Some women reveal how debilitating symptoms caused by menopause can turn their world upside down, forcing them to quit their jobs.  

Jo Whiley recently admitted that going through menopause caused her to feel like an ‘invisible’ when she began suffering from brain fog. 

56-year-old radio DJ said she suffered from low self-esteem and mood swings. She also felt the “wobbles,” a burning sensation in her mouth, and general confusion. 

FEMAIL spoke to three women about their decision to leave their lucrative careers. They were paranoid after experiencing menopause, which left them unable and sometimes unable, to handle daily stress.

Heather Hancock (54), a Cambridgeshire resident, revealed that her brain fog was so bad, she thought she had early-onset dementia. She quit her position as an executive member of a healthcare organization board and took a step back.  

Lauren Hopkins, a 48-year-old nurse from Hackney in London who has multiple sclerosis, was forced to quit after 30 years of working as a mental healthcare nurse. Her extreme symptoms included brain fog, night sweats, and depression.

And Jo Moseley, 56, from the Yorkshire Dales,  didn’t realise the anxiety and deep sense of sadness she started feeling aged 48 in 2013 were actually symptoms of her perimenopause.

Each woman revealed the ways that Hormone Treatment Therapy, HRT – alternative medicine, exercise and therapy – has helped her overcome symptoms. It is possible for them to live a normal lifestyle again. 

Heather Hancock (54), from Cambridgeshire 

Heather Hancock, pictured, 54, from Cambridgeshire, feared she was suffering from early onset dementia due to her crippling brain fog

Heather Hancock, 54, of Cambridgeshire, was concerned that her brain fog would lead to early-onset dementia. 

Heather Hancock is 54 years old and hails from Cambridgeshire. She said she felt paranoid following her first period symptoms. 

According to her, she did not experience the menopausal symptoms of hot flushes or night sweat. Her brain fog became so severe that she forgot what her friends had said to her just 20 minutes earlier. 

It became clear to her that she might be suffering from dementia, and she began to fear she would not be able perform as an executive in a large healthcare organization. 

I can clearly see the start of my menopause. It was the beginning of 2018, and I was truly struggling. “I had severe anxiety. I was experiencing night sweats and disturbed sleep. 

Heather was always reliant on her brain. Having her mind distorted by brain fog left Heather anxious and afraid.  

Heather, pictured now, said she had to quit her job due to her menopause because she was not able to perform at the level that was expected of her

Heather is pictured right now. Heather said she lost her job after going through menopause. 

The 54-year-old said her menopause cost her her relationship and her job. But after being diagnosed and treated with HRT, she said her life is back on track

She said that her menopause caused her to lose her love and job. She said that her life was back on track after she had been diagnosed with HRT. 

‘My brain just wasn’t functioning, I would lose my train of thought and couldn’t recall what I had literally just said and I was scared – I thought I was starting with dementia which my father had,’ she added. 

Her fears stemmed from her concern that her dad had died of dementia. His symptoms, however, were not recognized by her because of his advanced age. 

Heather claimed that anxiety caused her to lose her close relationships with loved ones.  

Heather said menopause is not a taboo subject and needs to be discussed openly so as to help other women in the workplace

Heather stated that menopause should not be taboo and must be openly discussed in order to support other women at work. 

‘My behaviour completely changed – my daughter thought I was bipolar. So I went to the psychiatrist and admitted that I did have a mental disorder. After careful questioning he confirmed that I wasn’t suffering with a bipolar disorder, but had significant mood disturbance and was just terribly sad,’ she said. 

Heather experienced menopause symptoms that cost her her relationship and job. She couldn’t keep up with the demands. 

Her relationship with her child was also strained.  

When Heather contacted her GP, she was told she had anxiety and depression, and that she needed to ‘take a step back, calm down and meditate’. 

Heather made an appointment at the Online Menopause Centre and learned that she was severely lacking in key hormones. She was told she was “running on empty”.  

Her HRT was recommended and she claimed that within a matter of weeks, her body was back to normal. 

‘I now have a great relationship with my daughter, I’m starting to talk to my ex-partner and I’m now doing a job I love as an MD of a tech start-up business. 

