Let me get this out of the way, before you run from my blog screaming. It’s going to mention that thing-that-must-not-be-mentioned-in-polite-company, MENOPAUSE, a little bit. And with some humour.
I’ve started to worry about a lot of things lately. Even worse, I’m waking up in a panic at night without fully knowing why. But I found out that Google does:
“The hormones oestrogen and progesterone work together to regulate mood. The declining levels of these hormones during the menopause mean that a woman at this stage of life is more susceptible to anxiety.”
It’s the M word again. Everything I go to the doctor about these days seems to turn out to be because of it.
Feeling a weird skipping in your chest? Have you downloaded an app to get a smartphone-captured ECG that’s definite evidence of your impending death? Calm yourself, it’s just the M word.
Waking up with both cheeks burning, finding out your face is red too, and then wondering how on earth you managed to embarrass yourself so badly while you were asleep? Hot flashes, caused by the M word.
Forgot the name of your neighbour? Remember, Heather, you live away out in the Scottish hills and miles from anybody – it’s called a sheep. Brain fog is a common symptom of, what was that thing again?
I’ve been lucky to have been quite a cheery soul for most of my life to date, yet now stress has begun to affect everything, from my ability to concentrate on my writing to how well I can (or can’t) hold in a pee. Now I’m getting older my heart’s in my mouth every time someone makes me do star jumps. Or it could be my right boob.
Billy Connolly did a hilarious stand-up about incontinence knickers back in the eighties, and even though I now live this thing, it never fails to amuse me. I still laugh, but not as hard – and my reasons are two-fold.
There are things that keep me awake at night now, like worrying about whether Kenny Loggins is having any trouble
getting into his computer and how do you get handsfree headphones in your ears? Are silverfish fed up of goldfish always winning first place? Did Cameo ever find out what the word up was?
However random or unreasonable the angst, I keep finding that my heart’s hammering like my daughter’s due in from school and I haven’t finished my family sized Dairy Milk yet, for no apparent reason. And every time I experience chest pain I start thinking about getting a funeral plan. Then, after I’ve burped, I tell myself it’s about time the kids paid for something.
I have to say, because it would be depressing not too mention it, that it isn’t all doom and gloom as I reach what I can only hope will be the middle of my life. Age has brought with
it some new-found joys. Like I no longer want or need to fight anybody who accuses me of being a less than capable mother. I’ve worked hard all my life, raised five kids on a shoestring without any of them falling off and none of them ever resorted to calling Childline; they knew I hadn’t paid the phone bill. Now all but one has left the fold and they haven’t raced back home because they weren’t taught to cope independently out in the real world. At least, I don’t think so. I might have to put the batteries back in the doorbell and let you know for next time.
Now I’ve blinked and I’m a grandmother of two. When I was a girl my Scot’s mother used to have us singing, ‘You Cannie Shove Your Grannie off a Bus,’ which always made me laugh. These days I am a grannie, who is living with menopausal bouts of terror and feelings of impending doom. I don’t laugh any more, I just feel an enormous sense of relief whilst travelling around on public transport.
Then there’s the relationship high that came with my advancing years. The fact that after a series of false starts and highly unsuitable partnerships, I’ve finally met the love of my life. We’ve been together for ten years this week, Bunnahabhain scotch and I. My husband, Stephen, is coming in a close second though. 😉
After being on earth for forty-seven years I’ve collected some knowledge: I now know six answers during episodes of Mastermind, and not just when the contestant’s chosen specialist subject is puddings. The menopause, incidentally, usually only affects your short term memory.
I’ve become closer to my sisters than ever before. A necessary transition, as we now have a firm pact in place that we’ll each race cross-country if one of us ever ends up in a coma in hospital. Because we care, of course. But mostly it’s to be on hand to give whoever turns out to be the patient’s face a shave before visiting time.
And last, but not at all least, being unafraid to follow my passion and giving myself permission to be a pushy cow about it. Just one download would make me so happy, whilst helping support me in my efforts. Go on, you know I’ll be anxious at around 3am if you don’t.
Now to get some of that HR tea everyone is telling me to try…
About the author
Mum of five (not the band), I am an author and comedy writer based in Scotland, UK