Agony aunt column: Ask Lucy

This is the latest column from Lucy Saunders, who provides a regular agony aunt feature - Ask Lucy.

Sunday, 18th September 2016, 5:00 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 2:57 am
Lucy Saunders SUS-160623-152004001 SUS-160623-152004001 SUS-160623-152004001 SUS-160623-152004001 SUS-160623-152004001

Dear Lucy: I am in my late 40s and I don’t know what’s happened to me. My kids have all left home and I now seem very down and nervy.

I find it very hard to sleep and have lost my confidence with normal tasks i.e. driving in the dark, being in the house on my own and flying.

I just seem to get anxious at the smallest little thing. I have put on a lot of weight and feel hot all the time and very tearful and forgetful and I haven’t had my period for over a year.

Do you think I have got depression or do you think it is the menopause? I feel I should just get on with it, like all my friends. I feel so alone as I feel it’s shameful to talk and moan about. Do you please have any thoughts about what I should do?

Ask Lucy: My heart goes out to you as this definitely sounds like you are going through the menopause as you say your periods have stopped and it sounds like you are having hot flashes. During the menopause every woman experiences different symptoms.

Sometimes these are mild but they can also be quite severe. The physical symptoms can be very debilitating like hot flashes and even memory loss. It is very normal to experience anxiety and depression due to the hormones in the body decreasing. Try discussing this with your GP, as there is much help available. These psychological issues you are experiencing can also be complex too.

One is coming to terms with the loss of the child-bearing years and possibly the loss of our bodies as we knew it. This can be strange and daunting and can also make one feel sad. This is a ‘silent’ condition that many women suffer alone, not necessarily getting the proper support needed.

I feel you could possibly be more open with your friends and you may be surprised how other women are bursting to share their symptoms as well. Remember there is a rainbow at the end of the menopause. Once your physical symptoms have decreased you can hopefully look at a new phase of liberation with a greater degree of freedom again after the many years of domesticity the world is now your oyster!

Dear Lucy: My husband spends all his free time scrolling down on his phone either on social media or looking at music videos. When we are talking he says he is listening but it’s really annoying as we don’t seem to have any connection any more. We don’t have intimacy anymore as he is always on his phone in bed and then he’s on it in the morning at breakfast. I feel he is having a relationship with his phone. I am fed up with him and want to end the relationship can you help?

Ask Lucy: It sounds like the virtual world has taken over your husband. Has he been addicted to anything in the past that you can remember? This can very easily become an addiction and he may need to get professional help. His phone may have become a solace to escape other overwhelming issues in his life like stress, depression, and anxiety. I can really empathise how it must feel for you to feel shut out and ignored and how you must feel that your husband isn’t giving you his undivided attention any more. I feel this has reached a crisis for you and it’s time for some serious talks with your husband about how he is behaving and what impact it is having on your relationship.

Lucy is a BACP Accredited Qualified Counsellor. She previously worked in the media as an actress.