Heather said, “It was a blessing that I met a doctor who fully understood the menopause. He also took time to get to know me and my needs. 

The Online Menopause Centre, which was founded by Dr Laila Kaikavoosi, offers video consultations and treatments to help women go through the menopause and perimenopause.   

Heather wants to raise awareness about the menopause and stop treating it as taboo.

“Menopause was a topic that was kept under the radar and not discussed,” she stated. 

Also, she called upon workplaces to provide support for female employees. 

A quarter of all women have had suicidal thoughts after perimenopause.

According to Health and Her, one-tenth of women have had suicidal thoughts related directly to their perimenopause.

OnePol conducted the survey on 2,000 women between 46 and 60 in UK who experienced perimenopause. 

Nine percent of women going through perimenopause reported having thoughts about suicide.

However, 86% said that their menopause symptoms had caused them to have mental health problems. 

This survey also found that 37% of women didn’t seek treatment for their symptoms and 89% said they hadn’t discussed their feelings with their partner.    

She stated that women need to be encouraged and supported to access the correct help. 

Heather felt that the severe negative effect menopause can have on certain women’s mental health may be connected to an increased suicide rate in women age 49-54.

According to the ONS, the suicide rate for males and women aged between 45-49 years was the highest in any age group. 

“The feeling of hopelessness and despair that I experienced made it possible for me to commit suicide. I didn’t have the luck to find a doctor that understood my situation and offered me hope that I can overcome these feelings and live a normal, happy life. “This time, my life has never been so good,” she stated. 

Heather’s own experiences with menopause led her to start her own coaching business for women at work and to help them deal with life’s problems.   

Jo Moseley (56), Yorkshire Dales   

Jo Moseley is a Yorkshire Dales single mum who, at 48, didn’t recognize the symptoms of peri-menopause. 

‘I thought it was the stress of raising my sons, of looking after my parents, who had both been diagnosed with cancer,’ she explained. 

A single mother claimed she did not know what was wrong until the day that her depression became so severe. She then broke down in tears when she dropped her bags at her Tesco, and fell into the biscuit aisle.   

It’s what my boys and I call the “Chocolate Hobnob” incident. I just felt like I couldn’t cope with it all, just asking how did my life get to this – all of these intense, conflicting emotions welling up inside me,’ she explained. 

Jo Moseley, 56, from the Yorkshire Dales, said she suffered from acute anxiety and only realised later that it had been a symptom of her menopause

Jo Moseley (56), from Yorkshire Dales said that she experienced acute anxiety. She only realized later that this was a sign of her menopause. 

She explained that she could only explain her emotions with the stress of being a single mom and my worry for my parents. However, when I look back, I realized I had been experiencing symptoms such as itching skin, night sweats cold flushes, anxiety, and tinnitus. 

According to her, the emotional and physical turmoil caused her to fall to her knees. 

‘The worst thing was I had no reason why – why my body hurt, why my head ached. She said that it was two to three years later when I gathered the information from twitter conversations and began doing some research. 

Jo was relieved to learn that she actually had perimenopause.   

‘It was a lightbulb moment, looking at the list of symptoms and realising – oh, that makes sense, that’s why my body aches, that’s why I’m going through cold flushes,’ she said. 

It was almost like turning on the light and being lost in darkness. I’m so glad that we are beginning to talk more about it,’ she added, saying you can’t do something about what you’re going through if you don’t know what it is. 

Jo, pictured now, said rowing and exercise helped her overcome her anxiety. She did not take HRT at the time because she believed she could not, due to the fact her father suffered from breast cancer

Jo (pictured here) said that rowing and exercising helped her get over her anxiety. Due to her father’s breast cancer diagnosis, Jo didn’t take HRT.

‘So many women just don’t know what they’re going through – I was one! I would mull it over and over – is it depression, is it anxiety? None of these answers seemed right to me. 

Jo stated that she didn’t receive HRT during her treatment for her breast cancer symptoms. This was because Jo thought it was impossible to take HRT due to the fact her father was a woman with breast cancer. 

Although she said that she had other options that were effective at the time for her, she stated that HRT would be a very different option if she was now 48.  

