By Annie M, aged 50.

I’d heard about the night sweats and prepared myself for the dreaded hot flushes. But I just wasn’t ready for psychological side effects of my menopause. I learned the hard way about fluctuating mood, low self-esteem and anxiety, all of which can be lesser known bi-products of the mid-life hormonal shift.

Luckily, I didn’t experience any of the above to any severely life-limiting degree, mainly thanks to Promensil. For me, the most profound emotional impact of menopause, was far more benign, yet much worse than any of the physical symptoms I felt. Menopause and the lead up to it made me feel depressingly invisible.

Despite society’s best efforts to remove some of the stigma attached to it, there’s still a silence that surrounds the psychological impact of a woman reaching the end of her fertile years. For me, mourning the end of this phase of life was at least as difficult as the physical struggle.

The negative images so often associated with menopause – the end of youthfulness, biological usefulness and sexuality – made me feel insignificant, old and unnoticed. Too embarrassed to talk about my feelings openly at first, I internalised them instead. Soon my already gloomy beliefs about other people’s reactions to my menopausal state and symptoms became unduly negative. I had almost made up my mind that I must be terminally over-the-hill, and it left me feeling overwhelmingly beige.

Then I discovered I had friends who were going through the exact same thing. There we were, all in our late 40s and early 50s, glamorously loving life (and very young at heart). When the menopause arrived to rain on our parade we didn’t all open up to each other at first. Now we do. All the time. And it’s great. It turns out, each one of us has a different pain point. We all hate the hot flushes, of course, and the way we’ve had to rethink our wardrobes to accommodate them (we all think in layers these days and panic if we feel too restrained!). But undoubtedly the most common element is that we all still want to feel attractive to others and to ourselves. Fading to beige, or grey is the biggest collective secret fear.

Having good friends to talk to about my menopause experience has really helped me and I’d urge anyone going through it to open up to good friends and family in the same way. You discover very quickly that you’re not alone!

Getting priceless moral support from people who understand what I’m going through is helping me embrace the transition and try to see it as a time for new beginnings. Some of the women I’ve come across have been truly inspirational in their positivity and they look and sound anything but beige.

So, embracing my natural state, I grin and bear the physical symptoms as well as I can these days (with a lot of help from my daily Promensil dose). I’m also taking a much more positive approach to the emotional journey menopause has sent me on. Since I’ve learnt that roughly a third of every woman’s life is spent leading up to and going through it, positivity seems like a good plan!

I’ve been reading a lot too and my friends, and I speak openly about what’s happening to our bodies. It’s worth mentioning that the more you learn about this life stage, the more treatment options you discover.

Right now, I am refusing to fade to beige. My future feels much, much brighter than that and I fully intend to sparkle this Christmas!