diaryofthemenopause

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Menopause and Hair Loss

I do wonder why I was so worried about hot flushes, mood swings and nothing else when I got thrown into a Surgical Menopause.

I was created by someone with a sense of humour.  They gave me Scottish Skin and said “if the sun so much as appears between 2 clouds – you shall have sunburn”.  To go with this they decided to give me very thin, very fine hair.  I spent my teenage years and 20s with a ponytail which was more elastic band than pony tail . When I had my first child I discovered you can buy baby hair bands.  Sadly I still use them.

When I was pregnant with both my children, my hair became lovely and a lot thicker. Sadly shortly after having both my children, my hair fell out by the handful.  It was far worse with my first child and meant after both births,  I needed to have most of my hair cut off and a very short style to try and hide this. It did settle down after a few months. It’s hormone related and very common.  With my first child it was more noticeable around my ears, but with my second child it was from all over my head.

Since my menopause I’ve been losing so much hair that I dread washing and brushing it.  It started looking thin and pathetic.  It’s not as if it were great to start with.  It seems the same hormones which cause hair loss after pregnancy, do the same at menopause.  Thank you so much Mother Nature, but thank you for taking it from all over my head and not one area.

Because of my beautiful Scottish Skin, I now have to wear a cap or hat the whole time we are out in the sun. My hair got so thin, there was no protection from the sun so my scalp started getting sunburn.  Very painful and very difficult to put sun cream on your head.

BUT THERE IS SOME GOOD NEWS……..

In June this year it will be 3 years since my total hysterectomy.  About 2-3 months ago my visible hair loss slowed down.  I will always have thin hair, it’s a family trait, but it no longer looks quite as pathetic as it did.  It’s looking healthier again and beginning to return to how it was.

Hopefully this means around 3 years into an HRT Free Menopause, things are beginning to settle down for me.  The hot flushes are still there (for me not life changing thankfully)  but for now I’m considering my hair no longer jumping off my head a win.

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These blogs have got me through.

I made a decision to go HRT free from the start, but it’s not an easy choice to make.  The blogs on this page helped me so often and gave me a fantastic insight into someone who had gone down the HRT road and was trying to stop using it and the war we have with the menopause in general.  I highly recommend her blogs to anyone – they’ve really helped me so much.

 

I never thought I’d be able to stop HRT (hormone replacement therapy). I tried twice before without success. My intolerance to hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, headaches and brain fog kept me coming back to hormones the two times I tried to quit. I had no real idea how any woman managed to stop hormones […]

via Why & how I stopped HRT — da Vinci Total Hysterectomy

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Treating Menopause Depression Naturally

I am aware of the risks involved in this.

If anyone has read through previous posts of mine, you will know I did all my research before going into Surgical Menopause HRT free and I focussed on the flushes and night sweats as being the things which would have me begging for HRT, and I missed the one symptom which would change my life – depression.

Prior to my hysterectomy I was on Prozac as part of a study into treating PMDD, a severe form of PMS.  After my hysterectomy I wanted off all medication.

My husband says the problems started shortly after my operation and since then I’ve had a continual battle with depression and/or anxiety.  The last time it came with insomnia, which if any one has suffered from, you know how debilitating it can be.  My GP put me on a tablet which helped me sleep, but the problem was trying to get up and go the next day.  It was taking me a few hours to get into the day.  I halved my medication which did help a bit, but following a break away in France at the end of last year, where I forgot to pack the medication, I haven’t gone back on it again.  I really enjoyed waking up and feeling awake and ready to go, rather than feeling drugged and like I was coming out of an anaesthetic.  As part of this treatment I also had 6 sessions of CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy), which really helped put things into perspective.

I know my symptoms are still there.  The Anxiety symptoms outweigh the Depression ones these days.  If my bad days start outnumbering the good days, I will go back and see my GP.  For now though, I’m trying to change my life following my hysterectomy.

Before the operation I had low blood pressure.  Since the operation I have high blood pressure – I’ve never had high blood pressure in my life.  I am overweight.  I lost a stone, which has stayed off, since giving up shift work.  I still have around 35lb I could do with losing though.  I have gone from shift work (2 days/2 nights), to working an On-Call rota every other week.  I regularly did 70 hour weeks to get extra money for things we have needed.   I am now 1 in 4 On Call and have weekends free, and am strictly 8am – 4pm at work.  I need to start using my free time and do things for myself more.  I get angry having to cook and clean the whole time while everyone else gets to do the fun stuff, which is part of my anxiety issues.

