss. Honest answer… There was a lack of family values in my  brood, there was no ‘having each other backs’, no team work, not much real ‘love’.  Not a whiff  of dynasty. We just existed. The emotions I have for my in-law’s however are a different ball game. There are values, respect, loyalty, un-conditional love. And David my father in law. Had all of these and I adored him for it.

Un-conditional love that is not between parent and child is nearly non exist in this era. There are always boundaries, conditions, a need to comply, be at our best. Not with David. He accepted you; warts and all. And on the rare occasion he didn’t accept you, thankfully this was not me. You knew. He simply told you. Perfect. Don’t you think? In the whole ten years I knew him I received one piece of feedback. I replied to a question from Ian my partner. I can’t remember what it was, but my opinion was needed and I said, ‘ I don’t give a shit’. No biggie. Nothing too outrageous. David looked at me and said ‘ don’t be vulgar dear’. I’ve never felt so ashamed or humble. He said those word caringly, his unspoken message more powerful than the five words spoken. ‘Mollie don’t ever  lower your standards’. I loved him more that day than ever before. Why? The way he said those words was not critical, nasty and with no bad  intention meant. Just LOVE. He cared for me so much he didn’t want me to lower my standards.  And his opinion of me never altered. Un-conditional love. Shown with the greatest of respect.  If it wasn’t  for the fact that he hardly ever spoke two words he would’ve been the greatest inspirational speaker.

How is this relevant to my current battle with Lady M? Here Is my analogy, I can often come across as too direct, as I have previously mentioned I need to self-reflect in order to grow. In my career and day-to-day life I have to give and receive feedback.  I Steer my team through change and advise them where they/we are going wrong.  Normally, I am  able to this without issue. Normally; without Lady M’s intervention. Not anymore. I dissect each conversation, analyse every little bit of body language and chew over the detail again and again. It’s like my brain has been replaced with a Ferris wheel or waltzer. ‘Scream if you don’t want to go faster’. The combination of grief and changes within my workplace have culminated in a mini break down. I was screaming, but my brain went faster and faster,  round and round until I was so dis-oriented and I couldn’t cope. Thankfully now the ride has ended. For now. We are trained in my workplace to deal with change, change is almost BAU and I embrace it, normally. Only grief isn’t normal, this time my professional life was impacted ever so slightly, personally but more so indirectly. I am a wear your heart on the sleeve type of girl, I am all or nothing. The recent restructure of my department has been a struggle. In these times I  am the equivalent of the worst teacher you’ve ever had, not  a do as say but do as I do type of person. In addition to this I have not slept much over the past few months;  aside from David being poorly my sister was diagnosed with liver cancer just before Christmas, this has resulted in my brain becoming a little, (who I am kidding), a lot, un-wired. The thought of losing a sister and a father in law was a little too much. I remained optimistic, carried on regardless in work  and constantly advised my partner , ‘it was all going to be alright’. It isn’t, it wasn’t and it won’t be the same, ever.

I have been with partner for nearly 10 years and had never  before  have I  had such an emotional attachment to an in-law, quite like this. I will refrain from using the usual  adverbs, ‘he was like a father to me‘ because he wasn’t.  He was David. Quiet, respectable, reserved, musical, kind, honest and beautiful. And I loved him. I could never have told him directly, ‘ I love you ‘. That was not his style. The un-spoken word was his power, a wry smile his gift. We all say our loved ones are taken too soon, he wasn’t taken too soon, he was taken without dignity and this is the reason it was so distressing. He deserved better.  I am quite a confident person externally, loud and can be /is a little brash, rough around the edges let’s say. David, however  accepted me from day one, we had a relationship where no words were needed.  Ian and his mum are quite alike , love to go into detail of a tale and have a good old waffle. David rarely spoke, and that suited me just fine.  As our relationship developed we had a smile, a nod, a chuckle, sometimes at Ian and his mum fussing ; whilst we walked behind them, me silent, David humming a tune, most likely a  tune  from the fifties  that I would never had heard of. Aside from Nathan my son and Ian I have never experienced a relationship where silence  is golden, the inferred silence stronger than the din . And that’s gone.  And I miss him.