‘We need to talk about these things – so women know that they can get help and they deserve help for their perimenopause symptoms. Our bodies and minds are going through it – let’s not be ashamed of it. It does not do anyone any good,” she stated. 

Jo started rowing and exercise after her Tesco collapse. 

In order to deal with her sadness, she started seeing a therapist. She was also able to process her loss.  

“I felt as though my emotions were on the edge of colliding with each other,” she said. The counsellor made me feel stronger by saying it out loud. She advised that I stop waving my arms and start rowing back towards the shore.  

Jo's now a keen paddle-boarder, pictured, and her story was adapted into a movie titled Brave enough

Jo, now a paddle-boarder enthusiast, was featured in this picture. The movie Brave enough adapted her story.

Self-compassion and exercising were her only means of coping with her symptoms during perimenopause.  

It is important to practice self-compassion during the menopause. It’s not pull yourself together – it’s gently holding yourself. It’s not that you aren’t tough. I don’t know any woman who gets to 50 who isn’t tough, who isn’t a hero,’ she said. 

‘But it’s about letting yourself be treated kindly, too. If you’re in their forties and fifties you’re juggling a lot of people and things, and that’s hard work, and they should appreciate yourself for doing that,’ she added. 

Jo decided that she would participate in Macmillan Cancer Research’s half marathons and a marathon to commemorate the death of her mother in December 2014.

She became the first woman in 2019 to paddleboard coast-tocoast. Brave Enough made a documentary about her journey. 

Lauren Hopkins (48), Hackney

Lauren, a Hackney resident, revealed that she has experienced extreme menopause symptoms at an early age. 

Lauren had suffered with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome over many years, and was then induced by an ectopic child. She decided to have a hysterectomy at 38. 

The woman had conducted extensive research and asked to have HRT applied, particularly with a patch. However, it was not granted immediately.

“I recall feeling like I was going to die. I called the nurse as I believed I had an acute infection.” she stated. 

Lauren was told by her doctor that her body would need six weeks to realize her uterus was dead. But Lauren insisted on getting the patch.  

Lauren, who had MS and was then given the patch continued to live her normal life until her doctor removed her from the HRT. 

The doctors suspected that she suffered from a stroke. They took her off of the menopause medications in January 2020 right before the pandemic coronavirus. 

Lauren Hopkins, pictured, 48, from Hackney, went through menopause at the young age of 38 after undergoing a hysterectomy

Lauren Hopkins, Hackney 48-year-old, was diagnosed with menopause shortly after her 38th birthday. She had undergone a hysterectomy.

“I had additional MS symptoms. [the doctors[ thought I was having a stroke and then Covid-19 hit and I didn’t want to bother the GP with trying to go back on the HRT I just thought “I’ll grin and bare it”.’

But Lauren admitted she couldn’t cope with the severity of her symptoms, and turned to medical cannabis, which she claims has helped. 

Lauren said she suffered from 'nuclear' night sweats and hot flushes. She was put on HRT swiftly after her hysterectomy

Lauren said she suffered from ‘nuclear’ night sweats and hot flushes. She was put on HRT swiftly after her hysterectomy 

As a result she had to quit her job. 

‘Being plunged into the menopause last year, it completely made everything so much worse, so much more difficult, I was having the symptoms of MS, and trying to juggle those with the ones that I knew where menopause-related.    

She came back on the HRT in April 2021, and said it helped drastically with her symptoms, which included night sweats, hot flushes, brain fog and depression. 

‘Night sweats don’t even describe it. It was like a nuclear reaction inside you. All the words that are used really downplay [what it is like].’ 

She said that she needed a wind turbine to cool her heat and sweats, rather than an air conditioner. 

She said, “I’ve been a nurse in mental health for my entire life, so I have never experienced anxiety. But now, all of it,” 

It is important to take care of your health. You need calcium, and everything else. But last thing you want to do when you’re feeling c*** is going down to the gym and lift some weight,’ she said.  

“Sometimes, I felt like it was going to end. Do I really want to stay in the menopause?If this is how it will be, can you help me cope?She said it candidly. 

“When I began to have those dark thoughts, it kind of motivated me to take action and get back on HRT and cannabis,” she stated. 

She started HRT again in April, and says she feels better.