My plan is diet, exercise and now my girls are older, find my life and what I’m going to do for the next however many years.  I’ve been asked for my 5 year plan at work.  I’m 50.  My plan is to work and save up money.  Part of the money is to overpay the mortgage, so I can one day be mortgage free, and the rest is to go on holidays and trips away to see the world and have fun.  I don’t want a stressful work life, I want a work/life balance now with the emphasis on life.

I’ll let you know how long this plan lasts before my GP has to step in again.  The plus side about using Anti-Depressants though is they can weaken the impact of the other symptoms of the menopause on your life.

 

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Where are the Hot Flushes when you need them?

By now you’ve probably noticed the joy (yes I did say joy) of hot flushes is you will never feel cold for long again.  Ha!  They are selfish little things and seem to time themselves to the most inappropriate moment just to upset your day.

I have recently spent 4 days in Disneyland Paris where it was -4 freezing fog.  As you will queue for everything for around 2 hours, including the hot chocolate you want to heat your hands up, you don’t get much break from the cold to fit in everything you want to do.  Not a problem I thought.  My hot flushes will look after me.  At some point during the day they will come, heat me up, get me all flustered as I try to get off one of the 16 layers of clothing I am wearing and I will look forward to cooling down before the next one.  I was there 4 days.  Not a single hot flush.  I became one of those normal people, the type who have to go back to the hotel and stand under a shower or in a warm bath to defrost.

This did get me thinking though, is there a temperature at which hot flushes stop?   I have found multiple articles which say no.  Most of the articles don’t mention being in a cold environment for around 12 hours with no break though, they do mention going in and out of hot/cold environments, which can trigger quite bad hot flushes.  Feeling cold was initially a novel experience for me but it did wear thin after a few hours.

If anyone is planning on a winter visit to Disneyland Paris, I’ve now been told it sits in a valley and has its own climate which is colder than London/Paris.  Regular visitors over Christmas pack thermal underwear.

My next question is do hot flushes get worse in hot environments.  I feel the need to apply for Government backed funding for my research.  I could do with some more winter testing, maybe a beautiful Swiss Ski resort, followed by exotic beach locations of course – all in the name of science.

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Memory Loss

“Getting lucky at my age means walking into a room and remembering what I came in for”

I will admit to having experienced this before the hysterectomy, but over the past year it has got so bad, there are times I can’t work out how I’m fully functioning.

My memory is so bad, I had forgotten I suffered from memory loss  until a friend of mine, who is peri-menopause, mentioned it.  She is going through blood tests just to prove she is peri-menopausal as her memory is so bad, so they just want to make sure it’s nothing more serious.  It has got to the stage where it is impacting her life, so this made me look at mine and I realised I’ve been describing myself as forgetful or disorganised.

I need a new shower gel for my shower.  Every single day I get in the shower and think “I must get out a new shower gel”, as I use my husbands one.  Every day I get out of the shower and forget.  This has been going on for over a week now.  I have a friend I have been meaning to call for around 2 weeks, I have friends I’ve been meaning to drop a line to just to make sure they are OK.  I forget food, paying bills, what I was supposed to do at work and I now see faces I recognise and I can’t remember their name or where I know them from.  Some of the things I forget to do are quite important.

My life is now all phone reminders and diaries.  I have a diary at work and I list down each day what I need to do and tick it off.  I have also moved this into my personal life.  Thank you modern phones for tick lists and reminders bleeping at you.  The problem is it’s now the little things I forget to do, and some of these are the most important ones.  Work has taken over my life this year, just when I get to the age where I finally realise work just pays the bills and I want a work/life balance with more emphasis on the life side.

My solution now is to keep a pen and paper, or my phone handy for everything and to write it all down.  I even need to write down “Phone Neil” and pop in a reminder, because I will finally remember everything I was supposed to do just as I’m falling asleep.  I may have already written about insomnia.  I can’t remember!  I also can’t remember where I put the note pad I was writing down what I had to do last week.  I should apologise to anyone I haven’t phoned or dropped a text to in the last week, you are probably on my missing list along with toilet paper, milk,  book in the car for an MOT (2 years in a row I’ve missed that one), buy birthday cards and drop a text to everyone whose birthday it has been to apologise for forgetting.  I may just do a bulk apology in January for 2017.  I’ll put that in my phone now!

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The Hot Flush Panic

Just as I think I’ve got the hang of controlling my hot flushes, nature goes and proves me wrong.

