I am that girl, yes, that girl living the dream, the one with the lifestyle many would die for. The most wonderful husband, who is devoted, caring and pushes me to achieve all my goals, my best friend, my training buddy, and my business partner. We have a fantastic cycling business, living in the sun in a beautiful part of Spain during the colder months, so basically my hobby has become my job. I have a great group of supportive pals behind me and a daughter who is growing into a strong independent woman. I am THAT girl who has it all… or so it would seem!
Around March of this year, I started to feel sad, low on energy and unhappy with my life, but I felt so guilty to feel so down having been dealt this wonderful life. It was around this time that I unfortunately, was a target of some mean words and bullying, something that I would normally be able to deal with, but instead I felt insecure, lonely and emotional. The normally feisty Zoe would have stood up for herself and all their mean and jealous words, just water of a ducks back! For some reason I felt powerless, like I was drowning and even Mr. Wonderful himself couldn’t make me feel better about myself.
We returned to the UK, I thought some time with people who love and know me would heal the wounds, but instead I started to dread leaving the house, I had to really push myself to have a normal day. Sleep was all I wanted, my mood became so flat and I just didn’t feel motivated about anything. Cycling or any exercise was the last thing I felt like doing. During a very overdue visit to the doctors, I was prescribed anti-depressants, booked some blood tests and booked a further appointment in the diary. I left feeling a bit of a failure. The horrid dry skin and low energy was also associated with my new condition called DEPRESSION… seriously, me?
I researched the drugs prescribed and also the symptoms, and realised that I knew deep down I didn’t have depression and something else was most definitely to blame. I started talking to my friends who I knew had suffered similar challenges and found that, at 45 years young, I could in fact be dealing with perimenopause symptoms.
Armed with the NICE guidelines and menopause checker, I went back to see my doctor who was very accommodating and agreed that we needed to start treatment to support the change in my hormones. Luckily, I am one of the fortunate ones, my doctor is switched on and open to woman at my young years having these symptom. In fact, it is known that it is not uncommon for women of my age and younger to be premenopausal, yet so many are not getting properly diagnosed, a staggering 47% are misdiagnosed with depression.
It has been a learning curve for me and I know I have some years yet to go. It is not only important to get the balance right, find a good nutritionist and a female coach who understands but it’s also important to look after me and put myself first every now and then. My cycling has taken a back seat, but not for long, this is a change not a permanent state. I am learning how to be kinder to myself, also learning when to say no and to get a balance that fits with the new me.
In fact, I am liking this new pace and it’s the silver lining from this black cloud called Menopause.