Early menopause is something which is becoming increasingly common but a lot of women tend to write off how they feeling as being down to something else. But, they key thing to remember is that it’s not your age it’s your symptoms that signal whether you’re menopausal or not.
Michelle Parkinson is a 41 year-old mother-of-two who runs her own business with her husband Tom. Last year, the Shropshire-based video producer and talented photographer at SNM Film started to notice that she wasn’t feeling her best and, despite having all the symptoms of early menopause was turned away by her own doctor for being “too young” to be menopausal – which is is a frighteningly common occurrence.
Finally, she turned to one of our favourite experts – Dr. Louise Newson – who diagnosed Michelle with early menopause and is helping her on the road to feeling fantastic and full of joie de vivre again.
Inspired by Michelle taking her health, happiness and well-being into her own hands after getting that all important diagnosis of early menopause instead of being miserable in silence, we wanted to sit down and interview her about what else drives her…
What’s your advice for staying healthy and balanced when life gets stressful?
“I’ve just started meditating, and wowsers have I felt the difference,” Michelle explains. “It really helps to ground me and enables me to make good decisions. I do yoga and have just started Pilates.
“We eat a good, balanced diet and I try to buy the best, organic foods whenever I can. I still let my hair down and party and have days where I eat all the pizza and chocolate (life is too short!). At 41, I’ve finally been diagnosed with early menopause and life has slowly started getting better by the day.
“It’s so wonderful being able to get your life back bit by bit. It’s that my own GP couldn’t help me, but I was determined that life shouldn’t feel this bad, so I paid for specialist help and went private. There is some amazing support out there for women going through menopause. If you’re feeling overwhelmed remember you don’t have to feel that way and there’s some fabulous people who can help you.”
What’s the best advice you have ever been given and by whom?
“That life is all about love,” Michelle says. “Love and people you love are the things that makes the world go round. Whenever you are faced with a problem, try, without animosity, to look at it from an angle of forgiveness. I’ve struggled for so many years trying to please people.
“You should know who you are, and be confident that the choices you make are coming from a good place. Do stuff that makes you happy, ’cause you shouldn’t be responsible for other people’s happiness. I haven’t really been given this advice, it was just something that came to me when I was struggling with turning 40.
“Although, without doubt, the person that I turn to with any challenge in my life is my fabulous mum. She is a stunning, beautiful soul, who I will always cherish. She is totally my best friend.”
What inspires you every day?
“I am so inspired by my surroundings,” Michelle tells Lumity. “We live in the heart of The Shropshire Hills. I grew up here and never thought for a second I would end up raising my family here. I lived in London for over 15 years and that will always have part of my soul (it’s also where I met my husband). But Shropshire, it’s absolutely breathtaking. I love waking up every day to the sound of the birds and nature. The other source of my inspiration is my husband. He and I run our film company together. We spend every waking moment either working, or with our boys, or just hanging out together. He makes me laugh, think, be creative and just very happy. I’m a lucky girl, and I’m so very grateful to have met such a wonderful man.”
Is there a beauty product, routine you follow or tip that’s been a life-saver for you?
Michelle says: “I have a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of herbal tea every night before I go to bed. I was really starting to get arthritis in my hands and I was told to try cider vinegar and it’s amazing. I’m also a big supporter of organic, cruelty-free skincare. It’s a no-brainer really. Lots of water, less sugar… I try not to drink too much (still working on this one, damn you gin!).
“And just try and go easy on yourself.
“Growing older is a privilege. Laughter, love and family… that is my lifesaver.”
Are you worried about early menopause? Remember it’s your symptoms, not your age that defines whether you’re in menopause or not. You absolutely don’t have to battle through this stage in your life on your own, and, there’s a variety of completely safe options available to ease your symptoms and give you your life back again.
For expert advice, see Dr. Louise Newson’s website here, where there’s a wealth of information as well as free booklets available to download. For support from other women going through menopause, join top London-based personal trainer Jane Dowling’s private Facebook group Ageless Godesses, and Jane has a brilliant blog about her own experience of menopause.
If you would like to join Lumity’s inner-circle, like our page @LumityLife on Facebook and join our client-only Facebook group here.