What’s this got to do with menopause? Probably nothing but the events before and after his funeral had huge implications. Just when I thought Lady M had dealt me her best hand. No sooner had I uttered the words. ‘ It can’t get worse than this ‘. IT DID.  Panic. Attack.  Separating that analogy I feel is a must. Because I was in a state of panic, then Lady M attacked. And boy did she attack.  She gave it to me.  She took me down, piece by piece, like al-Qaeda  on September 11th. Every piece of me was destroyed. Not once but twice. I crumbled. My whole nervous system a mass of rubble and wires, emotions exposed.  I had panic attacks, at the most inopportune time, when I should have been the strong one.  And the guilt I felt for being so weak was; is superlative. These panic attacks  decided to emerge at the precise moment I should have been my most durable self. The love of my life was not only coping with the grief of losing his dad, his mum normally a proud, sturdy women was  reduced to shadow of her former self;  his dynasty ripped to pieces. I had a panic attack, no actually I had two. And my wonderful, caring, selfless partner helped me through.  The first of these was on the Friday, 4 days before the funeral. I woke, logged on and started my working day. Ironically I had chosen to work from home, I don’t particularly enjoy working from home, however the chance to keep a ‘ watchful eye’ on my  partner was not to be missed.  Me keep an eye on him.  What a joke. I woke up, logged on, responded to e-mails, nothing new  here. I took a break, made two soft boiled eggs for breakfast/lunch; within an hour I was ill. I had the worst feeling in my tummy, chest and I couldn’t settle, cue sickness. I vomited. Think exorcist, head rotating, green bile, blood. Now I am not a dramatic person, never have been. I am one of those annoying women who enjoyed giving  birth; with absolutely no pain relief. I am calm personified.  But I vomited blood. Lots of blood. I could taste it. Imagine a punch in the mouth off Lennox Lewis and you might grasp the sensation. I called the doctors, calmly told the receptionist  the detail, he advised the doc would call me back. She did, she was lovely. Dr Care Bear (love-a –lot-bear) called me back within the hour. “Mollie, you’ve had several visits regarding your  bowels, stomach, vomiting.  Come to the surgery right now. I will see you in an hour”. Okay doke. That’s fine. Nothing to fret about. Then she called me back, her tone still caring; a little like she… well cared. “Mollie I think its best if you go hospital, I’ve called through and spoken to a colleague, so you’ve no need to worry,  you won’t have to sit with the plebs in A&E. They will admit you  immediately”. I was gutted, genuinely  worried. How could I tell this man, the man I love;  who had  just visited a hospital for the last six weeks every day, with the outcome being so incredibly cruel that I needed  to go back to one. The love of my life just lost his father, ever so cruelly to cancer and neglect; not but  one week ago and I needed to go back to a place he was struggling to trust.  Off  we went, Ian came with me. Upon registration, I fainted, dropped to the floor, couldn’t see, couldn’t walk, thought my heart was going to pop. After a time on a ward involving being  ECG’D, bloods tested, bum inspected, tubes  inserted. I was allowed home. That wonderful man sat with me , held me, loved me, told me all would be ok, and explained to the doctor that I had just lost my father-in-law ( HIS DAD) and it had been a stressful time. I’ll love him forever for that. Now I know and  understand how he pulled burning bodies from buildings and still manages to sleep.

Again you’re all probably thinking what’s this got to do menopause? My partner just read this and said pretty much the same thing. “Love you need to link this back to menopause, keep it current.” I will, I am, stay with me. I have experienced sudden death before. My sister died five years ago. Liver failure due to alcoholism. I was estranged from her from for many years. As a family we all were.  Upon the tragic un-timely departure of her, I was there.  All of the family were, of course why wouldn’t we be? You don’t stop loving someone just because they are an addict. However, you de-sensitise yourself from them. You banish their right to hurt you anymore. Resilience  is key. Until they die. Selfish as they are. When my sister died,  I hadn’t seen or heard from her for years, but when you get that call. You just go. And I did. And even though I am youngest of five, it was left to me, and my darling partner to be there when she took her last breath;  left to us to register the death. The registrar telling us, albeit sympathetically, but ever so formally, “the death certificate will have to say cirrhosis of the liver due to alcohol poisoning”. Did I cry? No. I just got on with it. Did I cry when I had to go the funeral parlour, sort out what clothes she would wear and what make up she might want. No. I had to do  this. Carol left behind , four kids, one grandchild and an ex-husband none of whom were available to do this. It was me given this task. Why? I don’t know. Mum wasn’t able, brother lives away and her children too young.  So I did. The comparative difference to the care and consideration that was put into dear David’s funeral really hits home to me now,  the disparity  yet similarity of these two events heart-breaking.  Only I didn’t realise it at the time.  Has the menopause made me less resilient, more emotional , more caring? Is this the reason I wept, had panic attacks, couldn’t sleep during David’s demise. Or is it that the menopause has made me appreciate life more, value others , love more,  despite the fact they might make mistakes, and say or display that they ‘couldn’t give a shit’. Or maybe I have now learnt to be a little like David and although whilst caring  I approach it with eloquence and class. I hope so. I didn’t cry much during the awful time of my sister’s  illness: if at all. I cried bucket loads during David’s loss. I will never know for certain if this is due to the fact I am more hormonal, weak and prone to breakdowns due to my menopause. But one things for certain it isn’t because I care any less. That is just life. Time will pass you by.

 

Move on up.

When things are going better, the temptation to not write about my experiences with Lady M intensifies. To do that would be wrong, as I started this blog for a number of reasons. To share reflection’s, as a therapy tool, and to share the good, bad and indifferent. As I have said previously, this wasn’t all to do with sharing the knowledge, however if I can help one women banish her Lady M back to her own ramshackle mansion, then that’s good enough for me.

