The Old Hag…..Before Her Time.

The Old Hag…..Before Her Time.

Lately I have been under so much stress with various things I have forgotten at times how to smile.

Something that has come up for me a lot is insecurity and anxiousness. The constant battle between what you think, how you feel and where you want to be. This manifests itself so differently day-to-day and the unpredictability is nauseating….Hormones huh!

I cannot quite shake this ‘old hag’ feeling I have. I feel I am 80 years old sometimes, I am 28!… 28 and feeling like I am post womanhood. I do not feel very feminine most of the time, I feel frumpy and frankly like shit. My legs ache when climbing stairs, I mean what’s up with that? I feel pain most days and just utter exhaustion, which obviously doesn’t help my mental well-being. All symptoms of premature ovarian failure.

Whilst it is worth acknowledging many menopausal women feel this way, it has been suggested by medical professionals that this is heightened when a woman experiences it younger.

I often look at photographs pre-diagnosis – oh the joys of ‘timehop’ and ‘facebook’ memories!… And I should be looking at these photos thinking ‘that was such fun’, yet I find myself yearning for that younger self. I grieve that person, that woman, that girl, who had no life changing condition (or at least no knowledge of it) and the fun I felt and the beauty I felt I was.

Now, now I feel like an old hag, who is past her prime. The leftover meat nobody wants, the fat off the bacon if you like… and what is worse, is that even these feelings are invisible, just like my diagnosis, totally unseen and when spoken go unheard. I fear seeing people, fear seeing women bearing children and looking so healthy with it and I fear women my age who look slim and beautiful. My body has been dealt the short straw and feels none of these things. I struggle to lose weight, I struggle to feel energised, I struggle to feel worthy.

I certainly have not asked for this and the ‘unknown’ cause to this diagnosis feeds this paranoia I am sure. This also feels the complete opposite to how I ‘morally’ feel the world should be. We should all love one another irrespective of how we look? Right?

But we live in a world where we strive to be seen, listened to and appreciated, yet everyone is busy fighting or flighting or so consumed by themselves, their jobs, their finances, THEIR feelings. Which can make this place of loneliness even more debilitating and makes me question…

Where does this old hag belong?…

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To laugh, or not to laugh?…

I have spent a few hours really debating to myself whether to post this or not.

But even this morning I have been chatting to people who are experiencing the heart wrench that is infertility. And discussing Menopausal symptoms that are heightened for many due to being so young.

It really does affect your quality of life.

I’m the first to admit that I love a good laugh. And we may all laugh at posts/pictures/memes etc that humour our life experiences.

So right now I am having a real battle, as whilst I appreciate the funny side to this image for those who it will relate to. There is also a defiance in my heart that I am truly fed up of seeing shit like this…

So what do I do?…

I feel some responsibility to speak out for individuals in my situation. For those individuals who would really be offended and quite hurt by this. But I also understand that this condition is unknown to many, therefore is there malice involved? Probably not.

However, it is ignorant and in order to prevent some of that ignorance, awareness needs to be raised.

As someone who has to live everyday with a diagnosis, with symptoms, with hormonal imbalances, with stigma, with isolation and with infertility. I do feel the need to raise awareness that actually posts like this are not ok.

It is a reminder of what we cannot have and how having POI is so life changing!

#mentalhealthawarenessweek

#raisingawareness

#preventingstigmas

Mental Health Awareness Week – Premature Ovarian Insufficiency.

Mental Health Awareness Week – Premature Ovarian Insufficiency.

POF is enough to drive anyone crazy and I don’t mean the dating site!…

Jokes aside, having premature ovarian failure/insufficiency has a HUGE impact on an individuals mental health.

When we think of mental health, we instantly assume the worst. Whether it’s mild depression to someone actively attempting suicide due to feeling so desperate and helpless.

We forget though, that our mental health and state of mind can be good too. And we have all experienced GOOD mental health, we just forget what this feels like far quicker than we forget what it feels like to experience poor mental health. For example, if I asked you now to think of a time when you felt really sad, I am sure it is far easier to recall, than if I asked you to think of a time you where you were really happy.

Why is this? Have we become so consumed by what we haven’t got rather than what we have got? Are we obsessed with greed?

This past week I have made a point of looking at the sky everyday and being thankful just to be alive. I will look at the moon and remind myself how beautiful the night sky can be and how grateful I am to see it.

However, I cannot deny the negativity I have felt over the past two years or so since my POI diagnosis. I can definitely recall a few times where I felt my mental health was in the worst possible state I had ever known. I will not deny that sometimes I felt like dying. And I will not deny feeling incredibly pissed off at the world, at God, at my family, my friends and at myself.

I have failed.

I have failed at motherhood before it even began and I have failed at detecting the early warning signs of my condition. I have failed at becoming a grandparent, I have failed at providing my parents with grandchildren. I have failed at giving my siblings opportunities to become aunts and uncles.

