Invisible Illness #3

I took Diazepam for the first time in a few months. I had been sitting staring at my laptop with my head in my hands since I opened it at 07.30. I was feeling completely lost and unable to cope when I asked myself, why must I struggle?

Last night I watched a documentary on the Menopause. It triggered me in some way. The host, Davina McCall, spoke openly about perimenopause aged 44. The programme introduced me new ideas, explained some of my problems and catapulted me into a new realm of what if’s? For years I have wanted others to understand how I felt, how confusing life is when attempting to explain to an uninterested GP, but after I was quiet. I was shocked at how common a female experience this was.

My infertility was announced to me by result of a test looking for Anti-Mullerian Hormone. Around that time, although I cannot be sure as I swiftly commenced a nervous breakdown, I was sent to University College London Hospital for endocrine testing. I believe now that it was to see if I had an auto-immune disease or premature ovarian failure; would I be seen by Endocrinology or Gynaecology? This was never fully established and a tug of war over my health began for the next few years.

The endocrinologist was amazing. She went through EVERYTHING. She screened my bloods taking sixteen vials from me three times over two years and at the end, she offered me HRT patches. Back at the GP’s office they were dismissed as ridiculous (I was too young to be in my menopause despite the absence of menses) and put me on anti-depressants and hormones at the request of the gynaecologist, the side effects so bad I wanted to end my life.

Fast forward to today. I have been feeling over-whelmed, anxious and low for months. The resurgence of ill health makes me spiral and the spaghetti brain is back. Last night, as I watched the documentary I listened to countless women share their symptoms of menopause and the struggle for a diagnosis or treatment which sounded much like my own. I remember the new consultant from last year who when I explained that I had several menopause symptoms but also suspected I had endometriosis of the umbilicus, He shook his head dismissively. ‘How can you have endometriosis (from the over production of oestrogen) AND have menopause which is the depletion of oestrogen?’ I had no answer from him, I simply was telling him my complaints.

I finish today much as it started. Low, unhappy, overwhelmed and unable to do much. Could the correct balance of hormones help me? Would HRT provide some relief? I am not so sure. What is wrong with me, will I ever find out?

Time ticks slowly by. I remain in mental and physical pain, everyday the same.

Davina McCall; Sex, Myths and Menopause is available to watch on channel4

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