The first time I heard the term ‘peri-menopause’ – the transitional period of time that includes just before menopause happens – I’d been having night and day sweats, gushing periods, disabling migraines, brain fog, low mood, and skin irritation for a few years.
I would frequently be standing in front of a group of children delivering a workshop, and suddenly start sweating so profusely that my clothes would be visibly wet. My periods had become so heavy, I couldn’t stem the gush. Carrying spare clothes everywhere was my solution for a long time and I was becoming anxious and depressed. When visiting the doctor I would present one or two symptoms to try to get a solution, not realising all these things in combination might have given a clearer picture.
The brain fog didn’t help. I just wasn’t thinking straight. I began to question my life choices and felt like I was failing at everything. What would happen if work colleagues noticed I wasn’t coping? Would my teaching job be at risk? My creative life might fall apart. Several years into this menopausal stupor, my two lovely teenage daughters, who were quizzing me about what was wrong, stepped in. I must have been quite difficult to live with by this time. They did their own research and presented me with a large hardback book on menopause and the journey back to myself began.