Menopause and anxiety – You’re not alone!

Anxiety may literally be the most unnerving of the emotional traumas visited upon menopausal women; certainly it’s one of the least recognized or discussed.

Menopause | Stress and sleep

asktheexpert
Sonia Chartier
@AVogel_ca


15 March 2016

Anxiety may literally be the most unnerving of the emotional traumas visited upon menopausal women; certainly it’s one of the least recognized or discussed.

A number of goddesses struggle with this frightening symptom, so let’s address and demystify it.

First and most important, anxiety that comes out of nowhere when you enter perimenopause and menopause is NORMAL! Not every woman will suffer it, but those who do can take heart that it is just another in the panoply of disorders that accompany this transition.

Second, it is TEMPORARY! It will get better. Most women have anxiety issues that last 6 months to 2 years. (If you’ve just started having anxiety episodes, you may be screaming inside “Two years! I can’t take two more years of this!”) Oh yes, you can. And you will. And there’s help.

You are not alone.

Midlife women, who previously had never suffered from anxiety and fear, found themselves terrified driving on the motorway or over bridges, petrified for no reason on a daily basis, even experiencing full-blown panic attics in the absence of any recognizable threat. How were we to cope?

Home remedies should be your first stop for treating anxiety during the menopause. Although some take time and dedication, it may be worth the effort in the long run:

  • Relaxation techniques – yoga, meditation and breathing exercises have been used for years to counteract anxiety. Being able to calm your body and mind can significantly reduce the severity or frequency of anxiety attacks.
  • Healthy lifestyle – We have heard it all before, but a healthy diet and lifestyle can have a significant impact on how you feel.
  • Reduce caffeine – caffeine is notorious for making people jittery, so consuming a lot of caffeine will only make your anxiety worse. You can opt for a delicious cup of herbal tea or a coffee substitute.

If you do opt to try a natural supplement to help overcoming your stress and anxiety, consider the herbs valerian or passion flower.  Let your healthcare practitioner know and monitor your symptoms and dosage carefully.

Be wary of pharmaceutical intervention as a first answer. Tranquilizers and other drugs such as Prozac may be helpful, but may cause other problems or adverse effects. Remember, we’re women. We can handle a lot. We do every day. As long as we know it’s NORMAL and TEMPORARY.

If you are frightened and jittery, that’s normal. If you cannot leave the house because of fear, or are unable to conduct activities of daily living, that’s not normal and professional help is needed.

Give yourself little “reality checks” when your worrying is excessively annoying. Ask yourself:

  • “What is happening right now, this moment?” (Usually the answer is “Nothing.”)
  • “Am I safe, alive, comfortable, etc?” Then take deep breaths and decided not to panic until you have something to actually panic about, rather than a mental litany of “what ifs”. This actually help ease your jitters quite a bit.

Above all, be gentle with yourself. Give your fear a name. Invite it in for tea. Recognize it as another part of this roller coaster ride we call Menopause – remember right after the scary climb up, anticipating the drop, comes the thrill of a great ride. Let’s do it with your friends – it’s easier to share both the fear and the fun.

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