‘I’m going through a horrendous menopause’
I’m 52 and it started in my mid-40s. My symptoms are made worse by the drugs I’m on after having breast cancer at 49. I’m so tired from night sweats, I’m in pain every day and have no libido, which is making my marriage a misery. My husband finds it hard to understand how I’m feeling and doesn’t cope very well with my mood swings. I’m 5ft with big boobs and I’m struggling with my weight. I’ve never been a slave to fashion but I like shoes and prefer trousers to skirts. I try to stay positive but I’m sadly failing. I just want to feel I’m worth the effort, be valued, be listened to and look nice, even for a day.
It sounds as though you have a tremendous amount on your plate. In your longer letter you seem to blame yourself for how you’re feeling, but none of this is your fault. Getting your physical energy back will help you feel that anything is possible. There are medications and supplements that may help you sleep better and reduce your pain (see below right). I also feel it’s time you learned to physically love yourself. Wake up your skin with exfoliation, apply a vitamin C serum to give your complexion a glow, then massage it with a facial oil, as you need some tactile nurturing.
Make time for a bit of fun, a glass of wine and a laugh. I want you to consider a social ‘uniform’ (see right). Dress in a way that gives you shape: grade your colours, don’t break up your body with contrasting shades. As you are petite it’s key to show off your ankles in a cropped trouser silhouette, a fitted breton top – classic and timeless – and single-button fitted navy jacket to give yourself a good waist. Buy in a size down, wear undone and turn your jacket sleeves up. Team with a cool trainer/silver shoe and navy socks (I love Falke) by day – this will elongate your leg. For an evening out wear a pair of fabulous white high-heeled mules. Add a red lip and you’ll look sexy but not ‘out there’.
You feel this distance between you and your husband, and your sex drive is in a slump, but don’t forget that you are in the prime of life. Perhaps he doesn’t really know what the menopause is or how to deal with it. In my experience, men love to find a solution, and if they can’t, feel redundant and withdraw. You both need some respite, and a trip away together could be the next thing on your list. But focus on yourself first.
Always remember… ‘TO LOVE ONESELF IS THE BEGINNING OF A LIFELONG ROMANCE’ Oscar Wilde