How to tell your close friends and family about what you're experiencing
Updated: Mar 25, 2020
Being open and discussing your menopausal symptoms with your partner, closest friends and family will make it easier both for you and for them.
At the menopause the changing hormones in our bodies affect parts of our brain's associated with memories, making memory activation and retrieval heightened during this time. It is normal for hurts and losses you’ve managed to forget or minimise for years to suddenly become overwhelming, even though you might think you should be ‘over’ the pain after all this time.
Also at the menopause, it is normal to start questioning the meaning and value of many of our relationships. You might want to question the way you feel or behave with your closest relationships – parents, children, spouses, friends, and colleagues. They might all need updating.
Here are some key points to guide any conversations you wish to have:
The peri-menopause (the lead-up to the menopause) is a significant natural transition in a women’s life – it is not an illness
It used to be called the ‘change’ – but I will be fundamentally the same woman after it
It can cause some very distressing symptoms, such as hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia, mood changes, changes to the skin and hair
My worst symptoms are …
I can wake up as many as … times a night with sweats
It would make me feel valued and understood if we could talk about how I am feeling and coping from time to time
Sometimes a cuddle is all I want – just to let me know that you care
The night sweats wake me often at night. I am suffering from sleep deprivation which leaves me exhausted. I may need to take a nap during the day
Some days I feel awful due to the lack of sleep but I know I have to carry on. Please try and notice this – it would really help me to know that you are aware of what I am going through, even if there is not much you can do to help
One of the things that might help would be if you did some more chores around the house.
Don’t just assume that I am tired or irritable because of my symptoms. Everyone gets tired or angry at times – I can be tired and angry for other reasons too, just like everyone else
The frequency, variety, and unpredictability of my symptoms can be overwhelming at times – it can feel as though the real ‘me’ is hidden
My symptoms may make me lack concentration or forget things at times but I am not stupid or ‘losing it’ – this is a passing phase and I will return to normal after the menopause
It is important that you know and remember that this will not last forever. I am taking steps to try and help myself – it would be really good if you could help me too