My Menopause, My Journal, My Rules - important new book
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Now she has written precisely the book she wishes she had had at her lowest moments – her debut publication My Menopause, My Journal, My Rules. It has been published through Victoria's own Rebellious Ink and is available on Amazon and on https://gingeunhinged.com/
As Victoria, who lives in Bognor Regis, says, it fills a huge gap, the book that “millennial women were screaming for.” It’s all about “taking action with empowerment and humour and without the celebrity status.” It is now selling globally.
“The background to the book is that I started to feel that there was not really a space for me within the menopause world where everyone was much older. I was 33, and the average age for starting the menopause is maybe 51-52. I had to have a hysterectomy and that pushed me into surgical menopause, just straight into full-blown, full-on menopausal symptoms. And there was just no let up.”
As Victoria, who has just turned 40, says: “When I came out of the surgery, I started to experience things like restlessness and not being able to sleep and I would get extremely hot. I would get the night sweats and the hot flushes and also really quite achy joints and stiffness, but for me the worst thing was what it did to my mental health. My confidence started to drop and I had anxiety. I experienced panic attacks and I would find crowded places overwhelming, shopping and supermarkets. I used to love festivals but I wasn't able to go to those. It would get to the point where I just felt I wasn't able to breathe.
“But the key thing was that I just didn't know what was happening. Nobody sat me down after the surgery and said this is what surgical menopause means and will be. I just felt that I was left to get on with it. I experienced all the pain before but this was surgery that was potentially saving my life. But fortunately I'd always dabbled in meditation and that became part of my routine. And I had a dog and I would take the dog walking.
“But I found that I became really quite depressed and even suicidal. I had a particular day when I drove the kids to school a few years ago and I just didn't want to press the brake. I just found that lack of purpose. I drove home very slowly and I picked up the telephone to call the hotline and I was put into therapy quite quickly. I was offered anti-depressants but I chose not to do that. I felt I was out of control and I was told that antidepressants could make that feel even worse, so I didn’t want that. But I did have cognitive behavioural therapy and the therapist really introduced me to mindfulness, really focusing on the anxiety side and what I could do to reduce stress. And he was the person that said to me that this is all really related to the surgical menopause. I just hadn’t made the connection. I didn't see myself as being in the menopause. I was not in my late 40s or 50s and nobody was talking about it around me but that's how the penny dropped and as soon as my therapist said that then it was such a huge relief. I started to do some research and we talked about bringing joy into my life and doing some of the things that made me feel happier and for me that was writing. I started to write a blog. I started gingeunhinged on Instagram and I started to share about my mental health and the things I was discovering.
“The book came from that cathartic journaling. Writing was definitely healing for me but also there was the joy of being creative. I'm a storyteller and there was just nothing around like this book at the time. I put into the book the journaling elements and I've spoken to a number of other women at all different stages of the menopause. And I've just really explored everything. The response to the book has been phenomenal. I have had people saying the most beautiful things, saying that at last they feel that they have been seen. And it's been really interesting that the book has sold so well in America and Australia as well.”