Updated: Dec 23, 2021
22 - Dec 2021
Waiting for my appointment has been torture. Every hot flush, every confused thought, every moment I’ve woken in the night, every experience of overwhelming anxiety and dark feelings of desperation I am hoping will be addressed today.
I’m off to London to a specialist clinic. I can’t say I’m excited. I’m too exhausted to feel that. I am trepidatious. What if I struggle to explain myself properly? What if my symptoms are not that bad? Come on now, that’s just being ridiculous.
Then I remember I filled in a menopause survey. And I checked that I had actually sent it to the clinic. I searched for and found the email thanking me for returning the requested documents.
Have you found yourself double-checking everything lately? On the one hand it’s good because if you have forgotten something you can remedy that, on the other hand it leaves you with a constant feeling of self-doubt. As if you can’t trust yourself anymore.
I came across an article, this morning actually, which resonated with me. I’ll link the full article at the end.
Seven in 10 women ‘experience worse wellbeing during winter’ by Erin Santillo.
The article is predominately about seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and Dr Zoe William‘s (ITV This Morning) advice on how to improve physical and mental health during winter. However, there are many references to hormones levels at different stages of a woman’s life.
“Certain stages of our menstrual cycle can put us at a low ebb and those experiencing perimenopause and menopause often have numerous symptoms.”
If you’ve ever felt accused of being over dramatic or made to feel like you were over-exaggerating then, according to this article, you are not alone. You are part of the 45 percent of women surveyed who feel like that. I suspect it may be higher than that amongst ethnic minority women, like myself.
Dr Williams was not surprised by the findings. She exonerates medical professionals, claiming they are simply ‘not equipped‘ to respond to even the most prevalent health issues faced by women.
“The NHS is incredible, but for so long it was an institution built by men for men”
Routine symptons women experience vary from woman to woman in intensity and severity. They can be debilitating and affect all areas of women’s lives. Hot flushes or incontinence, having periods, the menopause and even childbirth have too often been regarded as ’part of being a woman’, or worse still ‘laughed off.’
She goes on to say, “the tide is turning when it comes to listening to women” with the UK government’s consultation towards the Women’s Health Strategy’ earlier this year. I’m not sure how much faith I have in that, considering the government’s track record in other consultations. That’s my opinion and I really don’t want to politicise my blogs.
Back to my original question. Am I right to go private? Considering the strain on the health service at the moment, (have you tried to get an appointment to see your GP? Face to face? Does your GP have any special menopause training? Do you feel like you may be dismissed? )I’m taking no chances. I need my hormones. I need the right hormones tailored to suit me.
I want to feel ‘normal‘ again. I want my life back.
Where to get help if you're struggling
You don't have to suffer in silence if you're struggling with your mental health. Here are some groups you can contact when you need help:
Samaritans: Phone 116 123, 24 hours a day, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, in confidence
Childline: Phone 0800 1111. Calls are free and won't show up on your bill
PAPYRUS: A voluntary organisation supporting suicidal teens and young adults. Phone 0800 068 4141
Depression Alliance: A charity for people with depression. No helpline but offers useful resources and links to other information on its website
Students Against Depression: A website for students who are depressed, have low mood, or are suicidal. Click here to visit
Bullying UK: A website for both children and adults affected by bullying. Click here
Original article can be found here