How come I can talk about my personal experience of addiction, but cannot talk about my personal experience of going through menopause? I suppose that they are both complex and unique subjects to each one of us. I have overcome the shame associated with my brush with addiction and now wear my past with a badge of pride, yayyy I survived.
Going through the change has felt a little like when I was going through my own addiction, like a shameful drug, you try and hide and pretend that everything is normal when it is quite the opposite. I can recall the day after being sectioned and being diagnosed with drug-induced psychosis, starting my period and wondering if my recent mental state was down to “the time of the month” and not down to the copious amount of drugs I was taking (trust me it was the drugs)
I have always struggled with PMS for years I have been prescribed 20mls of Prozac to help manage the monthly hormonal rages and it has worked for years. But then last year, it felt that the Prozac had been swapped for a placebo because it felt that they were no longer working. I was really struggling and it didn’t feel right, I was doing all the right things, the self-care, the stuff that made me feel good about myself, writing, mindfulness, practising saying no to things I didn’t want to do, sometimes I felt on top of the world, then other times I thought I was going fucking insane, I have more than once actually considered if I was bipolar. It’s a standing joke in our house “is it David Banner time?” I laugh it off, but it is true, I do feel like I’m ripping out of my clothes every month, going from happy to bloated and angry, I do all of it every month, I have all the incredible hulk symptoms apart from turning green!
Last year I went to the doctors, I explained my symptoms, he suggested that I might be peri-menopausal, he explained that my moods may be due to a fluctuation, lack of serotonin, due to going through the change, my options were, go down the herbal route (i was like Nah, too much time and trial and error required), take HRT, (Nah, that will give me cancer) or up my current dose of Prozac from 20 – 40 ml, I opted for the latter and for over a year it worked.
I had a year of normality (whatever the fuck that means) but then a few months ago, I realised that I have felt more and more washed out, feelings of a hangover without the alcohol, night sweets, and feeling physically incomplete, going from feeling emotionally intolerant to feeling emotionally numb, constantly lethargic. My bullshit antenna has been working overdrive, I simply have had zero tolerance for fuckwits! But deep down I have felt and known something wasn’t right for some time. It was only after looking l back over my journal and started to realise and recognise that this just wasn’t a one-off, that I had been experiencing these feelings for a while but hadn’t connected the dots, or I had been brushing off the symptoms and just getting on with life. I think I have been in denial about the whole paus stuff, mainly because I always want or expect a clear diagnosis, but with the change its not always clear, the changes my body have gone through have been subtle, gradual. Thank god for journalling I know for a fact that without sitting down and #havingawordwimesen every morning I would probably be running around pretending that everything is normal when it is not, just like when I was turning to drugs.
Journalling helps me see things differently, it helps my personal development penny to drop, I have been able to look back and can now see clearly how the symptoms have been there creeping and building over time. I genuinely thought I was going insane sometimes, preferring to isolate myself and hide away from the world, constantly questioning “what the fuck is wrong with me”. I am starting to realise the reason why I cannot drink as I used to, after all, it makes sense, I mean I wake up most mornings feeling hungover without a drink, its no fucking wonder I feel worse after actually having a drink.
My emotions have quite literally been all over the place, you have probably recognised this in my writing, consumed with feelings of self-doubt, when I for the most I try to be optimistic, apparently one of the side effects of going through the change, is heightened emotions, this might also explain a lot too. I have often had maudlin thoughts about being the wrong side of life, this is probably the final physical change that as a woman I have to go through. After years of monthly mood swings, rages, stomach cramps, stained pants and thousands spent on Tampax (which should be free by the way) am I finally making out the other end? Will all this physical and emotional shit stop?
I suppose this change malarkey is just that, its change (which I know I don’t like much) but even though I have had my low points, I have also learned a lot about myself, so it is not all bad. So now I have started with HRT, I’m four days in, I don’t if its the acceptance that I needed help that has made me feel better or if the gel is actually working its magic, either way I’m still here, I am feeling a lot better, I am still writing, I am still dealing with life on life terms, or should I say more on my terms.
A large part of my recovery from addiction has been founded on coming to terms with myself, learning self-compassion and being honest with myself and not shying away from who I am.
So I suppose with this Menopause malarky, just like my recovery from addiction, I am going to have to do the same again, by starting to practice self-compassion, learning to listen to the changes my body is going through instead of trying to reject and fight the emotions and feelings that are perfectly natural, normal and part of being a woman.
I have been asked to go on BBC Radio Sheffield next week and do an interview about me, the show is called “Laid Bare, with Tony Robinson” do you think he’ll be ready for me laying all out there and baring the real Tracey?
And remember to try not to be afraid of who you truly are if you would like to subscribe to more post, please go to https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up OR leave me your email. If you liked the post please share, if you didn’t, then do nothing and that’s ok too, Love Fordy x