I’ve been giving considerable thought to what Patrick Shervington from Women’s Health Concern said to me about men and the menopause on last Friday’s Woman’s Hour.
It’s wonderful to hear how his wife ‘sailed through it.’ Lucky, lucky her – and him come to that. But I was taken aback that someone who is championing women’s health concerns does not believe that the menopause is a profound experience.
I can only repeat that for me it was. And it certainly seemed to be for most men and women I interviewed for my book Sex, Meaning and the Menopause.
Similar to most women who go through the menopause naturally (average age the UK is 51), I was still menstruating as I turned fifty and feeling pretty invincible. By the time I was fifty four, I was forced to confront the painful fact that my looks were fading and my libido had plummeted. Even though Patrick bristled at the suggestion that men are governed by sex (his expression was ‘sexist pigs’), of course this had an impact on my marriage.
85% of counsellors registered with the BACP (British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists) are of menopausal age.
A questionnaire prepared by a psychotherapy student from Nottingham University as part of her dissertation on the menopause revealed that most therapists believe that ‘training in and support with the menopause within the professional is “essential.”’
Yet there is no official training, guidance, or information for therapists on preparing for this profound and daunting life change. This fact was born out during the workshop I recently ran on Sex, Meaning and the Menopause for a well established Wiltshire counselling service.
Olivia Humphrey’s film Noctuaries will be showing on:
Sunday 24 February 2013
at 2.30pm – 5pm
The Natural Death Centre Cafe
London NW2 6AA
(near Willesden Green underground station)
Suggested donation : £5
Woman’s Hour this morning about my book Sex Meaning and the Menopause, and the importance of doing something to mark the transition into becoming an older woman.
Please do send me your comments about this.
Body floating next to bathers in Ganges
It’s a mean little bug that’s laid me very low and stopped my back-packing adventures mid-flight.
I have no idea how I caught it – it could be due to the extremely hot weather, or something waterborn from the Ganges (hardly surprising), or perhaps some microbe living in the filthy backstreets, or maybe it was the result of six weeks hard travelling (I was the only woman of 60 backpacking that I knew of) – but one day I was fine and looking forward to moving onto Vietnam, and the next I was most certainly not.
I had had enough of Varanasi by the time I fell sick, and I was determined to catch the one hour flight back Delhi so I could at least hole up in the Anoop Hotel for a couple of days before my flight was due to leave for Hanoi. Continue reading
Early morning on the Ganges
Before embarking on my Indian odyssey, I had imagined that my time in Varanasi, reputed to be the most sacred city on earth, would be one of quiet, peaceful reflection.
I should have known better.
India doesn’t do peace and quiet, especially in Varanasi.
The city side of the river Ganges is flanked by ghats, huge lines of stone steps leading down from the old city to the water’s edge.
This is where 60,000 people from all over India come daily to perform their pujas (prayers) in order to absolve themselves of their misdeeds so they can ensure a better life next time round.
Non existent lane discipline
When I drive towards a roundabout, husband Mark is always banging on at me about ‘lane discipline.’
Well, he would have a field day with Indian taxi drivers, or come to that, anyone courageous enough – or stupid enough– to get behind a wheel on Indian roads.
There are basically two modes of driving. One: full pelt ahead. Two: slamming on brakes. Yet, I am astounded by how skilful these drivers are at avoiding collisions (although the death toll on Indian roads is horrendously high).
The handsome Dr Kumar
I awoke yesterday morning at 5.30am to the delightful sounds of Payma’s mum gobbing up outside my bedroom window.
But my day really started when she came into my room at 6.00am to clean The Dalai Lama’s altar and light two large incense sticks.
She disappeared for a couple of minutes, to reappear with a large canister on chains full of red hot charcoal. She swung this in front of the altar several times, filling the room with smoke.
Time to make an early exit up the hill to wait for the cafe to open. Continue reading
Inside the Temple
Teaching English to Tibetan monks is one thing, but to see the Dalai Lama in person is quite another.
From Thursday to Saturday here in Dharamsala, he has been holding twice-daily open audiences at the Temple.
As 6,000 people are expected at each session, I was thrilled when Kunchok, a senior monk who runs the English teaching programme at the Temple, showed me a special area set aside for guests of the Temple office. This included those of us who teach English to the monks.
The area is outside the Temple itself, beside a large open widow promising a great view of his Holiness.
Traffic madness in McLeod Ganj
My time in McLeod Ganj is already half way through.
So far it’s been a mixture of what I expected (this is my third time in India) with a lot of surprises thrown in.
McLeod Ganj is a bustling town full of Indians, Tibetans, Westerners and goodness knows who else, living in peril of being mown down by maniacal drivers and motorcyclists.
For some reason traffic has right of way down these tiny streets teeming with people and shops. It’s remarkable so few get injured – not that I’ve seen, anyway.