So forgetting New Year Resolutions - way too boring and I always break them anyway, my thoughts have turned to what 2012 will hold for me and mine. Last year was a roller-coaster of a year with lots of changes in terms of family life and work. This year I have a horrible feeling that it is the menopause (or peri-menopause) that will be dominating my life and I really don't know how I feel about this.
There is no escaping the fact that we are all getting older. I will continue to use anti-ageing creams and to buy clothing which isn't too young but doesn't mean I am quite ready to give up yet. And working and playing online across social media is a sure-fire way of keeping young and the old brain cells working well. But there are still plenty of life-changing things around which you cannot avoid and the menopause is one of them.
I know I shouldn't complain - I have got this far without complications, had my family and this is just the natural way of things. My heart genuinely cries out for those who in their early thirties give up contraception to start a family and then find that they can't as they've entered menopausal waters and will need medical intervention to conceive. But I can't help feeling a sense of my own loss and helplessness with the start of some very telling symptoms that can only mean one thing - the menopause beckons.
It has been going on for a while. I have noticed a stupidity streak which is annoying for me but must be very annoying for those who have to live and work closely with me. I can't find my glasses, my work diary, my phone. The radio is too loud. I am highly irritable and snap for no apparent reason - well the reason is more than obvious to me but there you go.
I am definitely finding it harder to lose weight - especially around my middle. And parts of me that were firm and full in the past are now less so - no-one warns you about that one ...
But worst of all is the start of the sweats which are weird and come with no warning. You know that moment of panic that you may get when you think you've left your credit card in a machine or lost a small child in a crowd? The blind panic and the outbreak of sweat which has you instantly dripping... that's what this is like. Although there's no panic or stress involved - you can be fast asleep and wake to your duvet having been kicked off in a near freezing room, or you'll simply be feet up on the sofa watching Eastenders and there you go again, dripping from the chest and radiating out.
This is still (and I cannot believe this as I write it) a taboo subject. Okay girlfriends will share when you bring up the subject but where are the make-over shows or the advice columns? No it ain't sexy but it is real life and as such should be incorporated otherwise you do, and I can confirm this, feel that you are alone with your bereavement. Bereavement? Bit OTT I hear you say! Well to my surprise I do feel it's a bit of a bereavement and although I'm probably a few years off being fully without periods I feel like I'm losing a certain something called my youth. We are a generation for whom 'middle-youth' spelt out never needing to grow old and allow the younger one's to fully take over. We still drank in bars, danced in clubs and dressed from the high-street. We are au fait with current affairs and popular culture and above all we are still relevant. There is nothing like a hot flush and a bout of forgetfulness to remind you that you are mortal and your grip on your youth is slowly being released.
So before this becomes too much of a self-pitying wallow I am going to pull up my extra thick tights and face this thing head on. I am not going down the HRT route (can't due to a pre-existing condition so that is ruled out) and will be trying out the herbal remedies on offer. So this week I am mainly taking sage in tablet form to combat the sweating and will regularly let you know how I get on with that - if I can remember where I put the bottle that is....