MRS B ON BEING A BANSHEE
A Day in the life of... by Karen Brumfitt
It started well, the sun was shining, I'd had this photo taken at 8am but by 8.15 I've got The Rage. Why am I having another pointless argument with my husband about the phone charger?, why hasn't he bought tickets for the school concert yet? (I swear I told him... did I really forget or is he gaslighting?) and why have we no coffee? Frustration, forgetfulness and foul mood.
I lost an hour somewhere, not unusual these days, I was probably at the top of the stairs wondering why I’m there or aimlessly looking in the fridge and concocting special dinners with lashings of arsenic and vitriol for said husband!
Later (time is irrelevant some days), I find myself at the doctor’s, for a quick 10 minute job that should be uneventful. But I’m still smarting and feeling emotional from the row earlier and now I’m dreading this. I’m tired and nervous about the blood test, however, the nurse is a joy. With her calm, efficient and chatty persona, she relaxes me and does it quickly, less time for me to pfaff and tell her it makes me feel faint.
Guess what? I nearly fainted over 10ml of blood. This gem of a nurse asks me how I’m feeling. Hmm… that’s a dangerous question to ask any woman, right? I’m stoic in my response “I’m having a bad day, it’s just the menopause”. She sympathetically replies “Just? You need to be kind to yourself”.
Well, you can guess what happened next. I break down, I feel so foolish - but she is kind and gentle - my feet are raised and with a glass of water I slowly regain my equilibrium. That's sisterhood for you and, after five minutes, I leave and feel thankful for this angel of the NHS. But then the s**t really hits the proverbial fan!
I’m stoic in my response “I’m having a bad day, it’s just the menopause”. She sympathetically replies “Just? You need to be kind to yourself”.
The banshee in me
Back at the car park, some inconsiderate jerk has parked so close to me that I can’t get into my car! Like a true banshee I fling open the passenger door, scrunch up, scramble over one seat and finally flop down in the driver’s seat. Rage, despair, torrential tears follow. A black cloud descends. And here it cometh - my cheeks turn vermillion red, I have a tingling sensation in my forearms which makes my hairs stand up, I have legs like strawberry jelly and I am raging like a women possessed. This seems to continue for an eternity but the chaos in my body and head eventually subsides into sobs and lots of muttered expletives. Deep breath, deep breath, I silently chant, you over reacted. I have to get home, I turn the key and drive through what seems like the biggest deluge of tears ever.
Me and the Meno-P
I pull up outside my house and check to make sure there are no twitching curtains or friends close by because I look and feel atrocious, lousy, rough but most of all sad.
A dishevelled sprint to the door ensues, I look like I’ve been on a bender and just got home from the night before. Inside I make a cuppa, eat a brownie and decide something positive has to come out of what has been a horrendous morning, yep that was just the morning.
On a sugar high and with a renewed sense of positivity, I write my first post on social media called 'Me and the Meno-P' (cos we’re not supposed to say Menopause... sshhh!)' and this is the sad part. For as long as I’ve been Menopausal it has always been a taboo subject. Start a chat about this in a public place and there will be a furrowed brow or two, crowds will visibly part like the sea in the bible and you’ll be swallowed whole - ok that’s an exaggeration but you get my drift. Talk about this with your girlfriends and you’ll feel included - it’s a girl gang, you’re not alone. You share stories and crack up so much your tummy will ache and you’ll pee yourself laughing... just a tiny bit.
The Menopause is a rollercoaster ride and experiencing emotion, fatigue, meno-fog, heat, rage and then confidence all in a day, is pretty much... well, normal and as the darling nurse said, we need to be kind to ourselves.
So what or who is Flamin Nora?
Flamin Nora is a feminist blog born on a fifty something weekender and questions why this profound natural event that affects women to varying degrees, is so often hidden behind jokes and embarrassment. The menopause is no joke and we shouldn’t be embarrassed by something that is a natural event in our lives. So I’m not hiding - neither is Nora and you shouldn’t either. Instead, let's share our stories, empower each other and grow awareness. So c’mon girls, let’s get it out there - be loud, be proud and be positive!