There are sixty-seven menopause symptoms of which I’m aware; however, one shook me so hard when it appeared.
Ten years ago, a change in my skin was the first indication something was changing in my body, although I put it down to stress and a history of eczema. What can I say? I’m a medical marvel.
The second and more startling symptom came not far after. I stood facing my husband of twenty years and couldn’t say his name instantly. I knew his name but had to pause for ten seconds before I could say his name. I had the same experience looking at a knife and fork and couldn’t clutch the word fork instantly.
I was scared out of my mind. My father (not by blood) had started showing signs of dementia, and I thought I had early-onset dementia at thirty-nine, as I was showing the same kinds of difficulties.
As ever, I took to the internet and searched for all the information I could read. Do you know what I didn’t come across? Any link to menopause. All the links went straight to dementia.
And I believed it.
My doctor should’ve been my first port of call, but I’d been burned. In my late twenties, my doctor wouldn’t help me with my pelvic issues. She would only prescribe antidepressants and wouldn’t investigate why I couldn’t stand up straight or sit down comfortably. I had to seek a second opinion.
I had endometriosis.
So, you can understand my wariness of rocking up at the doc’s office wanting answers.
I did the dementia test and passed with top marks.
I wasn’t losing my mind. Well, I was. It just wasn’t dementia.
I covered up my pausing for words in various ways. I preferred emails to phone calls, texts to phone calls. Staying on mute in conference calls. I hadn’t noticed I’d done these things consciously. Only looking back do I now understand I was protecting my mind and avoiding being called out on my hesitancy.
More symptoms followed, which I put down to my endo. But the more indicators that appeared, the more I started to research. Then I got annoyed I didn’t know half the stuff that showed up. Then I got upset that I felt alone trying to manage these changes—at times, hideous symptoms.
The image of menopausal woman is seen as something to be laughed at. I can laugh at myself in some of the situations I have, but you’re not allowed to laugh at me, unless I invite you to laugh, as I stumble through why I’m in the kitchen when I should be in the living room.
Now, I am so driven to talk about menopause. Half the population is going to experience it to some degree, even they are in denial.
My passion is to help others and to engage with others who can help me. Never have I felt more inclined to use the word sisterhood as right now.
Oh, and what I thought was dementia was just brain fog…it’s one of the sixty-seven symptoms of menopause.