Actress Gillian Anderson on menopause: "I felt like somebody else had taken over my brain."

“It was eight in the morning and I remember throwing my coat down on the floor in front of at least two of my children, and saying out loud, ‘This day sucks!’ The day hadn’t even started. And as the day went on, I kept having to excuse myself from meetings and go into the bathroom to cry.”

Actress and author Gillian Anderson has spoken about her experience with menopause and, before that, perimenopause.

The mother-of-three wrote for Lenny Letter, and was interviewed by The Guardian, and talked about the difficulty and the memory loss and the out-of-control emotions that come with the fluctuating levels of oestrogen and progesterone during menopause.

She says lately things have become so bad, she’s considering testing herself for dyslexia. “Somebody had said to me that dyslexia isn’t just about seeing words backwards, it’s also about the assimilation of information,” the 48-year-old actress told The Guardian.

Gillian Anderson attends the 'Viceroy's House' premiere during the 67th Berlinale International Film Festival Berlin on February 12, 2017 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo via Getty Images)

Back to the morning of throwing things down in front of her children and crying all day in the office... Anderson says it was a turning point.

"It was at the point that I felt like my life was falling apart around me that I started to ask what could be going on internally, and friends suggested it might be hormonal," she wrote for Lenny Letter. "I was used to being able to balance a lot of things, and all of a sudden I felt like I could handle nothing. I felt completely overwhelmed. I felt like somebody else had taken over my brain."

It's not something we hear often.


Female celebrities are under such pressure to maintain the illusion of youthfulness. Smooth skin. No wrinkles. Slim figures. Perky breasts. It's unusual to see a recognition of ageing, let alone a full-blown admission that 'yes, I am going through menopause' and 'yes, it is hell'.

"How wonderful would it be if we could get to a place where we are able to have these conversations openly and without shame," Anderson wrote for Lenny Letter. "[Where we could] admit, freely, that this is what's going on. So we don't feel like we're going mad or insane or alone in any of the symptoms we are having."

Sometimes, Success comes later in life. Post continues...

Indeed, the hormonal changes that precede menopause can affect women as early as in their late thirties. This is called 'perimenopause' and can also cause significant side-effects.

It commonly affects your period pattern and leads into symptoms such as fatigue; hot flushes; breast tenderness; vaginal dryness; headaches; mood swings; incontinence; decreased libido; and trouble sleeping.

Once menopause hits, it's all these symptoms compounded.

"Literally one moment you're fine, and then another, you feel like you're in a vat of boiling water and the rug has been pulled out from underneath you, especially the first experience," Sex and the City actress Kim Cattrall told Tune into Menopause.

"My sex drive has totally changed. One minute I'm like 'Yeah! I can't wait for it'. The next I'm saying 'Oh God, go away'," actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg told Contact Music.

The only way to make it a little less terrifying, and a little more bearable?

To talk about it.