Menopause Matters and My Personal Experience

Today more than ever before it is totally acceptable and encouraged to talk openly about the menopause by sharing experiences as well as seeking help and advice.  The menopause is discussed widely across all media including ITV’s ‘This Morning,’ who are great ambassadors for it.  It is also supported in such a good way by famous people such as Davina McCall and Penny Lancaster who raise great awareness about the menopause and symptoms of menopause.  You are not alone and there is a way forward.

As a Life coach who has experienced menopause symptoms, clients come to me with various issues and it isn’t until we talk in more depth and work holistically that menopausal issues become apparent.

I would like to share my own personal experience as I am a firm believer that the menopause matters and awareness of it is so important, having experienced it myself.  I look back to when I was much younger and how both my Nana and Mum dealt with the menopause and to be honest it wasn’t spoken about as it was doomed as a ‘taboo’ subject!!  I recall it being referred to as ‘the change’ and that was about all that was mentioned. I remember my Mum fanning herself and often taking herself outside to cool off and when asked what was the problem, she would simply laugh it off and say she was having a “tropical moment!!” and it would happen to me one day.  So, I had no real understanding about what the menopause really is and what menopause symptoms I may or may not experience.  It is only many years later that I have found myself in the whole new world of being a ‘menopausal woman!!’.

I guess I entered into a quite early menopause when my periods suddenly stopped at the age of 42.  I approached my doctor who confirmed with blood tests that I was perimenopausal. Having no other symptoms other than no longer having periods, I believed that my menopause over and done with.  This was great and I thought, “wow, the menopause is a breeze and I am over it”. Well, how far from the truth could this be as when I was 48, I felt like I had been hit by a bus and my life seemed to change overnight.

I suddenly felt myself feeling very irritable with little patience for my family, friends and work colleagues.  I also found myself as being quite forgetful, which I had never previously experienced.  I also had strange feelings and sensations inside head, which I can only explain as my odd “cotton wool heads”.  I was also plagued with totally irrational thoughts, which were most unlike me. After months of putting up with this, I went to my doctors as I really thought that there was something seriously wrong with me.  My doctor said it was due to going through the menopause and suggested HRT patches. I was at the stage that I would try anything to make all of this go away!!  Unfortunately for me HRT wasn’t suitable as it caused break through bleeding. So, it was time to look for alternative solutions.

Like many of you, I did my research on the internet and believe I have tried all of the herbal remedies available!!  The ‘sleepy nighttime tea’ gave me the most weird and bizarre dreams!!.  Surely, there must be something that could help me??  I decided to look further into methods that could help me to cope with life on a daily basis and I came across Mindfulness.  Gosh, this was like a ‘light bulb’ moment and taught me how to rationalise my thoughts.  This is something I still practice today as well as passing the effectiveness of it onto my clients.

It was suggested that I should address my diet and exercise regime.  I knew that since being a little girl I had always had a healthy, balanced diet and always taken plenty of regular exercise, but perhaps it was time to do something different. I started to practice yoga and Pilates, which not only did I enjoy, but helped massively with my mental health. Covid-19 also forced me to walking more and being outdoors with my own thoughts and feelings.  This is something I have continued with and walk frequently with my partner in The Yorkshire Dales and The Lake District.  Nature is so empowering.

All was good and going well, then the erratic sleep patterns and insomnia hit me.  Yet another trip to the doctors who suggested anti-depressants and sleeping tablets, but I knew this wasn’t my answer and I wanted to cope this in alternative way. Back to the internet once again for more research, where upon I came across meditation techniques.  I must say, what a revolution!   

I now practice meditation on a daily basis, which has helped hugely with my sleep.  I’m not saying that all my menopause symptoms have suddenly disappeared, but I have realised that it is finding the right coping mechanisms and solutions for myself, which has been trial and error.  Walking is also now a huge part of my life.  By understanding that my symptoms are completely normal and the great awareness that there is about the menopause today, I have found a happy balance to get my life back as I want it to be.  The menopause is a journey, which continually changes along the way, but it is finding the right route for yourself which is what I have learned to be the key to individual coping mechanisms.

No one woman is the same and we all experience menopausal symptoms to different degrees and toady as a Life Coach I fully understand and accept this.  You will get there and it is all about finding out and exploring what works for you. As a Life Coach, I will help you to do this in your own way and time, but there is great hope to deal and cope with the menopause as it is real and of course above all part of “mother nature” as well as the awareness that there is about the menopause today.  I will help you on the positive journey to move forward. 

Stephanie Tiley