Change isn’t always good


Last night was one of those nights.  One of those nights where you go to bed tired but wake up in the small hours wide awake.    For me, lately, 1.50 a.m. seems to be the significant wake up time.

Two hours of half sleep and fidgeting and I finally drifted off again.  This is happening a lot these days.  I blame my hormones.  I am in the midst of the menopause.

Before it started, I must admit that I thought women who went on about how awful it was were a little melodramatic.  Come on, I thought, it’s just like PMT only more erratic, surely?  Well, I got THAT wrong, didn’t I?

The menopause can consume you if you let it.  I won’t let it but it has a damn good try every now and then.  Hot flushes that wake you hourly, the insomnia that seems to kick in at any time, usually when you HAVE to be up early or have a very long day ahead of you, the feeling that everyone around you hates you (yes, paranoia is a symptom of the menopause) and the general tiredness that can only be compared to the feeling of being drugged.  This is not an exhaustive list either, it is just the way I experience it.

I think the worst bit is that you have no way of knowing when it’s coming or how long it will last.  It isn’t present ALL the time thankfully but, when it happens, it’s a nightmare.  I am not alone in this experience, I know.

However, some research into the symptoms, and how they are experienced by women worldwide, shows some interesting differences.  In Japan, for example, the most reported symptoms are headache and pain in the shoulders.   They do not seem to experience the other symptom I have described above, yet these are prevalent in Western society.  A possible explanation is the diet, rich in soya protein.  Here, we eat very little soya protein, generally, and too much processed food.

In some cultures, there are no physical symptoms at all and there are various possible explanations for this, aside from the dietary aspect.  In some cultures, women are perceived as unclean when they are menstruating and the menopause provides a welcome sign that they are no longer outcasts at certain times of the month.   The menopause signals the end of the reproductive phase of a woman’s life and this can be a blessing in some places where childbirth carries a high risk of mortality or where it takes women away from being a useful member of the labour force.  This positive connotation is thought to affect the experience of the menopause.

Here in the west, we see the menopause differently.  It announces that we are getting old and that we are no longer able to compete with younger, fertile women.  It means sagging skin, osteoporosis, lack of sex drive.   Here, the social construct is against the menopause.   It provides one explanation of why women in more developed countries find it so difficult to cope with and, possibly, experience it in a less than positive way.

Exercise is also known to help with symptoms and it is probably fair to say that we are not as healthy as we should be here in the UK (I am using the UK  as an example purely because this is where I live but this is just as true of the USA and many other countries).   A woman living in a small tribal village, with no car and no job that involves sitting in front of a computer all day, is not going to have to worry about fitting in time to go to th gym – indeed, her daily activities probably amount to more exercise than I get in a month!

Obviously, I am generalising.  There will be women reading this who lead a very healthy lifestyle and who do not experience major problems with the menopause (or they have taken the cheat’s option, like me, and opted for HRT!).

Clearly, there are a lot of factors that influence how we experience this time in our life, I haven’t even touched on genetics, but I think it’s fair to say we CAN help ourselves to a certain extent. 

So why don’t I??

Mastering the Art

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I am just in the final throes of a Masters course.  It’s been tough.  That’s why I have mentioned it several times already in my short blogging life on this site! It isn’t the intellectual challenge.  Oh no, that is the easy part – it’s the LIFE challenge that is causing the problems

Yesterday, I was on the phone to a colleague who, it turns out, is also in the final stages of a Master’s degree.  We exchanged stories……

I realised how MAD we must be.  I mean, come on, I’m almost FIFTY TWO….what on earth am I DOING? I’m working full-time in a pretty demanding job (public sector, I’ll say no more), trying to fit in a social life and STUDYING?????  I’ve studied pretty much all of my adult life.  I am a serial studier.  But NOW?  When I should be thinking about my pension plan?  And how best to cope with the menopause????

My friend and I compared tales of how we are just not able to do ‘all-nighters’ anymore, of how we cannot understand why academics have to use such BIG words and incredibly complicated sentences to say something quite simple, of how wine is so much more appealing than reading and, simply, we questioned what on EARTH possessed us to embark on these ventures when there is absolutely NO reward at the end of it.  Unless you count the graduation ceremony where you get to wear a silly hat.

Yes, this is most definitely my final academic commitment. 


It is


Having joined this site and realising how little I understand about computers and how to make my blog look pretty, the thought of doing a computer-related course has crossed my mind.

Somebody please stop me?

p.s. Did I mention my course is a Masters in Addictions? (insert whistley type emoticon here)