Posted by : Selma

I am 42. I’m married. I have an 11-year old son and 4 goldfish. I live in a nice part of Sydney and have lots of great friends. My job is bearable. My first novel is under consideration by a publisher. I have just started blogging and am enjoying it. I smile a lot (particularly after a bottle of red and a block of dark chocolate.) I always look on the bright side. Until today.

I’ve just come back from an appointment with my doctor. I have been experiencing unusual symptoms in unprecedented numbers. It’s freaking me out. My doctor is a kindly lady in her fifties. Her presence immediately offers reassurance. She is well-informed and sympathetic, but her pronouncement yesterday was as grating as nails down a blackboard.

Perimenopause. You’re going through perimenopause.
Wait a minute. You mean there’s a prologue to menopause?
I’m afraid so.
How long does it last?
Anywhere from 2 to 8 years.
You are joking.
I’m deadly serious.

Perimenopause marks the interval in which your body begins its transition into menopause. Symptoms you can expect to encounter include: hot flashes, sleep problems, sudden mood changes, an increase in the ‘bad cholesterol’ in your blood which raises the risk of heart disease, loss of bone density, and urinary incontinence. Wow! It sounds even better than the real thing. All this and then the experience of the real menopause at the end of it. It’s almost too good to be true.

Like a politician who has little time to concentrate on domestic policy, I am ignoring the leering face of my perimenopause in the hope it will go away; but it hovers at my shoulder, jeering, making fun – a ghostly voiceover in the normally upbeat soundtrack of my life.

Rachelle (don’t forget the second ‘l’ and the ‘e’ on the end) and I went out for coffee this morning. A policeman walking the beat said :”Morning Ma’am.” Rachelle was delighted. “Oooooh, wasn’t he polite?” she chirped. I was too miffed to concur. He was actually saying :”Morning, Ma’am” to me, while looking at Rachelle as if he wanted to frisk her in unmentionable places. This is the symptom of perimenopause the doctors won’t tell you about. It’s as taboo a subject as how often married couples actually have sex. (Three times a week ? More like three times a millennium.)

The symptom which cannot be named is invisibility. Perimenopausal women of a certain age are not seen as women by men 35 and under. The uneven rise and fall of our oestrogen and progesterone levels masks our true selves; we become insubstantial images, negatives in our own slideshow. Overnight we fall off the radar.

My friend, Lottie, who is 52 and going through the menopause proper warned me about it. “It’s like we surrender our sexuality overnight.” Lottie is vibrant and gorgeous. She split with her husband ten years ago when she herself was perimenopausal, and as she says, it’s been a long time between drinks.

I’m not saying I require wolf whistles from building sites and complete strangers asking me if I come here often, to feel good about myself; but, hey, every little bit helps – especially when you spend the day tottering on a mood pendulum that wavers between a euphoria akin to having two tabs of ecstasy for breakfast washed down with half a bottle of vodka – and the bleak despair of a teenager with an acne problem.

There’s only one thing for it. Perimenopause schmerimenopause. I need to revert to my default setting for combatting a crisis. Vodka, chocolate, shoes and loud behaviour. If I’m going to be perimenopausal, at least I can be a princess about it!


  1. I’m with you, Meleah Rebeccah, sometimes the only way to deal with an unpalatable situation is to party, party, party until at least 8.30PM. (I am getting on a bit, you know.)


  2. Hey, I liked your blog. It’s very nice.
    Congratulations on your texts!

    I’m from Brazil and I’ve visited your blog, it’s cool to know a little life of other people, isn’t it?

    Anyway, your blog is very nice. Bye!


  3. Oh, how in the world did I miss this post??? It’s wonderful. As a fellow sufferer, I can totally relate to the whole cotton picking mess. Hot flashes that make me ill, but don’t come at any regular interval or get set off by any particular thing. Sleep… what is sleep? I would love to get through an entire night without getting up to pee.

    Itchy skin. Oh. My. Lord. I am “this close” to replacing my sheets with sandpaper. I’ve already replaced my laundry detergent, bath soap, and shampoo. I’m running out of options.

    Short temper. Not that it was very long to begin with, but now… gaaahhhh.

    Wanting to throttle the cop who called me “middle aged.” enough said there, thank you very much.

    Ok. I’m done. I’ll go back to the current post now and stop ranting about being a sweaty, hairy (oh, did I mention the chin hair? No? Well, it’s there), itchy, broad.


  4. I am going through a bout of procrastination and overwhelminess (Don’t know if you can say that) and figured what better way to put a smile on my face was to go read your blog! Don’t know how but I somehow landed at the beginning of your blog. I was about to hit reload when this post caught my eye!

    I think I am experiencing this because of my Tamoxifen – let me tell you I am way too young to be going through any kind of menopause. I hate it! I hate the hot flashes and I guess now I know why I feel as if I always have to pee LOL! At least I don’t turn red with the hot flashes but it is sure a weird feeling to all of sudden feel as if your body just became a furnace!

    I wonder if munchies are part of menopause? If i would have junk food at home I think I would constantly be eating chips and chocolate but I don’t keep that stuff around so I just get cravings… But I think tomorrow I may buy me a KIT KAT!


  5. TBALL:
    Wow. This post is a blast from the past. There is so much more involved in the menopause than we think. I am blaming everything I can think of on it. But yeah – the hot flashes are the worst. A really weird feeling!


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