Pre menopause, my moods could be roughly categorised thus:
Happy for a reason – 50% of the time
Happy for no particular reason – 10% of the time
Grumpy for a reason – 20% of the time
Grumpy for no reason – 10% of the time
Tearful for a reason – 5% of the time
Tearful for no reason – 5% of the time
Things have changed somewhat:
Happy for a reason – 10% of the time
Happy for no particular reason – 5% of the time
Grumpy for a reason – 10% of the time
Grumpy for no reason – 50% of the time
Tearful for a reason – 1% of the time
Tearful for no reason – 24% of the time
And as I am still having periods, PMT also arrives every few week to join the menopausal party in my head.
This can lead to so many emotions in one day. One minute I am in tears watching an advert with a lonely man with no friends in it and reaching for my phone to donate my weeks salary to help him go to a wee club on a Tuesday afternoon. The next I can be as mad as hell about my partner putting the paper in the wrong recycling box.
The other day I the menopause and the PMT combination was at a height – I was happy in the morning. I was heading out in my lovely new car to do some shopping with some Christmas vouchers. All was well in the world and I sang along cheerily to the radio.
I then got to the multi storey car park which seems to have shrunk since I bought my bigger car. I started a bit of grumpiness – justified I think because the spaces are just too bastarding small.. Then I was completing a particularly complex parking manoeuvre and struggling somewhat. So I was getting even more grumpy. Again – I think quite justified.
Then I saw in the rear view mirror a ‘wide boy’ n the car behind –
gesticulating and, although I don’t do sign language, the movements of his mouth hinted at language that wasn’t particularly complimentary. So I get really really grumpy. And then I thought – fuck it – I am too old for some wee shit to try and intimidate me. I get out the car – with grumpiness now off the scale and approach his car. He rolls the window down and looks at me blankly but I detect a little fear which gives me great satisfaction.
“What. The. Fuck. Is. Your. Problem?” I roar.
He looks blankly at me again – and I start to get an inkling something isn’t quite as I assumed. Then a disembodied female voice fills the car ‘are you alright babe?’. Feck…. Feck….. Feck….
He was talking on his handsfree to his girlfriend. He wasn’t being a shit – just talking while he waited. ‘I’m sorry’ I say – ‘I thought you were shouting at me’. I start to feel very tearful.
‘I’ll call you back babe’ he says to his girlfriend. He then says – ‘are you ok? I’m sorry – I didn’t mean to upset you, I was just talking to my girlfriend’, He is gentle and kind and I suspect he works in mental health or something similar where he has gained a lot of practice in dealing calmly with unreasonable angry women. So then I was sobbing at his loveliness and thinking what a good job his parents have done.
After this debacle, I google paranoia as a symptom of the menopause. And yes – it is another sweet symptom. Apparently if I go for a walk it will help! I beg to feckin differ. I walk Sweet Dog for miles and it isn’t helping at all.
I have reflected a bit on the sudden rages and irritability that currently blight my life. Apparently it is all the fluctuating hormones that cause my rollercoaster of emotions. Dropping levels of estrogen are associated with low levels of serotonin (the ‘feel good’ hormone). Thought to be honest I can’t blame the menopause completely – since a very young age I have felt a desire to hit certain people over the head with a sharp object. But taking the positive from this – I now have nearly 50 years experience of not giving in to my impulses. The problem is that these impulses are now combined with the lack of fucks given at this time of life which makes me – well it makes me a piece of glass hidden in the sand ready to sting when you least expect it. And Helen Mirren hasn’t really helped by saying that if she could give her younger self some advice then she would tell her to tell others to fuck off more often. I like Helen Mirren and subconsciously I think I am taking on board her advice.
A couple of weeks ago I was on a bus – and some arse was drinking from his can of Tenants and singing some rude football chant and trying hard to engage his rather embarrassed girlfriend to join in.
Seeing my face, he slurred ‘giesasmiledoll’ (this is a language known in Glasgow as ‘Bampot’ – the English translation is: ‘Please can you cheer up and smile at me’)
So I did what most British people would do and stared at my phone as if some very important message had just come through and I must read it very very carefully.
He was not to be put off. ‘”Umahaffendinyamissus’ (again this is bampot language the translation is “Am I offending you?’)
Helen Mirren’s advice popped into my head and I tried to ignore it.
Suddenly I heard someone say ‘Aye you are offending me – so why don’t you take your tiny shrivelled dick and get off the fucking bus at the next stop and give us all some fucking peace’
It took a moment before I realised that it was actually me that had said that. The filter between my brain and my mouth seems to have developed a severe fault.
The bus took a collective gasp – then…. and only in Glasgow would this happen…. I got a wee round of applause.
I couldn’t help myself. ‘You’ I said, pointing at the girlfriend ‘can do better than THAT’ and pointed at the Arse (whose face was now slack in disbelief).
They got off at the next stop to a round of cheers from the bus.
I am not sure if it was good, bad or stupid… But it felt quite good.
I check google to see if Menopause is every used as a mitigating circumstance in a criminal court. It doesn’t appear so. So I have decided to start sorting these ever changing moods out.
My fanny magnet does seem to help … though clearly given evidence above it hasn’t completely stablised my emotions. I have had a look at the various supplements recommended but it is a bloody minefield. Some sites say there is not scientific evidence to back up their effectiveness. Others say they will make you as serene as Jane Seymour. There are also so many of them – magnesium, chromium, vitamin B12; vitamin B6; Black Cohosh and a million others. But will they help? They are so bloomin expensive. But maybe I will do some more research. I will pop into Holland and Barrett and have a wee look at what they have tomorrow. And then I am just going to pick one. Just one. For the moods.
I just checked google again – if you are suffering the same – you are in good company. 70% of menopausal woman describe irritability as the main emotional problem of the menopause.
Maybe as a tribute to the lovely poet Jenny Joseph who died last week we should all “make up for the sobriety of our youth” and give ourselves permission to do exactly as we please now and then (unless that involves being horrible lovely young man whose driving a red corsa and probably works in mental health – just be lovely to him if you see him).
PS – Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4 is focussing on the menopause all this week – am just off to have a listen as lots of people have been recommending it to me
PPS – please make me feel better and post the worst things you have done when dealing with menopausal moods!