I keep banging on

I’m going to bang on about being menopausal again. I’m not going to apologise. You can go away and make tea and come back when it’s all over. I’m in the thick of it. Tea making occurs while the menopause rolls on. Everything occurs while the menopause rolls on.

I watched that Kirsty Wark programme on the menopause last week. I felt quite zeitgeisty at having something that was actually being featured on telly. I’m usually a late adopter at this sort of thing. Although the thought of being a late adopter of the menopause and, I don’t know, fitting it in while I’m dead, is quite appealing.

I’d rather hoped for some kind of answers, a lightbulb type moment where I would shout ‘eureka’ and streak about the living room with joy at having found something solid to go on. I felt that I needed something I could measure myself against. This did not happen.

You see that’s one of the things that’s driving me nuts about all this. I have literally no idea what to expect, and contrary to my belief that things would settle down eventually, they do not seem to be settling down. They seem to be continuing to leap out from behind the Chaise Longue of Death and surprise me. I cannot plan for how it will be, and this is making me a bit sad, as one of the things I found most difficult about my erratic and eclectic menstrual cycle was that it was an elusive beast that could never be pinned down or planned for.

So what did I learn from Kirsty?

Well, I learned that menopausal women in Scotland have to be filmed either eating cakes or making cakes. What was all that about, people? I felt like writing a strongly worded letter to the director. Something along the lines of ‘put the piping bag down, FFS.’ It is not helpful to give everyone the perception that all menopausal women want to do is make and consume cup cakes. Apart from anything else, cupcakes are so 2012.  I suppose I should be grateful that they weren’t all spiralising the shit out of courgettes, but really. The only person who wasn’t draped in cake was Jennifer Saunders. I bet she rebelled. I bet the water in her glass was gin. Fair play.

I learned, on a more serious and terrifying note, that symptoms can just motor on to the point of death. Some woman on a radio phone in had been having hot flushes for thirty years. Thirty, fecking years. Dear God. I had just assumed that at some point, when your body was a husk and your beard was nice and full, that your body would go back to thinking it was ten again, and apart from the risk of broken bones from osteoporosis, you’d be all about shinning up trees and not giving a crap about boys anymore, and wanting a pony and you could just get on with things uninterrupted. But apparently not. Apparently there is the chance you will simmer away for a few decades and slither wetly into the grave. This is shit.

Having said that I must say that the only symptom that hasn’t oppressed me so far is hot flushes, although I did have two minor ones yesterday whilst watching the NTLive of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Both times it started with my ears, which was weird. Weirder still was the fact that it started at my lobes and then moved up to the tips of my ears. It was like being in a sweltering, aural lift. Apparently magnets can help with hot flushes, so I might just buy a couple of bar magnets and poke them in my ear holes and see how I get on.

Let’s get back to Kirsty. I also learned that as I had suspected from what many of you and my Facebook friends have been telling me, that the symptoms are rich, varied and bloody aggravating and that much like during your menstrual life, nobody really wants to talk about it except in the ‘eeeew gross way.’ More depressing news then.

So I am still fairly clueless and have gone right off cup cakes.

I had a good weekend, symptom wise, and then the last few days have not been great. Forgetfulness, particularly half way through sentences, which is terrific fun when I pause to scrabble for words and the children fill in the gaps by shouting ‘ladle! Aardvark! Lemon curry!’ etc.

Then there’s more itching, weird spikes of tearfulness, ear flushes and hyper sensitive skin. Oh and lady garden dryness. It’s more of an arid plain with tumbleweed at the moment. Which is nice.

My headache seems to be returning and worst of all is the joint pain. The joint pain is very uncomfortable indeed and seems to shift about to suit itself. In the last day and a half it has situated itself in my hands. I also get a lot of pain in my hips and neck. It’s shit.

All of this rotates intermittently. Some things happen concurrently. Some things linger. Some things come and go like the ladies in Prufrock. It’s quite tiring.

And in the tearful spikes I think, ‘Fucking hell, why am I doing this? What is the point? This is awful. Will this be my life now?’

And in the calm bits I think, ‘You have calm bits. You have actual calm bits. You have more calm bits than you’ve ever had. Look at you being all calm.’ Because that’s the thing of it. I am emotionally as even as I’ve ever been apart from the tear spike bits, which do not last long. Inside my head which is usually like a roller coaster ride with percussive accompaniment for added drama, it is calm. It is quiet. It is serene. There is space to think and breathe.

