I never knew until Woman’s Hour this morning that they call it a flood.
A bleed so heavy you are scared to leave the house. With me they started as peri menopause set in. (Note. Not every woman experiences them) I was in recovery from years of pregnancy losses (natural conceptions) and unsuccessful IVF. I thought this was just the next thing. And soon after this started regularly, I was involved in care for my mother. And I assumed the grief that came with them was all part of that.
At the same time my migraines got worse, really extreme. To the point I hoped I’d die (it’s hard to admit because it feels -well *hysterical* to own such emotions. Real migraine doctors get it. Most GPs in my experience don’t) – to the point I thought I was worthless and should die.
I was ashamed of the bleeding and the pain and the feelings.
I’ve kept quiet for years because it’s not nice and my strength and ability to keep going are very important to me. I’m self employed. I don’t want people to think I’m unreliable. I’m not. I manage my migraines so that I can work. But this episode in my life made that very difficult.
Today I’m writing because I’ve just heard a brilliant broadcast on BBC woman’s hour sharing such menopause flood experiences.
1) There are choices. You can get help. Ask and keep asking your GP practice. Don’t -like me – leave empty-handed when a 25 year old locum tells you you are managing it and then sit on the stairs outside the consulting room weeping tears of rage. Don’t -like me – stop putting yourself up for jobs because you’re worried you can’t hold them down. Get the help you need. It’s there and it’s your right.
2) I’m grateful to the woman who wrote in to Woman’s Hour to say that the Flood rebounded her to her experience of miscarriage. Yes.yes.yes. That’s exactly what it was like for me. And for me this played havoc with my mental health. And it took me a full two years before I landed on a GP who would listen.
This is just my story and it’s not true for everyone. I wish you a merry pain-free menopause.
However this kind of story and In my role as health spokesperson for the Women’s Equality Party, I hear more every week, this kind of story is why we in the Women’s Equality Party are calling for equality in healthcare and medical research.
All women whatever their background may need support at this time. All CCGs should be prioritising support for GP training in Peri-menopause /menopause and more research is needed.
Women are more than their biology but whether she’s given birth or not, by choice or not, most women will experience a change during the perimenopause and the menopause. It is both a physical and a mental health issue.
Often it strikes us just as we are moving into employment phases when our careers really flourish. We shouldn’t be losing this time or this earning potential. We shouldn’t be losing our leisure time, our chance to participate in family and faith activities.
We need better access and equal access to health care information and services.
Help us campaign for them! And don’t forget to get them for yourself.