It’s winter in the UK and I had my usual layers on.  I went to drive my daughter to a friend’s house and got in the car with my coat on.  I knew at the time I should have taken it off.  I had the seatbelt on when it started.  Nature seems to know just when to deliver the worst type.  Naturally once you start to rush to get something off you, you seem to make it worse.  I couldn’t get the seatbelt off, then I couldn’t get the coat off, then I felt the dreaded sweat dripping and the hot flush takes over everything.

I must have upset mother nature this weekend, as I seemed to have suffered from a few bad ones.  A few times when I had the usual mad rush to get layers off.  It’s always great when you come home after a walk down to the shops, hot, sweaty, coat draped over an arm and someone asks “Have you been out for a run?”  Hmm, a much better reason to arrive home hot and sweaty.  Although if I did go out for a run, I’d be arriving home on a stretcher!

Yesterday I was doing the washing up and had no layers left to take off.  The sweat started gathering in all the usual fatty creases and I ended up laughing as I was looking outside at the cold winter evening, thinking “I could just go and stand outside for 5 mins”.  When I was at work one of the women I talked to about how to cope with the Menopause, before I had my hysterectomy, told me about the time we had snow on the ground and her son and his friend came home to find her outside in the snow, in her bra and knickers.  I did ask her why she didn’t go out the back, why she ran out the front.  She said it was the nearest door and didn’t even think.  Now I fully understand how you can end up in the snow in nothing but bra and knickers.

I do find my hot flushes worse to cope with in winter.  It’s finding the right mix between wearing enough layers to keep you warm at -4, but also enough layers you can get off quickly and carry if needed.   At least I know if I do end up running down a main road in my bra and knickers in the snow, I won’t be the first!

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Menopause and Exercise

Yes I know this should be the top of everyone’s list.  With a full time job, kids, house, shopping, etc, I could write a book on excuses.

One of the most important things you should do each and every day is go for a walk.  It’s low impact, costs nothing, gets you in the sunlight in winter, makes you feel better and helps keep blood pressure down and your heart pumping.  Sounds easy. Please see my forthcoming book for excuses on why I haven’t done this.

I was walking around 7km a day until about 5 months ago.  Everything seemed to hit at the same time when one bad event in my life lead to another and another, then a big event, etc.  Within those 5 months I’ve been diagnosed with Depression and/or Anxiety.  Within those 5 months I’ve gone downhill each and every day.   I’m feeling back in control of my life and I remember how great I felt when I did walk every day, not to mention how much more I could eat.

Pilates/Core Exercises

I was very overweight, lost a lot of it, 5 months ago hit an all time low and have gained 24lb back.  So why Pilates?  I did ask myself the same question as I looked in the room at all these skinny women in various colours of lycra and I was stood there in a pair of old baggy jogging bottoms and an even bigger baggier top.  I did notice the instructor wasn’t paying that much attention to me huffing and puffing trying to get various bits of my body off the floor whilst supporting my weight.

I haven’t used my stomach muscles since my TAH.  Two days after my abdominal hysterectomy, I had further surgery to locate and stop internal bleeding.  My poor stomach muscles.

Tonight I’m going back after missing a week. I suspect the instructor wasn’t at all surprised I didn’t turn up last week as she is all about health, fitness and body and soul.  I’m more your “Oh look KFC, I could kill a Zinger Burger finished off with a bag of Maltesers, then another bag”.  My weight goes up and down and I am back on the Slimming World diet and being good. In the past when I’ve lost weight, I’ve had issues with my stomach so I figure what the hell.  I’ll be the fat person in the sack at the back of the class who inspires all the size zero lycra women to go home and nibble a lettuce leaf instead of hitting the local kebab shop on the way home.

Exercise it is. My goal is to keep going to pilates until I can get myself into the Plank without the use of heavy lifting machine, and to get back to walking between 5km and 10km a day through the whole of winter.

 

 

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Insomnia and Antidepressants

I’m now 2.5 years into my surgically induced menopause and have resisted HRT completely so far.  Purely a personal choice and I can easily see why it’s a choice taken up by the masses.

When I first started this journey, I expected the hot flushes to be the deciding factor in me jumping into the unopened box of HRT I was given after the operation.  The thing I’ve found about the hot flushes, is they do eventually pass.  Don’t get me wrong, they are by no means a walk in the park.  You may know how long they last (in my case up to 5 minutes), but those minutes can be the longest of your life when you feel you are burning up from the inside out.  The heat consumes you and becomes the one and only thing you can think about.  I get through them with layers, but have almost had a full blown panic attack in a shop before now when I was carrying a lot of bags and had on a thick coat, and couldn’t get anything off me quick enough to calm me down and start the cooling process.

