Deborah Crowe's autobiographical, humorous look at the world, "The Darling Menopause", begins in August 2014… Set in sunny Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, I chronicle my menopausal journey of the past 4 years to date, from my perspective and that of my young daughter and my rather less young husband.
I have gone from thinking I was suffering from Alzheimer's, to learning that "the change' lasts 10 years, that there are 49 symptoms, in addition, to, the only one I knew about then, hot flushes. Increased stress, anxiety, weight gain, insomnia, ghastly mood swings were all part of the glorious picture.
Everyone comes on trips with me to various doctors and hit and miss treatments - often targetting my individual organs rather than ME. I finally see a menopause specialist, but even then it is not all plain sailing. I took an increasing range of treatments - the pill, HRT, sleeping tablets, anti-depressants before realising that maybe they weren't necessary and that there were other solutions to this "problem". Part of which of course was realising, it wasn't a problem, it was nature.
I found out that there is patchy, inconsistent information available. Doctors are NOT trained in addressing the 50 or so symptoms that can come up and bite you on the bottom. Standard HRT is used, as if there are standard women. Even worse, lavender and hot milk are still recommended.
I hope to raise awareness with a wider audience of women so that they get advice sooner and in a more holistic, healing way. I found the only way I could get through it all was telling stories about each day and making family and friends laugh as it helped me. It has all been enough to lead me to swearing a lot and outing myself. I was so shocked I knew nothing beforehand and wanted to bust the conspiracy of silence.
Someone asked me last week, "have you finished yet"? "No", I replied merrily, "I have 6 more years to go". The Darling Menopause is here to stay.