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Image / Agenda / Image Writes

PCH.VECTOR

Is this weariness from perimenopause, wine, summer pressure or back to school prep?


by Lizzie Gore-Grimes
10th Aug 2022

Is it the perimenopause hormones or just the fact that it’s mid-August that has Lizzie Gore-Grimes feeling rubbish?

I am rubbing the Oestrogel into my upper arm like there’s no tomorrow, but I still feel like crap. Not helped by the fact that said rubbing sets off Louis Theroux’s catchy little number in my head “My money don’t jiggle-jiggle, it folds…” Except, in my version, the lyrics go “My arms don’t just jiggle-jiggle, they roll!” This perimenopause double whammy of drop in mood and gain in weight really is some sh*t sandwich.

I was having dinner with my friend Maebh the other night and we were both bemoaning the fact that the low-mood isn’t even properly formed, it’s just a kind of utterly non-descript flatness. “I feel like I could just stick a sticker on my forehead with ‘I don’t care’ written in caps, so if anyone asks me a question, they have my answer,” she said sort-of-laughing, sort-of-crying. I agreed wholeheartedly, asked her to make me one too, and pass the wine.

Trust the French to come up with the perfect word – ennui – to capture this exact low-level listlessness. Mind you, if French women don’t get fat and French children don’t throw food, my guess is the French simply don’t do the menopause. Far too messy.

I’m trying to be on it. I have a brilliant GP, Dr Sonja Bobart, who has a real interest in women’s health, perimenopause and menopause. As a working mum of three daughters herself she really gets the juggle of this stage in life.

I’m on low-dose HRT, I’ve had my bloods done and have a Dexa scan (bone health) and mammogram (breast health) booked in for early September. But if I am completely honest there is one devil in the mix that I know is a key factor in the low mood/fleshy arm combo, and that’s the aforementioned wine. Forget Christmas drinking, I don’t know what it is about the summer and me, but it’s my absolute nadir. Any bit of bright weather and I seem to use it as an excuse to open a bottle of wine, and let’s face it the weather has been good, so I’ve slipped down that alcohol-slicked slope and just feel rubbish as a result.

The summer lack of structure also unsettles me. In precisely the way other people relish the looseness and break from routine that the summer months bring, I find it chaotic. And this precise time, mid-August is nearly the worst for me. The pressure of the school books and uniform list, which I somehow always refuse to look at until last minute – and always that feeling that I’ve somehow let the summer slip by and haven’t done enough with, and for, the kids – which is absurd.

They’ve had a great summer and so what if they’ve been bored certain weeks when we’ve been busy working? The pressure on working parents to feel they need to be Ents Officer as well as disciplinarian and perfect parent to boot is just too much.

But if there’s one thing I’ve gained over the summer, apart from the wine-weight, is the release from at least being able to talk about it and have a good collective moan about the mid-life haywire hormones. This July also marked 12 months since I joined Headon Boxing Academy and it’s amazing how therapeutic letting it out against a punching bag can be.

For now, I look forward to September and the order it will bring, with a renewed determination to keep up the boxing, eliminate the mid-week boozing, and haul myself out of this funk.

My arms will no doubt continue to jiggle-jiggle but at least they’ll pack a mean right-hook. Well sort of.

Illustration by Pch.Vector.