Fiona Phillips says menopause has left her ‘fearing’ for her ‘sanity’ and ‘career’

‘It feels like I’m gradually being dragged away from the person I used to be,’ journalist said

Peony Hirwani
Wednesday 19 January 2022 08:11
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Fiona Phillips discusses tackling loneliness at Christmas

Fiona Phillips has been suffering from “brain fog” and “anxiety” ever since entering menopause.

While explaining her absence from TV, the 61-year-old English journalist wrote in her Daily Mirror column that she was “unwell” all this time.

“I was, in fact, at home, racked with anxiety, a tearful, fearful, anxious wreck, a shadow of myself and unable to work, or to write this column, unable to drive or to cook or do anything useful at all,” the former GMTV host said.

Phillips revealed that she has “cried a thousand rivers in the past few weeks” ever since the symptoms of menopause overcame her.

“I’ve been fearing for my sanity and am scared to do things that I’ve been doing with ease for years, even things as simple as ­shopping for food,” she wrote. “I had to leave the supermarket mid-shop last week because I became overwhelmed and panicked.”

The journalist continued by acknowledging that “there are thousands of bewildered women like me who may also be struggling and not getting the help they need and deserve”.

Fiona Phillips told former pupils, governors and teachers tales of how she and her classmates threw one teacher over a bush and locked another in a cupboard.

Phillips says she has discovered various states of “fear, rampant anxiety, joylessness and depression” in the past few months.

“It feels like I’m gradually being dragged away from the person I used to be... and it’s all down to a cruel event that stealthily robs women of who they are when they hit midlife,” she wrote. “It’s the menopause.”

Phillips admitted that she’s scared to go back on TV due to her condition.

“I hope to God this isn’t the end of my career,” she wrote.

Phillips started her career in independent radio working as a reporter for local stations County Sound in Surrey, Hereward Radio, and Radio Mercury in Sussex.

Moving from radio to television several years later, she joined BBC South East’s Weekend programme as co-presenter.

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She then became a reporter with CNN News, later moving on to become the station’s entertainment editor, producing, reporting, and presenting CNN News’ entertainment output.

Phillips has presented celebrity lifestyle shows, including OK! TV, Baby House, and Room to Rent, Carlton’s entertainment guide Good Stuff, ITV’s Sunday Night, and the Rich and Famous series.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.

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