I was not sure if this blog was giving anyone else out there who follows my Facebook page or WordPress any help. However, over the past two weeks certain events have taken place, which I am rather pleased about. Firstly, I started to post on my page the alternative remedies I have started to explore, approximately six weeks ago. Since this I have had people ask me, are they working? Do you feel better? One of my friends has started taking one of my recommendations and another has adopted the exact same approach. I embrace this. It’s one of my principles. And ladies, I am not selling anything. Although I may buy shares in Amazon. And who knows,  if I get rich off those shares, I might treat Lady M to a new roof! If only to provide a sturdy enough platform for me to throw her off. See ya later biaatch!!!  Let’s not get ahead of ourselves I haven’t chopped down all those thick bushes yet. Lady M’s bush remains as rough and prickly as mine after a two week all-inclusive with no waxing, her lady garden is as sturdy as ever, I’ve only cleared the border, those vines are as difficult to trim  as ever. However  I have sharpened my shears and I am not afraid to use them. Where has this turnabout came from?  Where has the panic-stricken, crying miserable wreck of last few  month’s  gone? Simple answer. SUPPLEMENTS.

During the time I was having the panic attacks and driving up and down the A1 in my Cruella-meets Alice-Cooper like get up, I had an epiphany. I couldn’t go on like this. Two weeks semi normal; two weeks a wreck. Changes needed to be made, drastic ones. I began to do my research. This research was carried out in two ways. One utilising the Facebook pages I had started to follow since Lady M starting squatting in my attic. And two, the Internet,  pages upon pages of research. This is not my style. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading and all things literate, but reading papers created by others, no; it’s not me. I am a self-confessed know-it-all. I am one of those annoying people who always knows what’s best for me. It’s my body, right, how can anyone else possibly know what’s good for it? I was wrong. I was taking the wrong approach, my own approach; coupled with the odd bit of insight off Dr Feel Good and Dr Down Under. I was happy with our little ménage-a-trois. But here’s the thing, after some refection, conversations with Ian, and a deep-dive into what positive changes three years plus of  HRT and Anti-depressants had made to our life, we arrived at our destination. And nothing had changed. Liken it to going to the same place on  holiday every year;  nothing gets any better, the landscape remains the same, perhaps  become  a little more ruined, but the ambience and the food stays  the same. Would you go back?  I’m guessing not. And neither am I. I am moving on up.

Researching is funny, you read papers, log onto forums and converse with people you’ve never met. I have done all three, and what a hoot. I’ve been told to FUCK OFF, I’ve had my Facebook page and blog tagged with the strapline attached ‘ this if that mother***** who challenged me.’  And I have  also been shown some love and guidance. All of  this was just what took place on the Facebook page.  Let me give you some insight into what a Facebook page is like with 15k peri-menopausal/ menopausal woman. One word. Hilarious. Tip – don’t go on and dis-agree unless you’re prepared to be slayed. All of the sites I follow are set up in America. There are many ladies akin to myself that will share their knowledge, but not many from the UK, mostly American’s  and jeez they are tough sons-of-bitches.  Well some of them.

 

I will share some of my experiences. Week one of my research. I was trailing through comments on the Menopausal-misery-bitches page I had been accepted too. (HINT – clues in the name.) I stumbled upon a post where a women had put this long winded post about her, wait for it……….. Vet Bill. To cut a very long story short, her dogs were sick, it had cost a fortune, she was skint and it was all her f***witted husbands fault for letting them in the garden not long after he had killed some rats. She wanted to kill him. As I was reading it; one word popped into my head. CROWDFUNDING. I very innocently commented ( you know me by now, so I’ll let you decide my motives ) ‘What did this have to do with the menopause?’ Seriously I wish I could’ve screenshotted her initial response;  this was followed by my face being copied into the comments, my blog being talked about and lots of words used to describe me that, well, I couldn’t possibly repeat. Now I love a good goading , I have been known to goad Celebes on the awld Twitter, but this was another level. She then went on my Instagram, twitter and copied a picture of me with BIAAAATCH wrote over my face. Thank god she had spent all of her money of her dogs;  no way would she be able to afford a flight to the UK.  Crazy. Anyway I reported her to admin and blocked her just as soon as I had the time to put a picture of Lassie under her post.  With my own strapline ‘Don’t die Lassie!!!!!’  Sorry had to be done. Just to be clear no real animals were harmed during this interlude. You have no idea how hilariously funny it is watching 15 thousand hormonal women going at each other on a website. Hours of entertainment. One wrong comment can send them over the edge.

