At some point in your life you decide that no matter what you do, for some people it will never be enough. That you come so far down their list of priorities that you have to look yourself in the eye and say I am worth so much more than an after thought.

I have always tried to be honest in what I write about but since I started this blog I have felt like I have always had to write it with one aspect of my life never commented on. I can’t do it any longer and I am not prepared to do it any more. Pretending that I have a supportive family who love me is over. It has been for years but I have been scared into silence by them. I’m not scared anymore.

I have left friendships  due to being treated badly, people grow apart or something happens and their mask has slipped and you decided enough is enough. I never ever thought that I would have to close the door on family. For years I have been shamed into secrecy and silence. Playing a game of charades pretending that we were the perfect family when we were anything but. The decision has been about 5 years in the making, as I gained the strength and knowledge to know that this had never ever been about me about about three terribly damaged individuals who were incapable of change because they couldn’t see what they were doing was wrong.

I am not here to drag it all into the light, I am past caring what you do because nothing you could do to me now would be worse than what I have suffered at your hands for the past 47 years. I am sad that I wasn’t enough for you, that you felt I only warranted “good” treatment when I was doing things for you. Well don’t worry your pretty little heads the door is firmly shut and I won’t be opening it. 

There wasn’t one thing or action that determined this turn of events, as I say the decision had been 5 years in the making. My eyes were well and truly opened in 2015 in the way that you ran to my siblings defence and cast me as the bad guy as per usual, without even speaking to me. The way you treated me really broke my heart, I was so upset I couldn’t eat or sleep, I was distraught.  Oh and by the way I told E exactly what to write in that message and I approved it before she sent it.  

It was my gp  that told me that she was using her children as weapons. In fact it was my gp that opened my eyes to the fact that our family relationship was dysfunctional and that their was an element of coercive control / narcissism to it. Whilst I was there at the appointment begging for anxiety medication and sleeping tablets because your combined actions had destroyed me. But what did you care? Not a jot after revelling in telling me that when my father dies you would no longer have a relationship with me.

When my father asked me to apologise for what I had done and when I said tell me what it is that I have done wrong so that I don’t do it again, I was treated like I was being the unreasonable one. No, asking someone to apologise for “everything” as you put it but without quantifying what everything is, is a fucking mind game. You all know that and so do I. But ever the scapegoat  and peacemaker, I apologised for everything whilst my estranged sibling hurled accusations at me going back as far childhood all of which were untrue or she had twisted the context to ensure yet again she was the victim.

So I went on a 5 year journey trying initially to discover what was so wrong with me that my sister could walk out of my life without a backwards glance and my parents could side with her without even speaking to me. Why my parents had always seemed to love me less than her. For two people who claim they were treated so badly growing up as the youngest child was favoured by your parents, you really do miss the fucking irony of repeating exactly the same pattern don’t you? I read websites, blogs, mountains of books all on the subject of narcissism. Once I scratched the surface of your behaviour it became crystal fucking clear that the issue wasn’t me, it was all of you and your twisted fucking minds.

Before anyone claims that it takes two to tango, I am not saying I am a perfect human being. I have flaws as everyone does. But their is a huge difference between flaws and taking positive enjoyment out of causing your own child mental anguish and harm.

Initially I truly believed that the issue was my sibling and now that we were estranged perhaps my relationship with my parents would improve? Unluckily for you, all that research had shown me how narcissists abuse their victims and how they always go through a cycle of love bombing and then when they feel the target has fallen for their lies hook, line and sinker they withdraw or have you walking on eggshells again never knowing when you might take offence or withdraw from me for weeks on end. I soon realised that the narcissism gene wasn’t carried by my estranged sibling alone. It could be applied to the pair of you. 

For a long time I tried to excuse the way that you behaved. I became a world expert at practising cognitive dissonance  but my body / unconscious mind kept sending me more and more warning signals when I was dealing with you. I would get anxious and panicky at the thought of having to speak to you or see you. Covid-19 in 2020 was a positive blessing as it helped me realise that closing the door on that chapter of my life was not going to be some huge deal because as I said earlier you had humiliated me, hurt me, attempted to break up my marriage, ignored me, destroyed my friendships and just so much more, there really wasn’t anything left in your arsenal to hit me with.

 My dear friends, who know my family be prepared for the smear campaign to start after this blog post if it hasn’t already. No doubt they are claiming that I am mentally ill / having a breakdown – that’s the usual line or that Mr Myasthenia Kid has brain washed me against them and is controlling everything I do. For the record yes I suffer with anxiety and depression on and off, also the reason they don’t like my husband is the fact he saw through their bullshit from the start and wouldn’t get involved in their mind games.

