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This is my menopause (by an outdoors enthusiast)

Written by Fiona

January 17 2018

In light of a new BBC survey that calls for workplaces to “normalise conversations” about the menopause (see here), I have decided I am brave enough to publish this poem. I wrote it earlier this week after a particularly bad weekend. In fact, I started writing it as I lay awake in pain at 3am on Monday morning.

It’s the truth about my menopause, although few people will know I am having any troubles. I am outdoorsy, usually full of life and energy and I generally write about upbeat things to do. Behind the scenes I have been suffering many symptoms of the peri-menopause and menopause for years – and it has affected what I can do. Sometimes it has stopped me from running, skiing, cycling and doing all kinds of fun things.

I think that these days we do talk a lot more about difficult health issues, such as depression, eating disorders, stress and anxiety. I try not to shy away from talking about my personal problems and I think this is a benefit because it helps others to open up and have normal conversations about difficult issues.

But the menopause is still a topic that seemingly revulses people. Many women still do not want to mention it, except perhaps to close friends.

While men do not suffer the menopause physically, they will know women who are going through this life change. They need to know the facts to offer empathy and sympathy. Only by knowing the facts, can you cope with the upset or frustration of living or being with a partner who is going through the peri-menopause and menopause.

Finally, more people are openly discussing the menopause and like many topics I do think this is a big bonus to women and men. If it is not yet part of your life, then just you wait – and if it is part of your life now I hope this poem makes you laugh a bit and feel consoled, too, that it’s “not just you”.

It’s meant to be poignant but also light hearted (in a way!).

This is my menopause

I am wide awake.

In pain.

It’s 3am.

 

I am half asleep.

I’ve taken pain killers.

The pain is numbed.

It’s only 9.30am.

 

It’s period pain, except there is no period this month.

Nor the last.

But the one before that was big.

It was a monster.

 

I feel dizzy.

Spaced out.

But I must focus.

I have work to do.

I like my work.

I want to work.

 

The sweats are here again.

The wet lashes down my back.

My head feels hot.

My hair is damp. Rank.

My face is red.

I want to strip off my clothes.

But suddenly I am cold again.

I shiver.

 

It makes me cry.

It makes me shy.

It makes me stressed

– and depressed.

 

I have put on weight.

I have lost my shape.

Where did my boobs go?

They were once great.

Now they are not.

 

My skin feels loose.

My skin looks lumpy

–  my thighs are bumpy.

How can they be bumpy?

But they are.

 

My partner tries. He really does.

But the moods.

The swings from this to that.

From happy to sad.

The roundabout of attitudes.

Positive, negative.

Then the sighs.

Of resignation.

The sleepless nights.

My restlessness.

My restless leg. The left one.

He wants to scream at me.

I want to scream at him.

It’s testing us.

 

But he does try to understand.

He really does.

 

It gives me leg cramps.

It gives me foot cramps.

Even my hands cramp.

And one shoulder. (Just one, thank goodness.)

These cramps are so bad,

they tear my muscles.

 

It gives me migraines.

Migraines so bad I go to bed.

(I have never slept during the day before.)

 

My arms are scratched.

I scratched at itchy skin.

I have scars.

Scars where my nails have scratched.

 

I want sex.

I don’t want sex.

I do. I don’t.

When I do it hurts.

I end up with an infection.

A bladder infection.

Yet again. Yet again.

Who knew all this could be do to with it?

 

I once looked young.

Young for my years.

I now look my age.

I look more than my age when I don’t sleep.

 

I feel more than my age.

I fear I have dementia.

I can’t remember.

I can’t remember your name.

Nor their name.

Or dates.

Or the name for small things.

I can’t remember where I put it.

That thing.

The thing I have lost for weeks.

I buy a new one.

Well, I tried to.

Except I have forgotten the pin number.

 

I smell strange smells.

My taste is all wrong.

My eyes feel dry.

I am nauseous.

If I wasn’t so old I might be pregnant.

I am most definitely not.

 

Now I have another period.

It’s two weeks early.

The pain of this period is as bad as child birth.

It’s ironic.

 

The period feels like Niagara Falls.

Except it’s not magnificent.

Or a great wonder of the world.

It is big and mighty though.

I can’t leave my home.

It might flood out.

And that would be too much.

 

I am still fit.

Fit for my age.

But my age is almost 50.

And I am not fast anymore.

I have to accept this.

 

I have slow days.

I have even slower days.

And sometimes I have good days.

And I feel fast and fit again.

 

I have taken advice.

I have listened to women.

All women of a certain age.

My certain age.

And to the doctors, too.

 

I am on HRT.

It’s ok.

It helps.

Sometimes.

But there is no cure.

My hormones are in meltdown.

 

I find calm in the outdoors.

I walk, run, cycle and ski.

That raises my spirits.

 

I try to laugh.

I really do.

And life goes on.

I like my life.

I like my work.

I am happy.

I love my partner.

I have many friends.

My daughter has left home.

She is happy, too.

 

But if I laugh too hard…

With my partner and friends.

I must remember…

To hold on tight.

Down below.

Or else I will wee myself.

 

All this – and more – is the menopause.

The menopause is really no fun at all.

 

 

 

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