Most of the insight though is very useful. And due to the fact it is mostly our American cousins they are, if not crazier, a lot more advanced, open and willing to try new things to combat their Lady M’s. Some of the suggestions so far;  Horny goat weed, CBD oil, Ashwagandha, estragon gel, estragon cream, Black Kohosh, and  some sort of fanny suppositories. I have my own assumptions as to why the American ladies were more willing to try the alternative remedies. More adventurous that us Brits, better read, better educated, ahead of their time. The most honest answer I can give. Health Insurance. HRT prescriptions in America can cost on average up to $88 a month. God bless America. And thank you Britain. Regardless of this my love affair with HRT has come to an end, three years in, 2 stone heavier, tears flowing like a well pumped oil mine, sex a distant memory. I have had enough. I am moving on up, to a new destination and it is thanks to those lovey, and not so lovely American women!!!!

Securitising those alternative remedies, I decided that CBD wasn’t for me, I tried cannabis in my youth, didn’t like it then, why would I now, Horny goat…. No thanks I want to be horny but not if it involves a four legged animal who’ll munch on your undies the same time. I’ve gone for the safer option. It is  the use of supplements;  and during the last six week  I have never looked back,  (unless you count the last few weeks in our bedroom when the missionary was no longer required.)  Thank you vitamins. I won’t go into the minute details of the bedroom antics, why? Not many of  them  actually involved the bedroom. But I can say this; I’m horny, horny, horny, horny. This isn’t the only feel good affect I have experienced again.  Sleepless nights;  a thing of the past, I am no longer paranoid, irrational, irritated, emotional. Six weeks in and I feel great. Brain fog still there at times, but that’s another story ( hey Jules ). What’s changed. No HRT, reduced Anti-depressants. SUPPLEMENTS. I am now taking supplements every day. Magnesium Citrate, Cod Liver  Oil, Vitamin D and Vitamin B to name a few. The impact. Since lady M first took up residence in my attic I have never felt better, I am sleeping better, no hot flashes , love my partner again, love sex again, no crying, no paranoia. I am moving on up, to my new destination. And I am feeling good.

Take a look at me now.

I have Musical Tourette’s. I am not sure if this is a real condition, however Its doubtful. I finished this sentence and just out of curiosity I googled Musical Tourette’s. Guess what? just like Bob Tash, it actually is a thing. Or in in the words of James Brown, A Thaaaaaang. Below is the description as quoted by the Urban Dictionary:

An artificial form of Tourette syndrome in which the singing or speaking of a line from a song by one individual produces the spontaneous and not entirely voluntary singing or speaking of further lines of said song by another individual. This phenomenon is most often seen among people in good moods. Who knew? I just googled the meaning of Urban in the Urban dictionary :City-like. From the Latin wordurbs“, which means “city“.

So I guess without knowing it I am U.R.B.A.N. And you lot reading this are a step closer to becoming Urban too; you’re welcome. You may be wondering what the hell this has to do with the Menopause? Each title of my blog has so far been the title of a song. A song that has popped into my head just as I sharpen my quill, dip it in ink and put it to paper, or alternatively a song that I have woken up to that day. My Singing Tourette’s however only happens on random days at random times. It drives some of my work colleagues nutty and provides entertainment for those who appreciate a little madness. Only now, I don’t feel so mad. Which is great considering the title of today’s blog was going to be ‘Crazy’. The track I woke up with this morning, was Phil Collins. Oh, sorry I didn’t really explain, in addition to my daily musical interludes I also wake up most days with a random track in my head, don’t know where they come from and they can be anything from Beyoncé to the Bay City Rollers. It’s only ever one line, continuously on a loop. A well-planned exorcism is required to banish it back to camp Hippo. The thing is some of these tracks I don’t recall ever having heard before, but I must have right, otherwise where do they come from,  the Hippodrome? Hilarious. The relevance of this rambling is this;  the happier the song the better the mood that day, well that is my theory. I’m seriously going to start writing these tracks down for proof of concept. I don’t remember yesterday’s track, I just remember waking up with a particular line, as usual on a loop in my head and thinking. ‘what the f*** ‘?  Guess what? The rest of that day’s events followed in pretty much the same theme.

