When I look back, I realise that I was experiencing peri-menopause symptoms for quite some time.  The cold extremities, the itchy skin and flaky ears (!) but it was probably the insomnia, or more accurately the waking up after 4/5 hours and being unable to get back to sleep was the thing that made me realise, things were changing.   My periods were getting further apart and around April time, they stopped.  I didn’t have a period for 5 months, and I thought, Oh this is it now, on my way to being officially in ‘Menopause’ which is 12 consecutive months without a period.  Then in September they returned and again in October, with all the pain and tiredness, like they had never been away!   I’m not really sure what to expect now or whether to add Tampax to the shopping basket..!

Menopause is a journey, it’s a change in how we feel, how our body looks, moves and reacts to things. It can affect memory and emotions too.   It’s a huge shift in our lives, yet still we try and brush it under the carpet, maybe embarrassed or not wanting to admit we are getting older.  I don’t feel like that. I think we are privileged to be aging, many women haven’t got that far in their lives.  My mother never did, so every year that passes over the age of 46, I think, ‘Wow another year’ and I try and be grateful for each day and week that goes by.  Doesn’t mean I don’t want to scream every now and then, but on the whole I’m trying to live and understand my Menopause journey. 

I suppose the one thing I do wish is that more women would talk to each other.  I’ve got lots and lots of female friends, but unless I specifically ask them the conversation rarely ever turns to the M word.  Even if they are sweating and stripping their clothes off or in some cases, suddenly rather tearful a lot.  Or finding it impossible to sleep.   I’d welcome the chat and the advice.  It’s not a weakness to ask for help, it’s a strength.  I’ve seen so many women struggle when they reach a certain age (*not all but many) and never ask for help. 

October's Menopause Awareness Month was a perfect reminder to encourage conversations with a close friend who might be struggling.  Share your symptoms, maybe opening up might be just what they need to start getting help.  You never know they may teach you something too.   Me? I’m constantly searching for answers to the hot flushes or to cure why I’m waking up at 5am unable to get back to sleep.  I love my sleep, need my sleep – so I’ll take any suggestions!.



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