I have failed at living my life for my age, menopause free. I have failed at experiencing this life changing transition when i am supposed to, at the average age of 51…

I have just failed.

These are all feelings that overpowered my mind at diagnosis. And even now they can still creep up on me, sometimes It feels like only yesterday I was informed.

The difference is, hindsight and reflection is teaching me the importance of good mental health.

To have failure we must also experience achievement.

I have achieved at keeping my head above water, even when I felt like I was on my last breath mid-drown.

I have achieved at carrying my body when I felt I couldn’t even stand.

I have achieved at waking up every morning.

I have achieved working full time and studying, regardless of having a fatigue condition.

I have achieved at raising awareness and creating bonds with others who have POI/infertility.

I have achieved at smiling through unimaginable pain.

And my biggest achievement has to be biting my tongue and holding it together, when others do not censor what they say or how they act towards someone going through a life changing experience. And believe that shit is tough!

I have felt the upset, the rage, the guilt, the throbbing in my womb and the throbbing in my heart since diagnosis. But I have also felt growth, wisdom, unconditional love and the warmth from empathetic reactions.

I am grateful for my mental health. It has put up with a lot. But also taught me more than I could ever imagine.

My eyes are open, my heart is pure.

Whatever stage you are at in life, if you have POI, infertility or neither of these. Ask yourself, how is your mental health today?

#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.

SELF – PRESERVATION

SELF – PRESERVATION

S E L F – P R E S E R V A T I O N

This months theme is self-preservation.
The idea behind this theme has come from an experience I had at the GP surgery this week which got me thinking.

I was waiting for an appointment for yet another blood pressure check (this seems to be the latest ‘issue’ due to premature ovarian failure!) and whilst in the waiting area, a family of 5 entered and sat next to me. The mother is openly stressing about the difficulties of having her two daughters off school during the half term. Her daughter, appearing to be aged 6 or thereabouts, was wearing a sequined t-shirt.

The sequins on her t-shirt could be moved to make various shapes and patterns.

Her stepdad said “Draw a massive penis…..” and proceeded to carve out just that on his young stepdaughter’s t-shirt.

The 6 something year old was pulling away asking to go and play with her sister but seemingly ignorant to those around them, the Mum and stepdad laughed and went on to add explicit ‘details’ to their ‘drawing’.

Now (hopefully) anybody would be absolutely appalled, as I was, with witnessing this. Admittedly, I did not say anything as I was unsure of the reaction I may receive. I also cannot explain how experiences like this can make an infertile person feel. When you are robbed of an opportunity to have a life that you thought would always be available to you, then suddenly everything changes, it seems more difficult to stomach such occurrences.

Tolerance, responses and reactions to everyday situations change due to heightened sensitivity and emotions, which is the case for anybody who has had to deal with a life changing circumstance. For example someone grieving a close sibling may become more frustrated by any strained relationships others may have with their siblings, particularly if they are taken for granted. It is that whole “Well at least you still have a ‘brother'” scenario.

Anyway, what I have taken from this experience, as well as many others that I have unfortunately encountered over the years, is that self-preservation is key. I have had to ‘manage’ my own limits and learn to remove myself both physically and emotionally from such situations that compromise my well-being. I do this by doing the things I love. It is far from easy making time to do all of these things but when I do I reap the benefits. Just spending quality time with my boyfriend, listening to music, go for a walk or playing on my violin can help distract my mind from the power that is over thinking.

I am not oblivious to what is happening around me but I CHOOSE not to let it bog me down. I CHOOSE not to allow my energy (which let’s face it is near to zero as it is) to be robbed by others. I CHOOSE not to allow experiences such as drawing phallic images on an innocent child’s top weigh me down any more than it possibly should because I cannot conceive myself.

I CHOOSE SELF-PRESERVATION….

P.S…….You can too!

x

TIME . . .

TIME . . .

Doesn’t it feel like March is here in no time but then disappears just like that…

We are in the middle of March now and for my ‘justovaryacting’ Facebook page I have been having a theme of the month that started in January. However, I have come to realise that I haven’t picked one for this month yet and I am running out of TIME.

So, this got me thinking…what is it about time that causes such barriers in our lives. What could we do if we had more time? How much time do we waste on unimportant things?

You often hear people say;

“It’s too late now…”

“If only we had more time with them…”

“I need more time…”

Time has become such a detrimental aspect of our lives and can have quite negative feelings/experiences attached to it. “She is being moody, must be her ‘TIME’ of the month…” I wonder how often the use of time damages us psychologically. I know that personally this month, nearly everyday I have been beating myself up about not thinking of a theme for my page and that time is running out. The truth is, my blogs and support page are all done in my own time, unpaid and purely from my passionate, giving nature. I want to raise awareness and I want to support others who are experiencing the same thing, however I also have a life, a very busy life and sometimes the things I want to do get pushed aside, due to TIME.