Event number one; I stayed over at the in-laws the night before, just me on my own with Ian’s mother. Now I don’t know about you lot but Lady M has delightfully delivered another disorder to deal with. IBS. I won’t go into the detail of IBS, however you can go from constipation to self-combustion within minutes and seconds. When this happens it is not pretty. Anyhoo, there we were alone in the house. First time ever in ten years we haven’t had Ian as an interluder, ( I don’t think Interluder is an actual word) but given my previous success with the Urban Countdown Conundrum, its staying put. In the morning I had not long been up and was nervously waiting for Ian to arrive back, feeling as anxious as a first time father in a maternity ward. I needed to go! I had done my best at delaying the inevitable, gone to bed early, slept in late, avoided breakfast and any hot drinks. But I couldn’t avoid it any longer. I needed to poo. Before you judge or ask the inevitable, why was I so bothered. Well let me give you an idea of where I was staying.  Think Hyacinth Bucket mixed with Lucy Liu and you’re getting close. Ian mum is fab;  I adore her, she is just different. Her standards are so high and she has her own very unique way of doing everything, different variations of tasks you and I would just do. It is a military operation just folding the bed sheets. And she had just been in the bathroom; cleaning it. The knowledge of this along with their only being two of us in a very quiet house was too much for my already twisted bowels to cope with. I  HAD TO GO.  So I did.  And as expected; without giving the gory details that none of us really need to visualize. The eagle didn’t land, it nose-dived into the water, head first then belly-flopped causing massive waves. There was no reverse thrust, trust me. I spent a good ten minutes in the bathroom afterwards; cleaning. Once satisfied that all traces were gone I returned down stairs content that I had eradicated all of the remnants of my colonic calamity.  Suddenly I was subjected to a shrill sounding Barbara. Genuinely concerned, I bolted up the stairs panicking,  preparing myself to see a fallen figure, slumped on the floor. What I was greeted with was a face so stern it sent me hurtling back to the headmaster’s office thirty years past, twenty lashes impending. I had missed a bit. And I was to clean it up now. If you’re trying to picture my mortification, think Carrie when she gets her period. Not even close. Mortified.  Then Ian turns up, takes me into the front room for a telling off. I had left the hob on at home, returning into the kitchen the words, ‘are you in trouble Mollie, well, we can’t all be perfect all the of the time’ said Barbara In her best sing-songie-sucks-to-be-you voice. I was out of there faster than the road runner after necking a bag of amphetamines.

Event number two: Easter Sunday; popped in to see my grandkids on the way home. Just the tonic I needed, always cheers me up and a chance to drop off Easter gifts and laugh about this with my son. The daring delights of a two year old (well nearly two) and a good old laugh at yourself was just the therapy required  to erase all memories of  ‘poo-gate’. Baby girl was asleep, my son was cooking tea, grandson on the Xbox. Nothing unusual here. Until my son told me off for being noisy as I’d wake up the baby. The floodgates opened I couldn’t hold back the tears. I had to leave. And that’s what I did. I ran out, snots streaming, sniffling noises with tears streaming down each cheek. Don’t ask me why, I have no clue. I got in my car and I drove home. Picture Cruella screeching round corners, tantrum-like-tears replacing anger-filled-fist-shaking. Can you see it? Awful image isn’t it. Don’t ask me why, I have no clue. I am a Sherlock missing a Watson, Cagney minus Lacey. A Starsky short of a Hutch.  No idea.

Event number three: Oh yes, not content was I with two equally embarrassing, gut wrenching insane episodes. I went for the hat-trick. I am the menopausal equivalent of Eric Cantona, Soon my family will be singing ‘ Oh AH Mollie’s barred ’. After returning home from #2, the second episode, not the actual #2, I was a little restless and lonely so I called my sister to see if she was home. She would be back in couple of hours, why didn’t I pop over then for some much needed sisterly love. Great I thought, I’ll pop over I can give her all the gory details, she could tell me I was a knob, then we could put the world to rights over a glass of wine. What could go wrong? I drove over P.J’s and bottle in bag. When I arrived her house was full, nothing out of the norm as she has two sons and between them seven grandkids and a scattering of step-grandkids. Her eldest had been out celebrating his partner’s birthday and they were well-oiled. Now I am not a snob, nor do I look down on anyone, however I don’t swear a lot and never in front of children. My sister’s family do, most of the time I close off to it. Lots of people swear in everyday life now. That’s is how it is. And I can normally, remembering normally is vital here, shut myself off to it, unless it is the C word. I hate it with a passion and truly believing there is never a need for it. Ever. My nephew and his partner have a different view.  And yesterday I chose this time to advise that using that word in front of their kids was not nice. They both took it in good humor and ignored me anyway. Which is/was fine. What followed was someone’s view of the name ‘Grandma’. “Wouldn’t call my mum Grandma, Grandma is for old C***’s and people who think they are posh.”  Now old me (not age old – previous me) would have bantered back, “Old am I, posh am I“? LOL, bants, that type of thing. New me. The person I have become. The person I’m taking a look at now. She didn’t, she left. Or should I say Cruella left, tyres screeching, tears streaming. Please don’t think bad of these people they’re not bad people, but the person I was yesterday thought they were. Thought they were all against me. Deliberately doing it to tip me over the edge. How they could be I will never know, none of them even knows what I am going through. Most of it’s in my head. I have a real funny image of passing the same family on the A1 as I journeyed up and down in floods of tears, eyes like Alice Cooper; hair like Cher on a bad day, brain as foggy as Ozzy Osbourne. Them looking on bewildered as this creature, tears, snots and mascara everywhere, chugged up and the down the motorway relentlessly. The mother saying “darling hasn’t that lady passed us twice today?” What did I do? I came home put on Bridget Jones and ate a tub of ice cream. Don’t judge, It was the one full of protein and only 8 points on Slimming World. Sobbing and scooping thinking everyone involved in my day’s debacles were all against me. Deliberately doing it to tip me over the edge. How they could be I will never know. None of them even knows what I am going through. Most of it’s in my head