The last 2.5 years have taught me there are worse things to have to deal with, but the one which has got me the closest to giving up and taking HRT is the insomnia.  From asking around friends who have chosen to go back on them after the age of 50, this is their deciding factor.  I’ve not had a great year, it seems to have been one thing after another after another, with a lot of big events in my life.  Losing my best friend to breast cancer topped off my year.  I stopped sleeping.  I’d be falling asleep on the sofa, go up to bed, get ready and the second I lay in bed my brain would shout “Fooled You!”

A NIGHT OF INSOMNIA

First you generally go through lists, what’s to be done, what should you have done today, what do you need to do tomorrow.  You then realise you should keep your brain quiet if you want to get to sleep.  Lay on your front.  Lay on your side. Lay on your back.  Lay on your other side.  Let’s try the front again.  Let’s try curling up in a ball.  Duvet on.  Duvet off.  Damn. Now I need the toilet.  Up to the toilet, well that’s just woken me up again.  What am I doing for tea tomorrow?  Who is here?  Oh I forgot to get milk today.  Oh look, it’s midnight.  If I go to sleep now, I’ll get 6 hours sleep.  Let’s try the front again, I nearly fell asleep on my front.  It’s 1am, if I fall asleep now I’ll get 6 hours sleep.  Front isn’t working.  I need the toilet again…… and so on.

After about 3-4 weeks of this I decided I needed help.  Initially because of the year and other symptoms caused probably by the menopause, I’m not 100% sure, I was diagnosed with Anxiety and put on antidepressants.

Weeks 5 and 6 had me in the bathroom at 2am crying.  I was so very, very tired.  I just wanted to sleep.  Why can’t I sleep.  By then you do start having some really horrible thoughts.  During the day I was exhausted and restless. Every breath annoyed me.  I think this perpetuated the anxiety.  Needless to say with no improvement I had my antidepressants changed to ones which should help me sleep.

MIRTAZAPINE

I was put on 30mg.  I was warned they give you a hangover feeling.  I did start sleeping better, but the mornings were horrendous.  It was like being lost in a thick fog with no map.  It took me anything up to 4 hours to get even barely functioning.  But I was sleeping.  In the end I found the mornings weren’t getting any easier and if I had to carry on fighting myself every morning to function, I’d rather have the insomnia.  My GP was talking about increasing the dosage and for me to stay on it throughout winter.  In the UK they don’t take you off antidepressants over winter.  She said they can then lower it if I continue to improve in the spring.  I decided to try and see if I could still sleep on 15mg, but not have the hangover.  I’m now 2 weeks into my experiment.  I sleep fine and no thick fog and 4 hours to function when I do wake up.

ANTIDEPRESSANTS AND THE MENOPAUSE

I’ve done some more reading and antidepressants are being used more and more for menopausal woman, in place of HRT.  They are supposed to make the symptoms less severe, particularly the hot flushes.  I can’t say Mirtazapine has made them any less severe, but at least I’m sleeping so I can deal with things a lot better.

MENOPAUSE OR MENTAL ILLNESS

The more I’ve been looking into things lately, the more I think I do have menopausal symptoms rather than depression or anxiety.  It’s now winter here where the nights are longer than the days.  This is the start of 4 bad months for me anyway but I’ve set myself a target to go out for a walk every morning I can, so I can get at least 30 mins in the natural sunlight, as I’ve read that’s the best time for the sunlight in winter.  We will see.  I need to make another GP appointment this month, so will discuss then if it’s possible all my symptoms are just the menopause.

 

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Thursday 20th October 2016

Well this is called Diary of the Menopause, so here is a typical day.

After struggling to stay awake last night after taking 15mg of Mirtazapine, I had a restless start to the night. I can’t sleep with the window open now, as I live in the UK and it’s Autumn. It’s nowhere near freezing outside, but my husband gets too cold. This is one fight no-one can win. I sweat like a pig, and he freezes. On the battle of who is the grumpiest and bitchiest due to no sleep for being either too hot or too cold, I’m winning.

The Night Time Routine of the Menopause:

Feeling completely exhausted, I went to bed. The second I start the usual nightly routine the hot flushes start. The fan goes on but the windows stay firmly shut. The second I lay in bed my brain suddenly decides to spring to life and reminds me of things I haven’t done, things I need to do, then just for good measure it starts singing a tune which requires around 2 hours of searching through the memory banks to remember what the tune is from.

