Goddamn the Menopause. It’s a bitch.
I’ve been feeling low for the last few weeks and my therapist and my doctors have decided to switch me from my current antidepressant to a new one. This means cutting down every three days for a week and then starting on the new one and increasing that every three days. And that means withdrawal and side effects at the same time for a few weeks.
Then after that settles down I have to come off my antipsychotic to see whether I’m OK without it. (Read: ‘still mental without it’.) This is on top of the joy that is the menopause. In fact it’s so joyous I thought I’d tell you about it.
Hot Flushes – (Or flashes as they call them in the states) OK so these are the stereotypical menopause symptom that everyone knows about. A hot flush doesn’t happen in your face, that’s feeling flushed and it’s different. That’s being too hot. A hot flush is the sudden and often unpredictable spontaneous human combustion of your trunk. With tendrils of fire down your arms and legs. Sometimes there are triggers (like having a drink, being in bed) and sometimes they just happen when you’re walking down the street. Or sitting there doing absolutely sweet FA. Let’s just say I always wear layers so I can strip off and I now sleep naked because even cotton is too much.
Memory – or lack thereof. Literally don’t have a clue what I’m doing half the time.
Concentration – I’ve lost the ability to multitask. If I am texting someone I can no longer speak to someone else.
Mood Changes – It’s hard to tell where the menopausal depression starts and the post-natal depression ends. Somewhere before Christmas I’d say. I picked up a bit during Christmas because I had such a wonderful time for several weeks on the trot. But then I noticed my mood dip again and no amount of proactive action and healthy eating – or binge drinking and partying – seem able to affect it. I hope the change in meds does the trick because I’m bored of myself already.
Spare Tyre – happening right now, around my waist.
Libido – My new surgically enhanced vagina (or ‘the road to nowhere’ as I like to call it now) seems to be fine. Phew. Because I’m a Scorpio and I need that part working.
Headaches – I don’t get these per se but I get an intense pain in my head every now and again. Which I think counts as a headache but it’s only momentary and often related to something evil my sons have done/other increases in blood pressure.
Joint stiffness – My old cancer medication (Tamoxifen) causes this. As does my new cancer medication (Letrozole). The menopause causes joint stiffness. Having four children causes joint stiffness. It’s fair to say I can’t necessarily blame my poor aching ankles on the menopause alone.
Osteopenia – This is early days osteoporosis. My old cancer medication causes this. As does the menopause. I am now on Vitamin D and Calcium as well as an antidepressant and an antipsychotic. I have to have one of those tablet boxes with the days of the week on like my Nan used to have (see above ‘Memory’).
Blindness – OK so not total blindness or anything but my vision is going. My optician, who is a very, very nice man, said it could be the antidepressant causing my ability to focus to diminish. But then he tilted his head slightly and said it could be my age…
Wank. So there you have it. The menopause as it stands now. I can’t take HRT because the whole point of doing this is to get rid of as much of my body’s ability to produce hormones as possible, and so starve any errant cancer cells of their reproductive food. So here I sit, a depressed sexaholic with a flabby belly and poor eyesight who can’t remember why that is meant to be a problem and GODDAMNIT I’M HOT.