I will give you a little insight into how my head is working right now. It’s a bit like Korea, North vs South, Democracy Vs Dictatorship. I am South Korea, I love a bit of democracy and usually I make all decisions using a sound body and mind. Weighing up all pros and cons until the votes are counted. Lady M however she rules by dictatorship and when she gets her chance to rule, us democrats have no chance. Lady M instills images of Imelda Marcos. Whereas I feel I am akin to Emily Davison. Who knows maybe Emily was in the throes of a personal summer when she sacrificed her life, jumping in front of the King’s horse at the Derby? Obviously I am nothing like a suffragette, although I do like to think that I would have been one if I had been born of that time. And I can only hope that if my little blog here helps one woman understand a little better what she is going through then that is a good enough donation for my part in any women’s cause.

What’s all this got to do with Musical Tourette’s? Well here’s my theory. I have concluded that if I am singing out loud at work, that’s a good thing right? According to my mate ‘Urban’ that means I am in a good mood. Surely this should be encouraged, not ridiculed or suppressed. And if I wake up with song in my head and think ‘what a shit song’ then I am going to have a shit day. Like yesterday, in more ways than one. Absolute shit-fest.   Reflecting  on yesterday’s events. I woke up with a shitty song in my head. Poo-gate, Baby-gate,  and then Grandma-gate followed through. Then today I woke up with Phil in my head. I feel like I am ‘ taking a look at me now’, and most of the time there is, ‘just an empty space’. And like the song, ‘You’re the only one who really knows me at all’,  this is me singing to me by the way, not you, I mean I can sing for you if you want, if I work near you there is a chance I have. However most of yesterday’s events will have been modified at the time by Lady M, manipulating my thoughts as she does. On a normal day none of this would have even scratched my physic surface, they would have been brushed off faster than a wasp off a window.  I can only hope that once Lady M fucks off back to her ramshackle mansion I imagine her living in,  I can do a Curtis Mayfield. And ‘ Move on up’ .

Baby it’s cold outside.

I am writing this a little earlier than normal as I was just having a bath and a wave of thoughts came into my head, I jumped out the bath bolted for the laptop. Then Ian ( my partner ) put the telly on and all my thoughts crashed to the ground like a badly stacked Jenga. They have all gone! I could  literally kill him; for two reasons.  One: weather conditions in the north of England mean we have had to work from home for the last two days, two:  he is breathing. I am so angry! I have joined three groups on Facebook this week,  for many reasons. To shamefully promote this blog, and I really need to talk to more ladies going through this, I need support, I have a yearning for sisterhood liked never before. I do have a small network of females similar to me. I say small, think black hole. However I have recently been blessed with a new addition to my lady garden. No, not my tootie, my lady garden as in my small patch of roses in a garden of weeds. I will refer to this person as  Clarus. Which makes a lot of sense right now to me.  Anyway Clarus has been a bit of a saviour recently, I was struggling , and as usual full of self-doubt and let’s just say thanks to this person, things are becoming a lot clearer. Back to the research what I have realised whilst talking to these likeminded women is dydrogestrone  is the devil, its evil , it should be re-named. Dydrorestinpeacetrone.  It makes me , and thanks to the power of Social Media,  I have since confirmed many others. VILE.

In my quest to become a better person and also because I do think reflection and feedback are key contributors to being a great leader. I have shared my new medication regime and the symptoms with my team and consequesnty asked for feedback; give it to me, I can take it.  I like feedback like I like my men …straight up. I review this act a little like an episode of family fortunes. I ask for a survey.  We questioned one hundred members of the general public and they all answered. A. You’re a twat. That type of thing. I pre warned my colleagues at work that a new type of HRT was on the horizon and that I would be ever so pleased if they could inform me if they noticed any immediate changes to behaviour. You know the usual,  crying at the desk, shouting at the huddle board, storming out of meetings.  So far I have received the following feedback. Your very reasonable;  fluffy,  approachable, calm . That was so last Tuesday. I am on a variation of HRT that is similar to combi pill – e.g. 10 days of estradiol ,clouds are fluffy, kittens are cute,  world deems brighter, I love all mankind. 10 days of dydrogestrone . Kill the cat, scream at the sky, we’re all doomed and I want to kill everyone, whilst crying at nothing.  Seriously I am Fucking  MAD!  Fuck off!

I can’t help it , well that’s not exactly true, I know I am going to say or do something horrible, I have the ability to stop it. 90% of the time. This can vary on who I am dealing with. I have a team of people that work for me. They are a good bunch and want to their best. Most of the time I respect and love them all,  most of the time.  Example:  I have a people pleaser in my team, this person will do anything for anyone, it’s all meant form a good place and I adore them for it.  Until  I am in this mood, then I think they are weak not willing; ridiculous not reliable, and manipulate not motivated. And once I have digested these emotions. What do I do next? Cry. I Cry.