You finally fall asleep:

Just as you fall asleep your body temperature rises. Throwing the duvet off you cools you down, but now you are aware the back of your neck is sweating against the pillow and you have sweat building up in your joints. I now wake up completely as I’m hot, restless and angry. This generally involves a trip to the bathroom as I’m up so my brain thinks I must need a bathroom break. Now I’m fully awake.

Repeat the above around 3-5 times a night.

You finally stay asleep:

This will be somewhere in the early hours, very close to your alarm clock going off. Somewhere around 3-4am my body temperature does drop enough for the night sweats to not wake me up.

This morning I was in a really deep dream. I’d finally fallen into that dream state. The dream was so real, I was back in the house my parents lived in when I was a teenager. I’ve not lived there for more than half my life. The house hasn’t even been in my family for around 20 years. I thought I had to be dreaming, but looking around the house I said no, this is my Mum’s downstairs, this is her bathroom, this is her study, this is real.

My Alarm Went Off:

I wake up with a start, I have no idea where I am, what day it is, what year it is, I’m totally confused. There’s a cat next to me and the room is empty. I can’t lay back down as I’m so out of it I know I’ll just go back to sleep, so it’s up and shower. Thankfully I’m working from home today as I’m on call. Even more thankfully, I wasn’t called out overnight.

Working from Home:

My brain isn’t functioning. I feel sick. I’m so tired everything aches. I can’t think of my password. I stand in the kitchen for around 5 mins trying to remember why I walked in, I give up and go back to the table. I’m now back in the kitchen, nope. Ah, I need some food to cook tonight. Fresh air will do me the world of good and may kick my brain into gear.

I walk to the shops. I’m making a cottage pie so I need mince, potatoes, mushrooms, carrots. Pete’s kids are here tonight so I’m out of sweets and look around for what they want. I go and pay and the woman is talking to me. Thankfully she’s about as non-coherent as I am. I can’t even string a sentence together. I feel really rough. I leave the shop and start walking home, then turn around and go back and buy what I went to buy in the first place.

Is the Day Improving?

No. I can’t concentrate on anything. I can’t read a document for any length of time. I can’t even type this in one go.

Noise and People:

When I feel like this I need quiet. I can have the TV or radio on for background noise to drown out other noises. I like working from home at times as I don’t have to talk to people. Some days it scares me having to talk to people as I know the words, or I think I do, they just don’t come out in the right order, or I just can’t think of the one simple word I’m looking for and then I fear I sound stupid. I used to be intelligent.

Most days I’m happiest if it’s just me. I don’t have to be polite, or think of a word. The noise gets to me and eventually they want something from you. Far too much effort. Please go away and leave me alone.

Today is one of those days, which is a shame as in a few hours time I’ll have a house full of people and it means I’ll be clock watching to see how long I have to stay up before I can just crawl back into bed, where it will be quiet at least and I don’t have to worry about anything for a while. Well at least until the night sweats start, the window is shut, it’s not freezing outside, why is the window shut?  How cold can he possibly get?  What’s the song I’m singing in my head – oh what’s it from……..

Repeat Daily …….

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Menopause or Mental Illness

It’s now been a while since I updated this and I’m well and truly passed the recovery stage of the total hysterectomy.

So, HRT or no HRT, do I have any regrets and is it an easy decision. The news has been showing articles on the link between HRT and breast cancer again, so why is it a decision women have to make and why is it so hard to just say “No, I don’t want HRT”. I’ve continued talking to women who are past their 50s and have chosen to stay on it. I’ve been told they can’t possibly work without any sleep, my memory was so bad I was barely functioning, I had to go back on it. I will try coming off it again later. So why are they staying on HRT despite the BBC news running stories on the link to breast cancer?

Here’s me putting my heart on my sleeve with why I think it’s so hard. For anyone just reading this one article, I watched my Mum die of Breast Cancer which was linked to her 15 year + dependency on HRT. When asked about it, she said she would do the same thing again as it gave her, her life back.

Since my hysterectomy things haven’t been great. Before the hysterectomy I was diagnosed with PMDD, a severe form of PMS. I was on antidepressants to help with the symptoms and as my periods were every two weeks, I was a walking disaster area. About 9 months after the operation, when everything had calmed down, I took myself off the antidepressants and the beta blockers I was on for migraines. For a reason no-one can explain, since my hysterectomy the migraines have pretty much disappeared too. I probably had a good few months looking back before things started changing for me.

