Lisa’s determination to not let these period-like symptoms get her down was due to her feeling like she needed to keep going for her boys. At times, Lisa even wondered if she had postpartum depression. Experiencing low mood, horrendous periods, lots of tears, plus painful knees and feet – these signs were dismissed by Lisa as the result of “running around after toddlers”.
When Max and Oliver turned 2 years old, Lisa went back to work, working a 20-hour week. “I began to feel stressed and angry and would often shout at cars on the road! I'd get very hot even when it wasn't a hot day. Though again she had put this down to the everyday stressors of being a working mum, “a few years went by, living with these symptoms and not connecting the dots, anxiety crept in alongside the down feelings, and the frustration.”
Andy, Lisa’s husband, was involved in a life-threatening accident at work, and was “lucky to survive”. With all her symptoms worsening and deeply affecting her day-to-day life, Lisa still tried pushing on through, feeling like she didn’t have time to worry about them as she wanted to help nurse her husband back to health as well as support their boys during this time.
Lisa shared “I kept going, all with these symptoms affecting me… I put my feelings and aches and pains in a box, and got up every day, got ready for work and put on my mask”, convincing herself that she was ‘ok!’.
The aftermath of everything that had happened over the last few months triggered a severe panic attack, Lisa decided it was time to have some counselling, having her suspicions that something wasn’t right. “I even asked my counsellor if there was something more as I wasn’t feeling myself.”
It can be quite an isolating experience, especially when comparing yourself to other women or mums. “I wasn't like my mum friends who were working, they were coping. On the outside everything seemed great! I bottled everything up.” Lisa’s counsellor suggested that she should visit her GP and have some blood tests in case she needed a vitamin jab or something similar. Menopause was not considered by the counsellor due to Lisa’s age.
Lisa shared with us that it wasn’t until January – she had turned 37 in December before – that she walked into the GP’s office, sat down, and burst into tears. Reeling off every single symptom she’d experienced, from mental health to physical pain. Beginning to connect the dots along with some research, it was evident that Lisa was in premature menopause.
Lisa’s GP had supported her and Andy through their infertility treatment, she also knew of her mum becoming premenopausal at the age of 40 because of the infertility questions asked previously.
“We all knew I'd be early, I thought I'd get to forty. She simply said, 'Lisa I'm surprised I've not seen you before now!' I was at the end of my tether, pretty broken if I'm honest.”