So, it seemed logical to me to make this months theme about TIME. Premature ovarian insufficiency is very much about time;

Time that has run out to biologically have children, time of starting menopause early – or time for ‘the change’ as it is often referred by, time to take medication, time to start fertility treatment, time to end fertility treatment, the right time to tell others, time to grieve, time to mourn a life you have never had, time to accept, times of the year (Mother’s Day, Christmas etc) time to rest, the right time to tell potential lovers, time to focus on careers….I could go on.

Since diagnosis in 2016 it has felt very much that time has become more significant than ever. Mostly I have felt what a waste of time the previous 26 years of my life has been. I had grown up with the idealistic view that my health would be great, I would meet a man, get a house, marry and have children, because isn’t that what we are brought up to believe? So being diagnosed with a life changing condition certainly turned all of my ‘ideal’ upside down and I felt/feel that I am starting out again, finding myself again and rebuilding my life. I certainly feel robbed of choice, of experiences and of time.

All of this being said, time can heal if we allow it to. On reflection I am in a much better place than I was two years ago and hopefully in two more years I can say the same. Everyday brings a new experience with POI and Infertility, but as time passes I learn more and more. Some days are harder than others admittedly, timing is rubbish for most things but I do refuse to let time ruin me.

Listen to your body, listen to your mind, listen to your needs, life is too short to waste ‘time’.

X

World Childless Week

World Childless Week

So,

It is nearing the end of world childless week and I have been wanting to write something all week but haven’t really felt ready or had chance to really think about what I wanted to say.

I have read many posts from others who have shared amazing experiences and deep meaningful thoughts which has been so lovely to see, yet so very wounding also. Wounding because I can relate to most and also because it is a sad reality that many suffer infertility. And trust me it is a suffering.

I am not at a stage in my life where children were (before diagnosis) and are now (after diagnosis) a plan for the future (although I always wanted them). It is extremely mind blowing to have to hear you are infertile before you had even considered starting a family, I really did take for granted that it would just happen for me when the time was right.

How wrong I was.

It is very hard to hear of pregnancy announcements. And I feel guilt for saying that it truly pisses me off that some will become parents, when they can barely look after themselves. All of those children taken into care, all of those children neglected, all of those unplanned ‘oh well’ children, all of those irresponsible parents……

In fact, I don’t feel too guilty…. and who can really blame me?

It’s been a tough few months for me personally. This diagnosis of premature ovarian failure (early menopause) has quite literally kicked the shit out of me both physically and mentally.

It is just still so RAW.

But I am not writing this for pity. I simply ask that more acknowledgment is given to such a shit diagnosis. I ask that you bare in mind your loved ones who may be struggling with fertility, struggling because they cannot be a mother/father, struggling that they won’t be a grandparent, struggling because they have suffered loss of their child/children, struggling because of struggling!…..

Send them a text, give them a call or squeeze them extra tight next time you see them.

“You cannot erase someone’s pain, but you could help it hurt a little less…..”

X

Explaining The Unexplainable.

Explaining The Unexplainable.

Lately I have felt all over the place. One day I feel I’ve regained a little control, the next, is like trying to ride a horse that has no legs. But I cannot get over this overwhelming anxiety that seems to have really come to the surface over the last few weeks.

Interestingly I recently changed my HRT to an oestrogen patch and progesterone pill, therefore I do wonder whether this is having a huge impact on my physical and psychological state.

But how do you differentiate YOUR feelings to the feelings that the HRT may be influencing? If my natural feelings are off will this influence the HRT? I just don’t know.

I feel like a crumb of my former self. Which I can only explain as being totally heart wrenching. When my diagnosis came out last April I was so prepared to get ‘on top’ of it all and naively assumed that within a few months I would have ‘it’ (whatever that may be) under control. But the truth is I’ve never felt more out of control.

The biggest problem I face though is trying to explain the day to day feelings I get to those who I love. Because obviously this impacts them too. However, as many women who are experiencing the same as I will know, the impact on them is not even a scratch compared to the impact it has on us, on me.

So explaining why my mood changes or feelings change so dramatically is so difficult and upsetting when I don’t even know why……. it is unexplainable.

Naturally we seek answers for things we do not understand. My diagnosis has no apparent cause they told me, I seek answers to something I may never find the real truth to everyday. And that, is particularly hard for others to grasp, no matter how hard they may try. It’s always the unexpected that may trigger this feeling of ‘shit why is this happening to me?’. It is very draining to try and understand that sometimes things just happen. But to be honest ‘things just happen’ is a HUGE patronisation compared to what actually happens day to day for someone going through early menopause and infertility.

What is the right thing to do?

In love, in career, in life?

I simply just do not know. And do you know why?

Because I can’t explain it.

X