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  • keeleysmth

The elephant in the room

Updated: Feb 7, 2022

Among the social gatherings of the ‘Sex in the City’ 40/50 somethings, there is an ‘elephant’ in the room. That word that still remains a whisper….

It was Xmas 2021 and there I was standing in my Dee’s newly refurbished kitchen having been invited to a decadent pre-Christmas girlie lunch. I mean, Dee had ‘made it’, she had met the man of her dreams and was now showcasing this fabulous new home renovation, featuring a beautiful atrium sky light, an inbuilt champagne fridge and wait for it… a fully functional Quooker Tap!

We were standing alone in the kitchen heads together chatting as I told her quietly that I had received my results from my privately gotten ‘Menopause Hormone test’. During this discreet private moment we purposefully retract as Sam our other girlfriend came bowling out of the loo. She looked at our serious faces and enquires loudly - ‘Are you talking about the menopause?’

The truth is none of us had made it! Despite being beautiful, intelligent and engaging, we were all in our late 40s/early 50s all in this confusing stage of life, looking back and trying to rationalise how we were all so confused, nauseous, in pain, stressed, ill, confused and deeply unhappy. Trying & buying anything that we could just to make sense of It all. The facts are – we can’t make sense of it because we, our doctors and our families simply weren’t educated enough to understand what we are going through (and if our mothers were, they didn’t really talk about it)

Men often get branded as having a ‘midlife’ crisis. This seems to absolve them of any responsibility for possible strange behaviour. Whether they find a new love for tight budgie smuggling shorts and shave their legs to cycle 4 abreast on the country lanes (annoying the hormonal women who are sat cruising at 10 mph behind them in a heated, flushing, anxiety ridden state), Spending their kids inheritance on a new Lamborghini or leaving their wives for a gravity defying sugar baby they met on Tinder. The list goes on…. but that’s fine as people will just say ‘Its Ok he’s just going through the mid-life crisis. We women however, have to go through an extended period experiencing a range of symptoms that no one could ever have prepared us for. By the time we’ve finally realised what was really happening to us, we’ve already googled our symptoms to death and consulted with a number of doctors to try and understand why our bodies feel like they’re breaking down. I was scared that I had a life threatening condition: Brain Tumour, Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis and Lupus to name just a few! - I am not in any way undermining these real conditions and feel deeply for those that are affected by them- but at the time all of these scenarios felt like very 'real' possibilities. I now feel ashamed by these feelings.

My journey is not over and continues. 18 months – 2 years, fearing that no-one understood what I was going through, slowly believing I was going mad.’ All of this evolving during the chronic COVID crisis and at 48 years of age I felt ‘broken’. With no access to my family and friends during this period and a partner who tried hard to understand but never really could, I felt alone on this really confusing journey. I know there are millions of women all going through this very same struggle every day and circa 25 million women around the world enter this difficult phase of their lives every year!

So, to cut a long story short. I am now one of those 25 million women entering (this whispered word) ‘The Menopause’.

The truth is we really shouldn’t be so embarrassed or ashamed about this phase in our lives. We should be rejoicing and living our best lives as we enter this new chapter. The Japanese call this period ‘Konenki’, when broken down, stands for “renewal years” and “energy,” It may take a while to see it this way, and we have to go through many transitions before we will. I hope that my blog helps you to understand that you are not alone. There are 25 million of us on this planet all searching for answers and desperate just to feel normal again.


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