My menopause experience is proving to be a tough journey. Having said that, I also happen to know many people who have more or less sailed through it with minimum symptoms. Take my mother for example, she never experienced hot flushes or food cravings but had mood swings.
I live and thrive with depression and panic disorder, but they have bought along a friend – snack cravings. I can be engrossed in a good book and out of the blue a desire to munch takes over or I only need to walk near to the kitchen and popcorn lures me in. I wouldn’t mind but my mouth waters for unhealthy popcorn loaded with artificial flavours, sugars and salt. When the popcorn isn’t calling me it’s Terry’s Chocolate Orange and who knew Shortbread, Jamaica Ginger Cake, Rich Tea Biscuits, Coconut spirals, and Maltesers are so moorish.
My love of fruit is strong but they don’t love me – they trigger IBS crises. But my love affair is so strong that I hide the amount of fruit I eat to avoid my family nagging me, so I can’t understand this sudden desire to replace fruit with excessive quantities of unhealthy snacks.
I don’t like it. I feel and see the damage snacks are doing to my body (regular IBS crisis episodes, expanding waistline, and the needle on the scales rapidly inching further clockwise). But the snack cupboard still is my favourite destination.
Trinidad and Tobago Carnival 2020 briefly saved me from myself. Carnival is my therapy. This year I made up my mind that a broken knee was not going to stop my flow. Life’s stresses on pause I partied like my life depended on it. Conventional Mas – I was there, Canboulay- I was there, Breakfast Party – I was there, J’ouvert morning, Monday and Tuesday Big Mas Competition – I was there. Lastlap – well I wasn’t there because my knee had other plans.
But “all good things come to an end” and on Ash Wednesday my reign of pleasures did just that. Not because carnival was over – there were lots of post carnival parties to self-medicated on. Instead a personal situation caused me deep emotional pain, and by deep, I mean deep. So deep that once back home depression raised its head ‘remember me’ it said, ‘I’m back and for company I’ve brought along a friend – Snack Cravings’.
Over time I was able to dig into my ever-ready bag of coping tricks and managed to get the depression under control, but the snack cravings wouldn’t leave me alone.
I realised how bad it was when my shopping basket had 6 Terry’s Chocolate Oranges – they were on sale; 2 Dairy Milk bars – they were buy one get one free so why resist the offer; a tin of Family Circle Biscuits – just in case middle daughter comes home; an Apple Crumble – to go with the custard I bought last week; Party Rings – youngest daughter loves those; 2 variety packs of Crisps – the grandchildren may visit; Coconut Thins –I wonder what they would taste like; and two blocks of Mature Cheddar Cheese, a tub of Cream Cheese, and a pack of Wensleydale Cheese. Cheese? yes Cheese but I don’t even like cheese, I’m lactose intolerant, it gives me headaches and nausea, and causes nasal congestion. I need to escape my snack craving friend.