Finding My Way Through Menopause & Discovering I Was Enough - Maxine's Journey
When our foundations are this knowledgeable, we can build strong.
Content warning. This post and video contains content that discusses suicide and other material that may be difficult for some viewers and readers.
It's hard to imagine that ten years ago, I sat in bed wanting to not be here anymore, too frightened to put the bin out. The menopause revolution hadn't begun in 2013, and boy, I am glad it not only started but has rocketed.
I want no other women to feel as I did on that day. I felt numb as if I was experiencing life through blurred vision. It was almost as if I was a spectator watching someone else's life. In this life, but not fully submerged. I thought I was going mad, and my doctor assumed I was depressed.
Menopause and perimenopause can be crippling, distressing and downright disempowering, often leaving many vulnerable or, as I was, suicidal.
'Remember, everyone has their own story. No matter how they portray themselves.'
The unseen and unheard. But look at where we are now in 2023 amid a revelation for all women, regardless of age. We are finally being seen and heard with not only medication, but the ability to have conversations.
Everyone's perimenopause and menopause journeys are different, with symptoms varying from person to person. Mine was one of adjustment, often stopping me in my tracks. Alongside seeking professional advice and HRT, it demanded that I stop, observe, explore, acknowledge, mourn, and adjust. Then, when I had finally worked through the process, accept.
Given my own experience, this can also be a time of self-discovery. Some of you may have also been stopped in your tracks by menopause; some of you, like me, may not even realise some of the things you were experiencing could be menopause related.
Many changes often accompany this time of our lives, such as a grieving period, grieving the things that we have enjoyed that have come to a sudden and final stop, grieving the family that was, and for me the picking up from school, the family dinners, the house full of chatter and laughter; you're probably even grieving the sibling arguments. And for some, if having a child was never part of that plan whether that be by choice, or not, morning the loss of the even the ability to be able to, it's OK, just let yourself go through this.
Acknowledge it, and allow yourself to feel the pain if needed.
This time may also involve a wee celebration of an end to the things we didn't enjoy so much but dutifully carried out, day in and day out—washing, ironing, cooking, washing up, shopping, and, let us not forget, putting the bin out!
Some grieving could be about the physical symptoms:
- Being unable to think as sharply as you once could.
- The dry eyes.
- Not knowing how you are supposed to dress or look anymore.
I would look at my wardrobe and spend hours putting on the clothes I used to love, looking in the mirror and hating them. I put on the make-up I had always worn and wondered who was looking back at me. Then there are the ageing effects on the face, the skin, the results of gravity, the not-so-bright teeth, and the not-so-youthful head of hair. I hear from many ladies not understanding where they are, mourning who they used to be. But due to the situation I found myself in, I was forced to:
It became a moment to reflect on my achievements and the many years, even decades, spent perhaps raising a family and supporting partners and friends, both emotionally and physically. For some of us, it will be reflecting on careers and commitments or the caring environments we have created for everyone.
See it as a mental and physical declutter. Feel what's not working for you and get rid of it. Sweep the path clear, and you may find yourself fully ready for the next stage in your life and everything it offers.
And you may find yourself in a place where you can look at yourself and love and accept all you see, every blemish and every wrinkle. And dare I say, fall in love with the person you are today, all you've endured and enjoyed.
For me, I am exactly where I'm supposed to be, physically and mentally. If you do one thing, please allow yourself this gift, and I promise that acceptance and much more will follow.
Strong In Your Skin series, with Emma Willis
Watch Episode 1 of our Strong In Your Skin series 💛
In this episode, Emma sits down with Maxine and Darcy Laceby, mother-daughter duo and co-founders of Absolute Collagen, to talk about their own stories of strength leading them to embrace their authentic selves and launch Absolute Collagen. They discuss Maxines own journey through the menopause, being a mother and the creation of Absolute Collagen.