By Amy Hunt
In an open and honest chat with Lorraine Kelly, Carol Vorderman has spoken candidly about her struggles with the menopause - and how it almost left her in a downwards spiral of depression.
While chatting on Wednesday's episode of Lorraine, Carol admitted that the menopause left her struggling to see a way out of her depression, given the mix of hormones and emotions.
She revealed, "There was a blackness where I would wake up and nothing else in my life was going wrong, and I would think "I don't see the point in carrying on, I don't see the point in life"'.
She also admitted that the dark feelings hit her like a ton of bricks, saying, "It didn't occur to me, I was getting on with it. I'm independent, powering on, bringing up my kids by myself and then this depression hit me."
Carol, whose mother has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer, also said how depression and mental illness is something she takes seriously, and that the word was completely right to describe what she was going through.
She said, "I don't use the word depression lightly. This was a blackness where I would wake up and nothing else in my life was going wrong, and I would think I don't see the point in carrying on... and there was no reason to do that."
Typical ‘treatment' to ease symptoms of the menopause includes taking regular exercise, and eating healthily - all things Carol said she was doing. But the former presenter of Countdown admitted that it just wasn't enough to help.
She said, "I thought I'd do anything for this feeling to stop, but I just can't sort it. I was doing all the things that are recommended, eating healthy, exercising but I was still that low."
"I realised the two weeks of every month I was in the blackest of black and then times - I wasn't happy - but not as bad and I thought "has this got something to do with the [menstrual] cycle?"'
Heartbreakingly, Carol later admitted that caring for her children (Cameron, 19, and Katie, 26) and knowing they needed her was the only thing that kept her going. She said, "I really feel for women going through it, because It's really really horrible. If it weren't for the kids I suspect we wouldn't be talking today.
"This totally floored me, and I have empathy with people who have proper depression. You need to go get help, and we should be talking about it, and I wonder if men have something like this."
But she later admitted that, after realising what she was going through, she booked herself in for a pap smear, which made all the difference. From then, she began to use a cream made up of oestrogen and testosterone to help regulate her hormones.
She said, "From the moment I took it I have never ever felt that way. I've been fed up, and my mum's not well so I'm upset but there's a reason for those things. Before there wasn't and it was categorically to do with hormones.
"From the moment I started using cream, I've not had a moment since, which is why I went in the jungle [I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!]. I loved it."
And now she's found a way to cope with the symptoms of menopause, Carol is embracing this new stage of her life.
Speaking before she went into the jungle in October 2016, she said, "Now I am a menopausal Mama, I am having the time of my life. I am doing a lot more adventurous stuff and it's the sense of adventure that I love about this show. It's a very free time in my life."
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