Menopause Awareness month: Nikki's story

Posted by Nikki Martin on 16 October, 2023

Menopause Awareness Month, celebrated in October each year, offers us the chance to hold open discussions around menopause and how it can affect us. Nikki from our TALKWORKS’ Talking Health team has opened up about the impact that going through menopause has had on both her mental and physical health. In the passage below, she shares more about the symptoms she has experienced and how running our TALKWORKS for Menopause course has taught her a range of tools, techniques and coping mechanisms which she now applies to her daily life: 

“For a long time I did not realise that some of the symptoms I was struggling with were due to the menopause. I have a long term health condition with similar symptoms to what I was experiencing. I went for a massage and was talking the massage therapist about what I was experiencing (she is of a similar age). I told her that I was really struggling with losing my words and that brain fog was affecting my work, making me feel really frustrated. I was aware that I was in the menopause as my periods had stopped some time during the coronavirus pandemic, however I wasn’t affected by hot flushes at the time, so didn’t associate these symptoms with menopause. I was unaware that brain fog and losing words could be related to the menopause.

My massage therapist recommended having a conversation with my GP about it to consider whether to go on hormone replacement therapy (HRT). I contacted the GP as thought that I might as well ask about this. The GP was very helpful and discussed options for HRT. After a discussion, I agreed to have a new coil fitted and take oestrogen gel daily. Since starting this, things have improved. Although the symptoms are still there, I am no longer embarrassed. If I lose words or have brain fog, I don’t worry about it and I don’t let myself get frustrated by it.I’ve also found that running the TALKWORKS menopause course has been helpful. Being one of the facilitators helps me (as-well as the attendees) to not feel so alone with the symptoms and not to feel like I am going senile or mad. I am also trying to use what is taught on the course like, pacing, worry management and relaxation to help reduce the experience of the symptoms for myself.”

TALKWORKS can help you to manage the physical and emotional side effects of menopause. The NHS service run a free 6 week TALKWORKS for menopause group, where participants will be able to learn more about managing the emotional and physical side effects of menopause, as well as gaining the opportunity to share their own experiences and learn from others.

TALKWORKS can also provide one-to-one therapy for anyone struggling with low mood, increased stress and anxiety or difficulties sleeping. The service currently has short wait times, and a range of flexible appointments, including early morning and evening sessions which can be delivered face to face, over the phone or via video call. TALKWORKS can also offer group therapy sessions, wellbeing workshops and access to online self-help. Text-based therapy is also available 7 days a week, and can be scheduled with a clinician from 6am – 11pm. As part of the NHS, all treatment and support is available free of charge.

You do not need a referral from a GP to access TALKWORKS, you can refer yourself online or over the phone. For more information on the different treatment options and therapy services, please visit the TALKWORKS website or call 0300 555 3344.