My weight has been up and down. Extreme variations. I stopped recovering from night shifts and put it down to age and 10 years of doing nightshifts plus overtime, so I was regularly working 72 hour weeks. I came off shift and started a new job, so put things down to the pressure of learning a new role in a new department. I was then moved to set up another new department around the same time Pete and I were getting married, so yet more stress. For the last 2 years I’ve had an excuse to explain how I was feeling and I’ve used it.

Like most people, 2016 hasn’t been the best year for me. I lost my best friend to breast cancer this year too. I noticed something was off around March/April. By June I was struggling to even be polite at work, as they put me under a huge amount of pressure with setting up this new department with next to no help or support. I developed insomnia and I noticed how stressed I was getting with life in general. I went to my GP and they diagnosed Stress Related Illness. I was put on some tablets which were no help at all. They changed the tablets to ones which make you drowsy and would help me sleep. I do sleep more now, but nothing else is changing much. I had counselling sessions for 6 weeks too, where they tell you what you already know and try and change how you look at things.

On a visit to my Chiropractor we were just talking and she said she’s on HRT because of insomnia. She told me she knows she’s over 50 but there is no way should could work without it. She just feels so different. We were talking about my life and what’s going on and she just matter-of-factly said “are they sure it’s not just menopause symptoms?”. I got home and I had a look and sure enough everything I was feeling or going through was there. Do I have mental health issues or am I just experiencing menopause symptoms? There is a very scientific test I could do. I could take HRT and see what happens, as least then I’d know what I was dealing with. Up to the day I’m writing this, I haven’t. I think about it daily now though and then I hear all those women who never came off it past the age of 50 because …….. I could list every single one of those for the reason I would never come off it. If a tablet could take all this away and make me feel human and normal again, why would I ever stop taking it?

The menopause lasts 5-10 years. I have a friend just going into peri-menopause now. Her GP is doing blood tests and no doubt will put her on HRT, but for now I see me in her. She has hot flushes and needs layers to deal with it. She’s forgetful and has been stressed at work and with people in general. Our conversations are now a lot of “you know, thingamy, whatshisname, the doodah”. It will be interesting to see if she changes and how quickly she does after being given HRT. She is under 50.

For now I’m still on the antidepressants which help me sleep. The hot flushes I adapted to quite easily with layers and a fan, so they don’t bother me. My weight is out of control whenever I hit a down phase. I’ve been in a down phase now for months and am struggling to see a way back out of it. It’s been hard talking to people about it as you get the “Oh just snap out of it” and “what have you got to be down about” attitude from people who just don’t understand what you are going through. Do you really think I’d be here if I could just snap out of it? If I’m totally honest, other than the sleeping issue, I don’t feel any different after taking the antidepressants or after 6 counselling sessions. I’m always tired, I can’t cope with too many people around me for a long period of time, I’m forgetful and there are days I struggle putting together a basic sentence. I can go out and know I’m in there somewhere yet it’s like watching someone else control my body. Today a simple task like popping to the shops confused me. I couldn’t work out the order I had to do things in at the till. I’m 50 not 90.

I have to see my GP regularly now, just to check up on my mental health whilst I’m on the medication. I may ask her about HRT next time. This isn’t me, this is someone else living inside my skin. I feel like I’m in a fog most days. What seems like a great idea to just go and do something on the spur of the moment, is my idea of hell. I can just get through a day if I know what’s coming, please don’t add in the unknown without giving me a few days to prepare mentally for it.

If I give HRT a go and nothing changes, I lose nothing. If I discover me again, then at what cost am I prepared to risk this?  The latest studies in the UK show HRT makes you 5 times more likely to develop breast cancer, although this does drop 5 years after coming off HRT.  The same article in the New Scientist Magazine does state the depression, insomnia and hot flushes only last 4 years.  I’m half way there.   What I haven’t been able to find out is does coming off HRT mean you start all these symptoms over again when you stop taking it, does it just defer the symptoms and at some point you’ll have to go through all this anyway?  I’ve had mixed responses from people I’ve asked.  The women at work who are now late 50s and still taking it said the menopausal symptoms came back so they went back on it, against GPs wishes.  I’ve only spoken to one person who came off it at 55 and has been fine since, other than weight issues.

I have a couple of weeks before my next GP appointment to decide if I want to know the answer to this question.

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