Grace: What’s Happening to Me?

Around age 45, Grace started experiencing dramatic moods shifts. She had no idea what was happening. “It was affecting my home life,” she said. “I was yelling at my child, my mom and my husband.”  It was also affecting her at work.  Anxiety set in, along with mental fog.  “What if I can’t think properly again, what if I can’t do my job?” She gained 20 pounds in one year.

With a young child, an ailing mother and a busy job she thought it might be her circumstances. Her doctor prescribed an anti-depressant; it made her feel worse. It was her husband who solved the mystery when his online research found that in the UK, they treated perimenopause with hormone therapy. Grace sought a referral to a menopause clinic and started hormone therapy. “I noticed a shift within three days,” she said. “Moods became more even, hills instead of mountains.”  With moods settled, she was able to focus on work and had the energy to work on fitness and weight loss. Without treatment, she believes she would not have been able to continue her career.

Grace wants women’s health to be talked about more openly, like in the UK where her global employer has operations and has put in place a policy to accommodate women going through menopause, including giving days off to help women manage their symptoms. “Women tend to be in their 40s when they hit their career peak and they are working very, very hard,” she said. “I don’t want there to be a stigma or be told ‘Don’t talk about it’. We need to be more human at work now.”

She also believes there needs to be greater awareness among men. “Most men have no clue. There needs to be a sense of psychological safety around this,” she said.