Suddenly the slow drip drip effect of your behaviour became a Tsunami, there was no holding back from seeing straight through it. Since stepping away from all the bullshit and continuous hurt I have never been happier. Despite everything you have put us both through, the lies you have told about us to anyone will listen, I am sad that I don’t miss you. A child should miss their parents presence but I don’t. I thought their would be a grieving period but there wasn’t. There is anger, anger that you tried to hijack my husbands grief and push your agenda on us. Stupidly if you had rung up and apologised for that, we would still be in contact because despite all the shit you have pulled over the years, all I ever wanted was to be loved by you and to know that I was enough.

Thankfully after having had 3 months out of your circus I know I am enough, that without you I won’t shatter and break. That my life will continue on. I will no longer lie awake at night wondering what it is I have done to upset you this time. My exit, on my own terms and I won’t be keeping quiet. If someone asks I will tell them. If you don’t like that I no longer care.

I have never felt like a victim, I am a survivor no longer the scapegoat and no longer playing your twisted game of charades.

HRT 7 weeks in

 I have now been on HRT for around 7 weeks and things keep improving for me on the whole. I am constantly amazed at how many parts of my body were effected by the fluctuation of hormones. I am so grateful that I didn’t have to battle my doctor to be put on HRT. I can honestly say the last three years have been utterly miserable with all the symptoms I have been suffering that just went crazy once I stopped taking the contraceptive pill back in December 2019.

My main reason for starting HRT was to see if it would stop or reduce the migraines that had increased from one a month when on the pill to 3 a week when I was no longer taking it. The difference has been remarkable. I have had a couple of “migraines” without aura’s but they haven’t been as intense as my pre HRT ones and the Sumatriptan do knock them on the head ( pardon the pun ) really quickly. Migraines now are something I can live with and not something I need to be ruled by, I couldn’t make plans without having to bring my migraine grab bag with me. Even if I was post migraine I was suffering from the after effects, so that it meant I only had one day a week where I felt like I was fully functional or at least functioning at my normal pre coming off the pill level.

The anxiety I suffer with has massively reduced, I still have the odd panic but it is nowhere near the totally paralysing fear I was dealing with since 2017. I have noticed a massive improvement in my overall mood as well. I hadn’t listened to music, either on the radio or by putting a CD on since Frankie passed away on 29th December 2018. I was listening to a vinyl record when he had his neurological even that let to us making that awful decision that every pet owner knows and wishes would never happen. It wasn’t a conscious decision not to play music, I would sing along to music whenever Mr Myasthenia Kid played music videos on the TV but to actually go and put music on or listen to it, just the once or twice when I found some music I really loved. But then after a while the desire to listen went away again.

A massive indicator of my mood has always been my desire to listen to music, I am not a one band or one genre only kind of person. I love pop music so you will hear me singing my heart out to anything by Katie Perry or Brittany Spears. I love the bands U2, Travis, Cold Play, Radio Head, Snow Patrol and James. I like some of the metal and rap that Jay plays, I also like opera and classical music. So to not sing or bop along to music is quite odd for me and I didn’t realise what a long time it had been since I really listened to music by choice not just because I happened to be in the room when it came on. Music was a huge part of my teenage years, again I had very eclectic tastes but I seemed to have lost that in the last few years. Now everyday I have music on, I tend to listen to  Absolute 80’s . I really love the music from my youth and will sing along to my hearts content. I am quite shocked by the difference HRT has made to my mental state and that I have got some joy back and that things don’t seem so bleak and overwhelming as they did previously. 

I just wish when I had been to the doctors in 2017,2018, 2019 about my anxiety and mood they hadn’t just increased my antidepressants, yes I had been through some pretty awful trauma but the anxiety and low moods were so much more than that. I had no clue that depression and anxiety could be linked to the menopause. I don’t think many women do, so how many of us are being given antidepressants which are an absolute ballache to come off, when it is in fact our hormones that are causing the issue. It is also sad that on all those occasions I saw female doctors and whilst they were sympathetic and understanding whilst I spent the majority of the appointment in tears none of them thought that maybe what I needed was HRT. Now at some point in the future I will be looking to reduce my antidepressant, which is also probably behind my weight gain. Deep Joy as I have been through the experience of reducing antidepressants before and it is an utterly horrific experience. No one is told how awful coming off these meds are when they are prescribed them. Yet HRT comes with a warnings list as long as your arm.