I started to write the above three weeks ago. My intention was to finish it later that weekend. Then life got in the way. I was going to delete the above text  however it was a true reflection of how I was feeling at the time. All seems pointless now. How do I feel today?  Three weeks later. Sad, but I cannot share with you all why, as it’s too private and nothing to do with the menopause.

So back to the dreaded ‘ change of life’ . It is I am discovering, as I research this more, just that. A change of life. I have continued my research over the past few weeks as my symptoms don’t get any better. I have been taking Femoston the duel HRT for 33 days now and although I don’t feel as tired as I was on the previous meds there are some equally wearisome side effects. These side effects are not life threating, I don’t feel ill. Just spent. Like a teenagers pocket money on a Friday, it’s all gone and there is very little to show for it. I just googled the meaning for menopause and it gave me this,

‘ menopause means the end’. Sums it up really.

Before you all shout ‘ Stop feeling sorry for yourself ‘ and ‘ Don’t do it’ at the screen. I don’t mean the end, as is I am about to do a Kurt Cobain. I guess I am just exploring catharsis. I know I have expressed this before. I use this blog as a release. This is my catharsis. In the quest to find the answer. Help can be given is out there;  aside from the prescribed drugs from Dr Feel Good and Dr Down Under. I googled, researched , purchased books and joined support groups on Facebook. I call them support groups with trepidation, and presentiment. Why?  Well I admit I have never been fan of support groups, counselling , getting help. I have always been quite old school. It’s the way I was raised. Well I say it was the way I was raised. I should  rephrase that. It was the way my dad raised me. Don’t get me wrong he never professed any dislike to getting help. As a family growing up we certainly needed all the help we could get. You see my mum has for as long as I can remember needed help mentally. She has/is a person who suffers from depression. As a young women, headstrong , independent , a bit of a know-it-all, I never understood. I do now.

I go through waves of depression, self-doubt, anxiety, frequently.  Jesus a trip to get my  hair done often starts with a ‘ you can do this ‘ speech to myself in the mirror these days. So now at the grand old age of 46 . I get it. What I don’t get,  Is when, why , how,  this awful feeling skulked in. How is it  you go from a self-assured female, still empathetic, yet confident, to a complete wreck. This,  is how I feel most days; a wreck. I say most day’s I am probably fifty/fifty. Half time normal , whatever that means. The rest of the time. No rationale at all. It’s vanished. If I were a magician,  people would pay good money to watch my self-confidence diminish by the second. Like an old fashioned circus act. Her is the new emotional act, Miss Mollie De-Camp , watch how she goes from self-assured feminist to a shivering wreak of weakling  in just  six seconds. How different are we from Maude Wagner, Tattooed lady , Annie Jones, the bearded lady, and the Hilton sister’s;  the famous conjoined twins. No, not Paris.  This is the exact  type of car crash telly we all consume on a weekly basis, very rarely realising that ‘ we are not the first’ . I am certain that many women lived, breathed and worked through the menopause with barley a whisper of recognition in the past. Is it just its more talked about now. Or is it because we love a ‘ title’ as we hurtle towards the 21st century. There has always been people, ‘ outside the norm’ . Surely I’m not the first lady be worried about a beard, won’t be the last. It’s just titled better now. Jesus, watching a good episode of ‘ call the midwife’  will give you the best insight into progression. Not just about mental health, but society, self-awareness and embracing change.

So as we all reflect on the change, evolution, changing how we perceive each other. I will leave with you with this thought. As quickly as the weather changed outside in the last three weeks, so has my life. I bet so has some of your’ s and during that time some people have gained new titles. There will be a new fattest women, a new set of twins, a women’s beard being plucked as we all speak.

 

Does it really matter, none of it was new.

 

Eternal Flame

bobtash

 

It took five months for the last helping of HRT to impact my menstrual cycle and the symptoms that are combined with it, three months to entrench themselves into my psyche and well-being. It has taken fourteen days to change it back. How do I feel ? Remember the 1990 World Cup: Tears in Turin, Gazza got booked , all hopes were dashed as we lost to the Germans. Like that. I feel like my body has given me a red card. I’ve been sent off the pitch. And I am not happy…Why? Although the incessant tiredness was a right royal pain in the arse, I am not overjoyed to regain the resemblance to a sumo wrestler on steroids. Its reminiscent of a barrel; has all of the attributes of a beer drinker’s belly. This is ever so sweetly coupled with the return of my period. For those that are squeamish look away now; skip the next sentence, there is no easy way to say this. I have gone from no flow to free flow. You know the song ‘ he aint heavy , he’s my brother ’? Well this is like ‘she is heavy and she’s in bother’ .  If only my skin was as thick as my uterus wall.  Note: there are some interesting reads if you type ‘ I hate my uterus’ into Google. Interesting , and disturbing simultaneously. You may be picking up on what mood I am in – sorry. I did think “I won’t write today”. Too tired, too emotional, too angry; I feel like I’ve been through a mangle. But then isn’t that the point? Isn’t that why I started this blog, to share this process ; warts and all? Just to be absolutely clear; I have no actual warts, ok? Moving on.

