March 31

2 Things You Need To Know About Peri-menopause That May Save Your Life.

Two- the number of the day.  Two posts coming today.  The first is the 2 things you need to know about peri-menopause that may save your life.

I’m writing this today because this happens to be one of the days where I’m experiencing both and every time this happens I say “I really should warn them… ”

So here I am.  Warning you.

There are lots of things about menopause and peri-menopause that you read about in books, magazines, blogs, and articles.  But two of the most life-threatening are seldom mentioned:

(1) Crazy, over-the-top anxiety/ panic attacks.  Often with full-blown heart gripping pressure and palpitations.  And

(2) Short, intense bouts of suicidal-level depression

Thankfully, for me, neither of these are long-lasting effects.  They come from out of the blue, last for a day or two, then go away until their next uninvited visit.  But while they are here, they shut down my life.   I can scarcely function at all.

But here’s the thing.   Doctors who do admit to anxiety and depression during “the change” like to say that women who were prone to anxiety and depression before menopause will likely be the ones to experience these attacks during the menopausal transition.  Not true.

I have always been the happiest person I’ve ever met.

Maybe nobody knows what it is or where it comes from or why, but they need to stop implying that it’s a personality quirk or female drama episodes or all in our heads.  It’s real.  It’s dangerous.  And it can happen to any of us, or all of us.  And sweeping it under the carpet isn’t helping.  We need to be warned so we can be ready.

For me, today is an anxiety day.   I can almost (sort of) deal with these now.  I’ve learned that when the chest tightness sets in and the worrying begins, and my brain screams to shut down, I need to meditate. and that helps me calm my body.   Some days, like today, I have to stop literally every ten or fifteen minutes to do some deep breathing and meditation.   It’s annoying, but I get through it.   It’ll be almost the only thing I do all day.  For me, journaling and blogging often helps too.  I can type through my worries.   It’s taken me almost a year to figure out how to work through these anxious days, but I’m finally doing it.

It’s the depression days that scare me most.

Again, happy person.  Me.  Chronically.  I have the most amazing life.  I have great dreams and lots of adventures.  But when those intense depression days hit, something very strange happens.   Out of nowhere comes thoughts that seem to be coaxing me to leave this world.     “All this could be over forever.  No more worries.”  or “Imagine just going to sleep and not waking up into this world.  Wouldn’t that be nice?”  or my favorite “We could do it together–Mr. C and me.”

Crazy right?  yeah.  It’s that kind of crazy.  And it’s so real, and it makes so much sense at the time.   I find myself starting to agree and think it’s a good idea.   Often times I find myself thinking of arguments to tell Mr. C to try to convince him to do it with me.  Once or twice, many month ago, I found myself debating how to do it and making preparations.   That’s the day I picked up the phone and called Mr. C and told him what my brain was doing.  Needless to say, he was alarmed.  He came home.

We talked.  A lot.  And by talking through it, I realized that this had been happening every 4-5 weeks for a while.  I’d suddenly wake up profoundly depressed one day, fight the urge to do something stupid and permanent all day, go to bed, and wake up feeling like my normal happy self the next day or at the very most two days later.  It must be hormonal, we reasoned. (I have since begun marking them on the calendar and discovered they are absolutely cyclic.)  So… we agreed then that whenever I wake up feeling like that I am to tell him immediately.  And I am to then pack up and go visit or go to the bookstore or shopping for the day.   No staying home alone.  All I need to do is get through the crazy hormonal day, so I am to find pleasant distractions and stay WITH people, even if they are people I don’t know.

So far, obviously, it’s worked.  But that’s because I know what’s going on and I have a support system and a plan in place.   How many women don’t have those two things?  How many women experience intense hormone-induced depression and never tell anyone?  How many act upon it like this woman did?  Why isn’t this a better known issue?

I think that every time a woman goes for a mammogram, this discussion should be happening with the tech.  Or at the very least, some literature on the subject should be stuffed in her hands, or displayed on the wall in the waiting room.   However they do it, every woman needs to hear that these things may happen and she is NOT crazy.  She is normal.  It is part of the change, and she just needs to kick into gear with the plan she should have in place BEFORE those days ever come.

So there.  That’s it.  I had to warn you.  So this doesn’t happen to you unexpectedly.   And you need to warn your daughters when they get old enough to understand what you are talking about.   We need to spread the word.   Tell them.

Tell them it’s temporary.  It’s not real depression.  They don’t really want to hurt themselves or leave this world.   Tell them.  Don’t do it.  Call a friend.  Visit.  Swim.  Read.  Do anything, but don’t stay home alone!

Okay.  I feel better.   God bless, and take care, Ladies.  We’ve got this.