Another symptom that I had no clue could be caused by the menopause was dry skin. My skin has been terribly dry for several years and no moisturiser would work as it would sink in and disappear. My physiotherapist used to say whenever I had an appointment she couldn’t get over how dry my skin was, making me feel a little self conscious because it wasn’t anything that I could do about it as nothing worked. I didn’t realise until  very recently that this could be another symptom. But then again I didn’t know acne could also be a symptom, for the last few years I have had bouts of cystic acne, pimples all on my chin. Having not really suffered with acne as a teenager I have found the bad skin really difficult to deal with. I would end up whenever I left the house having to at the very least cover my spots with concealer and powder, even if I knew I wasn’t seeing anyone I knew. If I was seeing people I did know that meant a full face of makeup and praying that the livid purple cystic acne lumps would break free of their concealer prison whilst I was out. I am not massively vain, you kind of lose your dignity and your vanity when you are chronically sick but acne in my 40’s really did a number on my self confidence. It wasn’t just the fact it was painful it was also the fact that nothing I did seemed to help. I took vitamin B5 for a year….nope, I changed skincare regimes to Tropic Skincare and whilst that did reduce the number of outbreaks and redness it didn’t get rid of the acne completely. I feel awful for having my self confidence destroyed by having a max of 4 spots on my chin at any one time but it did and I won’t apologise for it.

Before I started HRT I had noticed I was losing a lot of hair, when it was being brushed or dried. Whilst I realise losing hair everyday is pretty normal, this was beyond normal, my legs would be covered in hair when I finished sorting my hair out for the day ( I tend to lean forward whilst sat on the bed when my hair is being done) . It was also obvious when Jay had hoovered by bedroom when it was becoming a close contest between Dembe and I whose hair he had picked up the most of!  I practised cognitive dissonance with the hair loss, I knew it was happening but I told no one. I came up with excuses like I hadn’t conditioned it enough, my hair was over processed due to straightening irons. All of which I knew was untrue. It was only when my hairdresser mentioned that  my hair line around my face had become considerably thinner that I had to say that I had noticed that my hair had been falling out. For my hairdresser to notice when she see’s me so irregularly it was a shock that I had lost that much hair. I am very lucky I have fine hair but an awful lot of it. After the first week or so of HRT I noticed that I wasn’t shedding as much hair, I was back to normal amounts now rather than handfuls. I have suffered hair loss previously when I was put on the medication Lamotrigine by my neurologist back in 2009-2010. I was putting my hand through my hair and handfuls were coming away. It is a rare side effect of the medication which made me come off it, plus I didn’t believe the diagnosis he had given me to put me on the medication.

On the whole HRT has been a positive experience, the only thing that came as a bit of a shock was getting a period two weeks ago out of the blue with no warning. Now just to remind people if you have not had a period for a year ( and you are in the menopause ) and you suddenly have a bleed or what you think is a period please get it checked out. Bleeding can be a sign of cancer so it is important you are properly checked over. I hadn’t gone a year without a period, I would have officially in the menopause on 7th December but that surprise visitor has thrown a spanner in the works. Thankfully due to the Facebook group I was in I knew that HRT could trigger the return of periods…deep joy. I just wasn’t expecting it as I hadn’t had my usual symptoms other than a 7lb weight gain overnight which was my usual water retention ( always has been between 5-7lbs) and a massive craving fro chocolate that I couldn’t work out why.

Pain wise it wasn’t too bad, it was uncomfortable but not enough to stop me getting on with pottering about. It was incredibly weird just because I hadn’t actually had a period for nearly 5 years!

I was told by my doctor when she prescribed HRT that it would take up to 12 weeks for it to reach it’s full effect so I am more than half way in and the improvements in mood, skin, hair loss have been mind blowing. I get maybe one hot flush a day now and I don’t have to change my clothes when it happens. I certainly don’t have to stand outside in the cold for five minutes waiting for the heat to subside – no fun at all during the heat wave as there was nowhere for me to go that was cool. I am also sleeping better as my sleep isn’t being interrupted by hourly hot flushes where I am drenched in sweat. However the thing I am most grateful for is the reduction in frequency and severity of my migraines. I didn’t realise how low they had made me feel and how I just felt like I was existing rather than living.

I am fully aware that menopause is an individual experience and whilst some people have positive experiences of HRT others can have negative experiences. I know I have been very lucky to have so many improvements with the first dosing level I have been given. To take HRT or not is an individuals choice and I am not pushing it on anyone just sharing my experience of menopause and HRT.