This is the why.

And I said this morning in a tearful, spiky bit, ‘It’s ironic that in order to be emotionally well, I seem to have to be physically wrecked.’ But then Jason pointed out that since Christmas I had been emotionally wrecked AND physically trashed, so actually I am quids in. Much as it pains me to agree with him, he is indeed right, so I persevere.

Although I reserve the right to keep moaning on about it.

15 responses to “I keep banging on

  1. Some people have shit menopauses; some don’t. Mine lasted 2 years and was relatively OK. You can hate me now, but just saying that maybe you’ll be lucky! My sister’s is still going on, 16 years later, so it’s not genetic.

  2. It WILL get better physically. Don’t despair at the 30-year-long menopause thing – that’s an anomaly. Symptoms may come and go for a couple of years, but they even out and you’re back to normal eventually. Maybe not skipping up trees, but no dry lady garden either. 🙂

  3. jenny Bertenshaw

    Indeed everyone is different. If your lucky you get the right kind of help. I wasn’t as I had an early (stress related) menopause in a foreign country. Doctors didn’t believe me .Going nuts with despair,a little like you feel,at times. However my sister in Oz saved my life by sending me a herbal remedy which worked after a couple of months. Mine lasted in varying degrees for 10 yrs.Only the first year felt unbearable at times.It’s the luck of the draw,or the genes,I’m afraid. It will get better though. The worst symptom for me was the feeling of falling down a lift shaft in my stomach,just before a hot flash hit..ugh.

  4. On a completely different subject, so glad you read John Connelly. I went to hear him talk at Exeter library some years ago and after the talk he spoke to everyone, had a drink with us and was absolutely charming. As for your menopause problems, I hope you don’t suffer for too long, must be awful. At 70 all those problems seem a lifetime ago.

    • If I didn’t have about twenty books which I really need to get to the bottom of, I’d ditch them all and start reading him from the beginning. Wonderful stuff. x

  5. Persevere and moan, it is your right. I am experiencing many of the wonders of menopause at the moment and wondering what the heck is coming next.

  6. I was menopausal at 48 years. 22 years on and I swear I still get hormonal ups and downs, hot flushes, aches and pains. Have just spent 15 minutes sobbing incoherently while I clung to Cliff who is like a warm rock of Gibraltar. I always seem to be on the edge of a panic attack. This started last June (politics alert) with the Referendum and just got worse when The Man who is going to make just about everything GREAT AGAIN, was elected, inaugurated and allowed to keep his Twitter account. The loss of a dear cousin this year has been a part of it, too. I’ve never had so many migraines. I’m hoping this is just a delightful phase. In the meantime, I’m going to phone the GP tomorrow. I think I may need some professional input to help me back to an even keel. I yearn for a time when I live pain-free and calm. I do try to remember my own mantra: ‘I choose to be calm.’

    I debated whether I should post this comment or not. I feel guilty when I say it like it is and dump it on your lovely blog page.

    This day will pass. In the meantime, I shall live through each moment and be grateful for Cliff’s patience.

    Much love to you and yours, Katy.

    • It seems like talking to someone about what options are available to you is a good plan. Don’t feel sorry for dumping it here. I am glad that this is a place where you can share what’s happening to you and I am reading and listening and thinking of you, just as I know that you are doing the same for me. We look out for each other, and although I can’t make things better, I can tell you that I see you, and I know what it’s like, and it will get better. So glad you have your wonderful, caring, Cliff to hang on to. Keep me posted. Much, much love to you. xx

  7. I was 32 when my menopause started and, fortunately, the worst of it only lasted for around 5 years, and wasn’t as horrific as I’d imagined it to be (except for those awful hot flushes!) so, even though I’m sure I’m still suffering certain side-effects because of it, I hope that you can keep strong, and we’ll all just be hoping that yours isn’t going to be even a fraction as long as the 30-year one, and that you’ll come through it hale, hearty, and reasonably well-balanced mentally (I say this, as hubby reckons that’s the one major aspect that I haven’t recovered from – I don’t know where he gets that crap from! Lol)

  8. The magnet helps! Well it helps me and I have tested the placebo effect when I lost it – god knows where it got to – but it has a hell of a grip so could be attached to any tiny metallic place. Love your blog. Keep the faith and the calm xx

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