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Posted March 31, 2016 by The50sHousewife in category "Diet & Health --Back then and Now

11 COMMENTS :

  1. By Michelle on

    Oh, the anxiety!!! Ugh! I have not experienced the depression part but wow did I have the anxiety part. Going to drs they would look at my age and say oh you are depressed. I only had one checkmark on the depression chart, which was anxiety. On the perimenopause chart, I had 27 of 30 symptoms yet they dismissed it due to my age (it started when I was 32, I am 46 now) Finally got to a naturalpath dr and she took thorough tests and discovered I had basically no progesterone or estrogen. Bio identical hormones cleared it up and as I age, I see I need a bit more some days. It is scary as heck. I have friends that call me in a panic, but because I discussed it openly, they knew in the back of their minds what it really was. Don’t stop til you get a dr to listen!

    Reply
  2. By Dana on

    I can’t express it fully, but thank you… to the fullest extent of the phrase. <3

    Reply
  3. By Kristine Willems on

    I agree. But also, don’t just take your doctors words for you being in the peri menopausal stage when physical symptoms set in. I did and as symptoms worsened ( flooding, never stopping, weird bloating, etc) it was discovered, oh not in perimenopause at all, you need an emergency hysterectomy to remove ovarian cancer. That was a year ago and over treatment now, all clear but ANY physical change, get checked, ultrasound and/or blood test for markers. and I agree abut the suicidal/anxiety thing. I’ve never been one to totally fall apart and then after the op, it hit hard. Thanks for posting this, we need to know we’re not crazy, this happens and we can get through it. Mr C is a good man…you are lucky and wishing you strength to keep focused on the good days xx

    Reply
  4. By Christina L. on

    I love you so much my dear sweet friend! I love that Mr. C of yours and how well he takes care of you, how wonderfully he loves you! You know I have struggled with depression and anxiety for years now, but with the amazing support of my Mr. I too have learned to recognize symptoms and triggers and get myself through the worst of it. And now I am hitting perimenopause as well and the anxiety has revved up. Thank you so much for the heads up and I will be aware if anything else rears its ugly head. Because we deserve to be the colorful wacky fun loving women we are meant to be…not the gray blobs that are a mere shadow of who we are on those days of funk! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    Reply
  5. By Karen on

    Thank you for posting about this! For me (I’ll be 48 in a couple weeks), it has been bouts of anger/rage or tears because the wind changed direction or some other stupid thing…. or nothing. My thoughts get away with me – everything from ridiculously overthinking situations to wondering what my husband “might” be doing (that he wouldn’t actually do!)
    Some days I don’t recognize me – where did the happy girl go? My kids and husband certainly don’t know what happened to make me bite their head off and they usually give plenty of room. I’ve had to do a bunch of apologizing lately. 🙁
    Thankfully I have a wonderful husband who will hug me and hold me until I can gain control again! 🙂

    Reply
  6. By Julie on

    Thank you so much for this. I have just come through the menopause and only recently found out that symptoms included depression & anxiety. I had a stressful & tiring job and sometimes found it really difficult to cope. My Dr put me on Prozac (antidepressant) but I later took a more natural route. I found herbal remedies-St john’s Wort for depression, and Red Clover for hot flushes were a big help,
    I also made the decision, with my husband’s full support, to stop work. For the last 2 mths I’ve been a traditional housewife again, and feel I am beginning to rediscover the person I was made to be. Thank you for your blog – it’s a wonderful encouragement.

    Reply
  7. By Susan L. on

    In a way, I’m very glad I entered into this phase of my life when I did. The age of instant information was a Godsend for me. I never really had the anxiety part, but boy did I have bouts of depression. Yes, the suicidal kind. I went for a long time just thinking that I was just really really really unhappy. Then I looked it up online. I started showing signs of peri-menopause in my early 40’s. Not only depression, but my sex drive! whoa! I did mention the depression to my doctor and she wanted to prescribe me antidepressants but I refused. After knowing what was going on and what I was up against made it easier to deal with. I knew these feelings were hormone driven. My poor husband went through hell, lol. I still get a small bit of depression from time to time, but I just work around it. Kind of like being in a dream and you tell yourself it’s just a dream. I just tell myself, it’s just hormones.

    Reply
  8. By Shelley on

    Thank you so much for posting this. It takes courage to speak these things out loud – so to speak. I’m in perimenopause and I too feel like I’m going mad. My GP wants to put me on HRT. I’m scared but he says I’m too young to go full on into Menopause. I personally would prefer to just get it over with! (I’m 45) I’m already on antidepressants and they don’t seem to lift me at all. I’ve been on them for over a year. I have a wonderful husband but even he is asking me to try HRT.

    Reply

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