This is Not Your Mother’s Menopause
I may be known as Meg’s Menopause today, but the journey here has been full of interesting twists and turns, ups and downs. Everything I’ve done, I dove into full speed ahead, and never looked back.
Born on the the tiny island of Guernsey in England, (yes, the town made famous in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society book and film) I spent my childhood playing in the German bunkers left over from the war. When I was nine, my family emigrated to South Africa where we lived on a wine farm outside of Capetown. A few years later at the age of 13, I returned to England to attend boarding school in Oxford. It was a traditional British upbringing in many ways.
At seventeen, after my first year of art college in Norwich and with very little money, I hitchhiked down to London. By then, the punk movement was in full swing and I embraced the lifestyle wholeheartedly. With my purple Mohawk, I began hanging around the Kings Road area and got a job at the Great Gear Market where people like the Clash and Siouxsie and the Banshees used to hang out. I mostly sold crazy colored wigs and hair to other punks.
One day leaving work, I happened to take the wrong bus and end up going up Sloan Street. I was mesmerized by all the great clothes in the windows. Azzedine Alaia. Jean-Paul Gaultier. This was the 80’s and the fashion in London blew me away. I saw a sign in the window saying, “cashier wanted”, got that job, and worked my way up to manager. I was squarely in the world of fashion and started to learn everything I could. At the time, I was squatting in London. For two years, it was a great and exciting time with no fear. From fashion, I got into fashion Public Relations (PR), then started my own PR company, all by the age of 21.
By age 24, I suddenly decided I wanted to work in fitness. I left my PR company and went to work in a very cool and popular gym in Nottinghill as a receptionist since I didn’t have any relevant qualifications. At the gym I met Michael Rosenblatt, head of A&R (artists and repertoire) for Warner Music whoconvinced me I needed to get into A&R. He suggested I become the UK manager for a new artist and rapper, Betty Boo newly signed by Warner. I accepted the position, and it was a great learning experience.
After a couple of years, I opened my own management company called Flavor. We specialized in niche music, signing young English rappers, and handling projects for Salt-n-Pepa, Seal, Kylie Minogue, and Ice Tea. Here I was: I had left school with no qualifications, no degree, didn’t know how to manage a band but found myself with this incredible new career, that I learned by just throwing myself into it. I’d be in meetings with heads of recording companies, and I didn’t have a clue how things worked. But I got stuff done. It was quite amazing.
In 1994, I met Noel Gallagher from the band, Oasis. These were the early days before they hit it big. Noel and I fell quickly and madly in love. I gave the management company to my partner Karl, went on the road with the band, and eventually married Noel. We lived off £75 a week at the time. It was a whirlwind. As the band became more and more successful, I found myself living the rock and roll lifestyle at full throttle. It truly was as they say: sex, drugs and rock and roll, all the time. Debauchery abounded. It was a heady and very drug fueled time. I even went to No. 10 Downing Street, meeting the Prime Minister. It was amazing time and I met fascinating people.
But eventually, it caught up with us. We had a daughter in 2000 and when she was 8 months old, we split up. I moved to Ibiza and stayed there just over a year to collect myself. Returning to England, I decided enter rehab for alcohol dependence.
A new career came up in the most unexpected way. Upon my return from rehab, I bought a house in London with my divorce settlement and threw myself into buying and redesigning the house. I wanted something dramatic and ended up designing my own wallpaper with a skull motif. I did some research and had it made in a factory near Heathrow. When my home was shot and featured in Hello magazine, it caught the eye of Victoria Beckham and she asked me to design some for her house! So, I designed personalized wallpaper for Posh (from the Spice Girls) and David Beckham’s entry and hallways. My wallpapers got really popular and purchased by the likes of Ronnie Wood of the Stones, John Galliano. They were carried in a shop called Liberty, which then asked me to design scarves. I did all of these things with no training. All of a sudden, I was an interior designer, then scarf designer!
When I was 48, my body began to feel different and I didn’t feel quite like myself. Then on New Year’s Day, when I was 49, I woke up and felt like a tsunami had hit me even though it was not from a hangover. I felt like my body changed overnight. I was feeling terrible anxiety and not at all like myself. We were in the countryside and I was desperate to get back to London. Days went by and I was still out of sorts and not feeling like myself. A sense of depression was not going away. My friend suggested I may be going through menopause.
I began to develop crippling anxiety, fatigue, headaches, depression, night sweats, and aching joints. My doctor prescribed anti-depressants because he thought I had depression. Another gave me something to help me sleep. No one had diagnosed me with menopause. I didn’t leave the house for three months. A friend from New York said to stop taking the anti-depressants and all the other rubbish and try CBD(cannabidiol) oils. I tried some drops and all my pain subsided. Anxiety was gone. My pain vanished. It was incredible. Finally, some relief.
I decided to help connect with other women also going through menopause to support one another and share our experiences. There are 13 million menopausal women in the UK who need more information about what expect (the most I learned was from Sex in the City!) and how to mitigate symptoms. One in a thousand women will get it in their 30’s, one in 100 in their early 40’s. I wanted to eliminate the stigma and facilitate conversation, so in October 2017, I started my blog, Meg’s Menopause.
When I went online to buy more of the CBD oil I had tried, it wasn’t in-stock. I contacted the chemist who had made it and told him I wanted to make my own. CBD was still scary to people still in the UK. There needed to be someone to trust and vouch for it. I decided to develop my own line of CBD products. called the M Blend. The products feature organic and GMO-free CBD Oil, blended with organic, GMO-free Essential Oils. Along with the oils, there are gummy bears, moisturizer, and a mouth spray. All are safe and without THC. I want women to know how brilliant this is for them. We’ve now added a shop to our blog with these initial products. More products are in the pipeline including incontinence pants for women that will be organic and biodegradable, scented with coconut oil, apple, lavender; a sleeping bag for night sweats, and menopause IV drip.
I am on a mission is to open up the conversation about menopause and create a sisterhood of support. I want to make it cool and smash the taboos that surround it. Last year, I became Red magazine’s (a British publication) online menopause columnist. It features contributions from top doctors as well as women’s real-life experiences. My blog is a forum for information, advice, and dialogue about all things menopause.