I don’t feel like I’m a basket case any more

More women need to know it’s not normal
August 7, 2018
When your lady parts let you down
August 8, 2018

I  hate the menopause. I hate the fact that it has to happen, I hate what it does to my mind probably more than what it does to my body, I hate the prejudice around it, and I hate that I don’t want to admit I am menopausal because of the prejudice and/or some kind of embarrassment about it, because we all know that getting older is a form of failure.

The only good thing about menopause is HRT. Bring it on. To hell with hot flushes and dry vaginas, who needs them? They say HRT doesn’t help mental function and memory but I can tell you this: I don’t feel like I’m a basket case any more and I haven’t lost my keys for a long time. And I can still hike up mountains and ride my bike while my friends who are doing it all naturally complain about joint pains.

HRT can be controversial. I don’t like to talk about HRT any more than the menopause itself, so I don’t go around like Edwina Currie bragging about how sexy it makes me. Urgh, that was properly cringey. That woman put more women off HRT than the whole media circus on the scare that it gives you cancer. But to be fair, anything that would make you feel like John Major is shaggable has to be potent.

I can’t say it’s had that effect on me, but I feel more like my old self and I must be like that too because I was once confronted about HRT. I was at a girls’ night and someone more or less accused me of it – she was all narrowed eyes and suspicion, as if I had run 100 metres sprint at the Olympics on steroids. Back off! What’s it to you?

Maybe in an ideal world we’d all talk openly about this stuff, but then there are some things that we as women keep to ourselves, just because we do.

I had a hellish time when menopause began, I was a competent professional but gradually I noticed I struggled to string my thoughts together when I had to write some reports, and the forgetfulness was so bad that I actually thought I was going a bit mad, I can see why it would make some women depressed. The hot flushes were just horrible. Vaginal dryness – don’t even go there.

People complain that we should talk about it, we should know more about it to prepare ourselves. But there’s nothing good about menopause so who wants to read about that?

I took HRT and now I’m just fine thanks. I have no intention of coming off it. That’s what the woman at the girls’ night was on about, saying you’re only delaying the inevitable, you’ll have to come off it sometime, blah blah blah. Well, I’m not coming off it any time soon. I’m 62 now and I have a doctor who doesn’t give me a hard time about the risks after 60 possibly because she saw what a gibbering wreck I was before HRT, possibly because I am quite clearly militant about not giving up so she’s not going to waste her precious time telling me.

I want to live my life as myself, not some lesser version of that, which is how I felt before HRT. So, I’ll take the risks and I’ll stay active. Better that than being so miserable and forgetful that I don’t want to leave the house – or so unable to focus that I get run over by a bus that I didn’t notice.

We may be made to feel that getting older is a form of failure but, in reality, it’s another cracking success. I hope I am very successful at getting older, I want to be doing it for a long time. I just don’t want the menopause bloody reminding me all the time that it’s happening.

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