Woman, 57, sent home with anti-depressants after GP failed to recognise signs of menopause

Lynda Bailey was prescribed anti-depressants after GP failed to recognise signs of menopause. Credit: ITV News Central

A 57-year-old from Dudley who "didn't want to be here anymore" has opened up to ITV Central about her menopausal experience after GPs failed to recognise the signs.

Lynda Bailey booked an appointment to see the GP after years of suffering from severe anxiety and time off work.

Being unable to speak with fear, she wrote a letter to her GP and, after a brief chat about her symptoms, Ms Bailey - who was 49 at the time - was sent away with a prescription for anti-depressants.

Back then, Ms Bailey said she was the type of person who refused to take medication for a headache, but after much persuasion from a specialist she eventually tried Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).

'HRT changed my life'

Six years later, Lynda still takes HRT, which she says "changed her life".

Now, Ms Bailey dedicates her life to spreading awareness about menopause as she stresses that not enough is being done to help women understand that what they are going through is normal.

She is now the Co-Founder and Director of Talking Menopause - an organisation dedicated to providing professional training to create a workplace culture of menopause openness and understanding for all.

Menopausal women are demographically the fastest growing group of workers in the UK and, despite it being a natural life process, the menopause is rarely discussed.

Lynda shares her menopause journey

It all started with high levels of anxiety - Ms Bailey was an inspector at West Midlands Police, but the day-to-day role of managing people and being on the front line became too much.

She had lost all of her confidence and said that she no longer liked the person that she had become.

Desperately trying to find reasons as to why she was feeling this way, Ms Bailey put it down to stress of work.

She felt lost and didn't know what to do, so she booked an appointment with the GP who sent her home with a prescription for anti-depressants.

Despite her brain fog at the time, Ms Bailey knew that this wasn't what she needed.

"I tried all kinds of things... I even ended up in church"

Desperately trying to find a solution, she tried raki, supplements, turned to someone who believed in angels and attended church.

She couldn't function at work so she took time off, but it wasn't long before her bosses came knocking on her door wondering when she would come back.

Eventually, the force changed her role so she went back to work.

Some days she would cry all the way to the office.

Ms Bailey started to research around menopause and began to realise that this could be what was happening to her, but there were so many stories around HRT that she was too scared to take it.

"Why don't we talk about it?"

Passionate about her own experience, Ms Bailey started trying to raise awareness around menopause in the workplace.

One day, a doctor came to West Midlands Police and was very impressed with her attempts.

The doctor suggested Ms Bailey try HRT but she declined, insisting she "wasn't the type of person to take medication".

After many failed attempts from the doctor, Ms Bailey went to see the specialist in her surgery and finally went home with a prescription for HRT.

She tried it and within 48 hours, Ms Bailey said she felt "80% better".

"I felt incredible, Im back, ready to take on the world," she said.

Ms Bailey stressed the medication is different for every person but for her, it "changed her life".

She added that menopause is not being spoken about enough, saying despite the fact that 50% of the population are going to experience menopause, there is a lack of education surrounding the topic.

Ms Bailey didn't feel like she could talk about her menopause at the time because she didn't want to admit what she was going through in the workplace, so she withdrew.

Now, she has dedicated her career to making sure it's a "normal conversation in the workplace", visiting all kinds of employers.

Lynda says men need to join the conversation too

Since developing Talking Menopause, Lynda has stressed the need for men to understand all about menopause too.

She said: "It shouldn't be something that is embarrassing to talk about anymore."

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