 

Another addition in conjunction with the other hindrances to add to my ailments is ‘the hot flush’. This however, is one of the many symptoms of peri-menopause that I feel is not as cataclysmic as the rest. No, I am not mad ; bear with me. I believe myself to be quite an optimistic person, there are moments where I am positively buoyant. This includes wanting to see the best in people. If people make mistakes at work which affect me I would rather be the founder of the lessons learnt than be delighted in their demise. So with this in mind: Ta-da! I give you reasons not to be melancholy about the flushness of hot, the ever ‘Eternal Flame.’

 

1. Save a fortune on heating bills 2. No need to purchase a winter coat 3. No need for blusher 4. Tights are a thing of the past (even when the temperature drops to -10). The only thing that there is no escape from; and this is not for those in the A team, this is for you sweater stretchers out there, do you suffer from Boob Tash? I do, terribly. I used to call mine ‘Bob Tash’ but I found out the actual Urban Dictionary meaning of this today. It suddenly made sense why Ian looked appalled when I told him I had Bob Tash. I genuinely thought that’s what it meant. I assumed that Bob was short for boob and Tash akin to sweat on your upper lip. I’m glad that I found out the real meaning before popping to Boots and asking for some ‘Bob Tash absorbing pads….’
Yes you can get sweat absorbing breast pads, who knew? I just went on YouTube to see if there was some comical advert for these, alas, not.  I might invent some though in the shape of a tash, a variety of colours and sizes that you stick under your boob for any sweaty occasion.

 

I witnessed another woman having a hot flush recently, Dr Feel Good. She is around the same age as me, she means well and tries her best during our sporadic rendezvous. I say sporadic as I usually wait for Dr Down Under, however on the few occasions when I have needed an imperative evaluation or a hit of HRT then Dr Feel Good is next best dealer. The only issue I have is, where I deem Dr Down Under to be a small time dealer, Dr Feel Good is more of a pusher; and a pushover. She dishes out anti-depressants faster than you can say “heads fucked,” her pen poised for the composing of a fit note the minute you say “I’m not feeling well.” A cracked toe nail can get you a good two week’s grace. And though this may work effortlessly for some, I don’t want more pills; not going to work is not an option. And I need someone to challenge me, not to nurture me.
In I went to notify her of my current situation. Imagine the scene. Liken it to the worst speed date you can imagine or may have been on and you’re still not close.

 

“Hi Mollie, how can I help?”

 

“ Dr, I don’t feel well. “

 

“How?”

 

“Feel tired all the time, sometimes feelings of dread, don’t want to leave the house, sleeping too much etc. etc.”

 

“You’re depressed.”

 

“I don’t think so, this only happens when I’m due to ovulate.”

 

“I can increase your anti-depressants.”

 

“I’m not depressed… I don’t feel depressed… I know what depression feels like this isn’t it.. I’m tired irrational… hurt… confused…suicidal… fat, un-healthy… can’t sleep… I don’t feel depressed…I feel unhappy all the time… Bloody pills give me IBS.. I’m sure that they affect my organs.. Is my thyroid playing up?… Can you do a blood test?”

 

“I know how you feel.”

 

“Do you…? Are you going through the menopause.. ? Are you depressed..? Do you feel like crying…? You’re not fat.. Are you taking HRT..? Depression pills.. ? What do you do….? Can you help.. ? What can I do..? Do you have night sweats…. ? You’re dead skinny… You haven’t put weight on…. Have you lost your sex drive…? How do you cope with your hubby…..?”

 

On and on. Questions spilling out my mouth like an FBI agent interrogating a murder suspect.

 

As I stopped for air, Dr Feel Good looked up whilst fanning herself with the ‘Talking Therapies’ leaflet that she’d picked up.

 

“Oooh Mollie, you’ve given me a hot flush!”
As I made my apologies (in between laughs) I asked her again, “Seriously though what can I do?”

 

“You’d be best seeing Dr Down Under, this is her area of expertise. And here’s a prescription to increase your anti-depressants,” as she also handed me the leaflet she’d used to diminish her hot flush.

 

“Doctor, one more thing I need to ask” (Ian’s words ringing in my head) “my partner wants to know is there anything more we can do about the lack of libido?”

 

“Tell him to join my husband at the back of the queue!”

 

I haven’t picked up the courage to ring the ‘Talking Therapies’ number nor have I had the full results of blodd test or completed the five-page questionnaire on whether I feel down or worry a lot, yet…

 

P.S – that is not my nipple and mine are not hairy, yet…