Updated: Oct 17
Everyone seems to be living their lives, my daughter for example, is either out partying or visiting another new, to her, country or land and bloody good for her! To be young again and have it all there in front of you! I encourage it; go for it, do it, go visit every corner of the world, soak it all in, go to every event and enjoy every minute. Enjoy every single bit because without you noticing, you’ll suddenly realise that all you want to do is hibernate. Hibernate from the world, do a magnificent and hard-working role in your work life, and then return quietly to hibernation. I want to question this hibernation, I want to understand its purpose, its meaning.
The need to hibernate, is this what leftover ‘lockdown’ looks like?
But it can’t be that I worked more hours in lockdown than I did in normal life. I wasn’t one of these lucky people who received furlough and was asked to chill at home until it all passed over, no I was out working every day. Now I’m not saying this to make you feel sorry for me, cos I bloody loved it. I had a great time during lockdown, laughed, danced and sang. I made some fabulous long-lasting friendships out of lockdown. I didn’t have endless time to waste thinking about the virus or the government, I just cracked on. I loved walking through the streets when they were empty and going to my job and serving the community its cheese and wine.
So, this hibernation must be related to the menopause, it must be!
Last year I had a radical hysterectomy, I didn’t have a choice!
So, I have been put into surgical menopause, what does that even mean, I hear you ask? The short and simple explanation of surgical menopause is when surgery, rather than the natural aging process, causes a woman to go through menopause. Menopause, the outdated Oxford dictionary states “the period in a woman's life (typically between the ages of 45 and 50) when menstruation ceases.”
In layman’s terms,12 months must pass, after your last period and then you are classed as 'in the menopause!'
Menopause I hear you cry; I am sick and tired of hearing about it, Davina McCall banging on about it, shouting from the roof tops!
Hey! my mum’s generation just got on with it, they didn’t complain and/or make a fuss! And you are totally right but when your grandmother or mother went through the menopause it was of a totally different age – most didn’t have high powered jobs like women today! They didn’t have to keep up with a very fast world, an ever-changing world of constant information with upbeat and fast technology. A world where you must be everything as a woman – an amazing functioning mother and have a fabulous glitzy career! Be everything all at once! And god, a childless woman, well find your place in a man’s world and don’t lose it, so you haven’t even got time for menopause! So, I hear you Davina, but I challenge you, the media and its portrayal of the menopause, as the information given is not in a straightforward manner and there is no answer really, just a large amount of vagueness that you must sieve through. Picking out the bits that apply to you. And no mention of the other side...
The symptoms of perimenopause and menopause are endless, never ending in fact and can be very similar to many other illnesses for example, hypothyroidism, depression, COP disease and even some cancers. So, it is essential that we should see a trained clinician when dealing with what people believe to be the menopause or peri-menopausal symptoms. However, we live in Great Britain (not much is Great at the moment – insert a sad emoji!) as unfortunately the NHS is constantly firefighting and doesn’t have time to do preventative work, let alone nurturing work with us lovely women. So, unless you have an surplus amount of spare cash to spend on private health care (like Davina!) we of course will turn to; the internet, literature, and social media to give us the answer we are looking for and our wonderful friends and family for advice. Seeking out the reassurance, we need to justify how we think and feel.
But no one can prepare you for how lonely it can feel to be in this place of readjustment. I would call it limbo land, in the Roman Catholic teaching limbo land is ‘a region on the border of hell or heaven’ and I guess until my body and soul connect again that’s where I am at.
I wrote a list of MY symptoms and my goodness it is insightful and endless:
fiery temper in bursts (with those closest to me, god bless them!)
weight gain/midriff weight gain like I’ve never seen before!
body and joints ache
thinner eyebrows and hair
not engaged in life
don’t feel my normal self.
want to not engage.
feel like no one understands!
want to hibernate.
Wow when you see this all written down it’s a wonder how I get on with life or even get out of bed! But of course, I do, as I must believe its temporary, I must believe that my soul and body will start to adjust slowly and gain a new way of being.
A new beginning is happening, just as it did through puberty, I certainly didn’t get any medical intervention then. Just a patient or not family who told me it would pass, and it did! When I grew a human inside my womb, I did it twice in fact, I had to adjust to that and then readjust again to the changes it permanently made to my body and soul!
So, my soul and body will adjust once again and change according to my new needs! I will find ways to alleviate the weight gain, the brain fog, and the dry skin. Perhaps I will hibernate away from the world until I am ready to return. Inactive and hidden until my soul has caught up with my body and the two are connected again in harmony!
Perhaps I should travel to a far-off land and lie on the beach in the blazing sun until this all passes and I am reconnected with my NEW self. A new improved self, a more content soul that will guide me through the next chapter of my life. A chapter of my life that holds calmness and reconnection with self. A chapter of deeper fulfilment and gratitude of what I have as I continuously learn about myself.
Learn to stop turning to others/the media/the literature for the answer on how I should be feeling and learn a deeper understanding of self. Learning what I feel and need from myself and others. Learn what will fulfil me and make me happy once more. I think I will find this in hibernation.
I will not fear the hibernation, I will embrace it, with all it has to offer me. So, watch me emerge from my menopause hibernation with a new lease of life and understanding of self.