Emme Menopause

Fearful, Tearful and Full of Anxiety – Fiona Phillips and the Menopause

How often have you found yourself apologising for forgetting things during your menopause?

Lots, we’re willing to guess. And you’re not alone, as TV presenter and newscaster, Fiona Phillips has spoken out about her experience with the menopause leaves her constantly saying sorry.

She’s found herself apologising for forgetting her thread as she’s speaking, not remembering important dates or for getting mixed up over details.

She told the Mirror online that she’d been forced to take an absence from her Daily Mirror column for a few months as she was “unable to work when symptoms of the menopause overcame her”.

The 61 year old explained that her symptoms have left her “racked with anxiety, a tearful, fearful, anxious wreck, a shadow of myself. I’ve cried a thousand rivers in the past few weeks and I’ve got nothing to be sad about”.

“I’ve been fearing for my sanity and am scared to do things I’ve been doing with ease for years.”

She looked after both parents as they battled through Alzheimer’s and has always spoken out about her mental health.

But her menopause experience is very different

“They call it brain fog; I don’t know what I’m talking about half the time. God, it’s horrible, I haven’t worked for the first time in my life, I can’t do television work because I’m so anxious and just scared of everything and I’m not that kind of person at all. I have the intent to do everything I used to do, but then your body, your brain, doesn’t let you.

“The fear takes over. I hope to God this isn’t the end of my career.”

Fiona is adamant that even though these are deeply personal experiences, women should be able to share them if they want to in order to help others experiencing the same.

Even relatively simple things such as a family dinner fill her with fear. “My eldest comes home [from the army] every weekend, but everything has become a big deal for me – what will I get him to eat? Which is ridiculous. It’s fine, or Martin [her husband] steps in, or we have a takeaway, but it is a thing now, I worry about whether I can do it.”

And, having driven since she was 17, driving is now also adding to the fear. She experiences panic at the thought of getting away for a holiday and feels scared and anxious driving to the supermarket.

Fiona’s menopause symptoms started later in life than the average, after spending her 40s and 50s thinking she’d escaped the worst

“I was thinking ‘What the hell are all these women on about?’ I’m fine, it’s a breeze, and then suddenly it put this great big boot on me.”

This comes in the same week as research by Research Without Barriers found that more than a million women who are struggling with menopausal symptoms could be forced out of their jobs this year. The House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee is meeting this week to discuss the problem and how the law does, and doesn’t, protect women.

“The menopause breaks relationships up, it affects the whole family. You are a different person. This is so not me; I feel I’m half the person I was. I hope she will come back.”

Have you felt the same way as Fiona? How are you coping with menopause symptoms? We would love to hear from you at mystory@emmemenopause.com

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