Most women are used to being moody for two weeks out of every month, right? Our significant others understand that all a woman wants during her premenstrual and menstrual phase are painkillers, a hot water bottle and a family size bar of chocolate and if we don’t get those things we’ll be up on a manslaughter charge. Diminished responsibility, obvs.
Here’s the thing..
Menopausal women don’t get a break from the mood swings. The length of time it can take for things to settle down vary but it can take up to 15 years for all the symptoms to subside.
When it comes to our ever changing moods – think of them as a relay race where Happy starts off and passes the baton to Irritation – who passes the baton to Anger – who passes the baton to Psycho – who passes the baton to Melancholy – who passes the baton to Guilt who sprints through to the finish.
THEN IT ALL STARTS AGAIN AND NOR NECESSARILY IN THAT ORDER.
Everything and everybody irritates you. Nuff said?
This is turbo-charged irritability.
Scenario: Mrs X has struggled with hot flushes ALL day. Her boss is an inconsiderate arse biscuit who’s fed up of her numerous visits to the loo to stick her furnace face under the cold tap. She fights her way home in rush hour traffic, then opens her front door to find her living room is a shit-tip. The carpet is 50% dog hair, 50% Pringles. The dishes are doing the leaning tower of Pisa in the sink. The house smells like somebody died in it and the culprits behind the chaos are staring lifelessly at the X Box in some kind of gaming-induced coma. The only reason Mrs X knows they are alive is because their thumbs are still moving..
Mrs X realises that while she’s been slaving away at work, the lazy oafs she heaved out of her vagina sixteen years ago have been sat on their backsides killing zombies all day and calling each other ‘dude’ or ‘man’.
‘Pass the Pringles, Man’
‘Dude. WTF?! You killed me!’
Mrs X starts to feel the familiar sensation of heat rising from her chest upwards..
This is where she goes from irritated to PSYCHO.
She starts yelling. This may or may not be coherent. Then, she starts chucking stuff. First, her handbag hits the wall. Then she frenziedly starts yanking wires out of sockets, spitting out a few effs here and there. This gets her offspring’s attention because to prematurely end a gaming session is like shutting off a life support machine. If you were to look closely enough, you’d notice that they were turning blue..
Once the X Box is in bits all over the floor, Mrs X slams off upstairs for a weep and by the time she resurfaces, the living room’s had a make-over, the dishes are done and all the knives have been hidden.
Unsurprisingly, ‘Psycho Mum’ gets things done because she’s fucking terrifying!
Fear loves the menopause. Having entered into this stage of life, we become more aware than ever of our mortality. We gauge our longevity against that of our mothers and grandmothers. We fear the future. We fear getting old. We fear forgetting. We fear being alone.
We fear everything.
Once we know our reproductive days are over, some women break out the Champagne. Others just get sad. They grieve for the babies they will never have despite knowing that they wouldn’t have had anymore anyway because they’ve, like, been there, done that and worn the tee shirt OVER THEIR HEADS!
Also, their wombs are like withered balloons.
In all honesty, if they were to heave another human out of their fadginas, they would probably need a safety net as part of the birthing plan.
So, we cry for our youthfulness because it’s apparently buggered off, dragging our ovaries with it. A few gins and Spandau Ballet’s Greatest Hits on the iPod and we’re sobbing for Britain. Why? Because when Tony Hadley first crooned the lyrics to True back in 1983 – when we were in full possession of our hormones, faculties (ish) and teeth.
Also, we had GREAT hair!
Sometimes women find that their entire personalities change. They don’t recognise themselves anymore. Their bodies are different. Their minds are different. They feel different.
Sometimes, women feel as if they they’re going crazy and people say: ‘You’re effing crazy, you are!’
To be fair, they have just lobbed hubby’s best golf club over the back fence in a fit of hormonal rage..
But you know what? This menopause lark is NOT easy for many of us.
If people could spend a day being us – they would understand that it’s not craziness – it’s exhaustion, depletion and bewilderment.
It’s also a sense of disconnection, as if we are observing ourselves? Rather than owning our own bodies and minds. It’s hard to understand that we can never be the same as we were before the menopause. It’s just not biologically possible.
Have you ever started laughing at something funny for it to morph into hysterical crying?
This happened to me.
One minute I was laughing at Victoria Wood singing about being Freda being bent over backwards on her hostess trolley. Proper belly laughing. The next I was crying hysterically and OH was debating whether or not to call the chaps in white coats to come and inject me.
Those little shits are the reason behind ALL the crappy bits of menopause.
Lack of Motivation
Basically, you get days where you have zero motivation. That pile of ironing? Sod it. Need to go shopping? Sod that too! You make a date with your duvet and something with Colin Firth/ Sean Bean/whoever in it and woe betide any human over the age of 14 who tries to come between you and your 13.5 togs!
We get moments of happiness too. Hurrah! Granted, these moments can turn from happy to not happy a bit sharpish (Boo) but you’ve got to understand that it’s all down to hormone imbalance.
It won’t always be this way.
One day your feral hormones will start behaving themselves. The hot flushes will trail off. The moods will stop swinging. The brain fog will clear and you will accept your new ‘norm’.
But inside you’ll always be 16, yes?