Ulrika Jonsson recalls terrifying early-onset dementia fears at the start of the menopause

Ulrika Jonsson says end of her last marriage was ‘devastating’

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Ulrika Jonsson, 54, opened up about her experience going through menopause, which she revealed came completely out of the blue one day when she was 46 years old. In a candid tell-all for The Sun, the TV personality was left confused when dark moods, anxiety and brain fog started to set in.

I suddenly found it hard to recall all manner of things

Ulrika Jonsson

The worrying symptoms led her to believe she was suffering from dementia, as her memory was no longer “sharp as a tack” as she used to be “someone who took pride in remembering things.”

She also began to gain weight despite being active.

“I suddenly found it hard to recall all manner of things,” she penned in the column.

“It really perturbed me. I found myself searching for words mid-sentence.

“In my mind’s eye it felt like complete darkness in front of me — I had no visual prompts for the words I was searching for.”

Her forgetfulness soon became a family joke but the reality “plagued” Ulrika.

“Who knows if it was this that ­triggered my dark moods, or my dark moods triggering the forgetfulness, but my demeanour became downcast and gloomy,” she explained.

“I remember lying in bed at night feeling as if my entire body was descending into a cloudy and murky state.

“That’s when anxiety set in.

“Sure, I had been anxious about things in life before but this felt like a whole other condition.”

She admitted she would “lose her breath” after being bombarded with negative and panicky thoughts.

But she soon began to connect the dots of her symptoms, ashamed that there was “no way in the world” she would’ve associated them with the onset of the ­menopause.

“My limited knowledge about it amounted to someone having hot flushes and heightened ­emotions,” she said.

By going through a nasty experience in the run-up to diagnosing her condition, she encouraged others to do research into it and “spread the word”.

“I kept my symptoms to myself until I started to believe I might have early-onset dementia,” Ulrika wrote.

“I finally confided in a close friend who is a few years older and she smiled, put her arm around me and said, ‘No, love, it’s just the start of the menopause.’

“I was dumbfounded. For me, it felt like a very cruel last blow from Mother Nature.”

She went on: “I didn’t recognise myself any more and I began to retreat.

“In some form or another I probably withdrew from my husband.”

Ulrika continued to explain how she wishes more people had more of an awareness of the experience she went through, not just other women but men too.

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