Mood swings .... like a big wave ....you can see it coming, the big wave of emotions, the dip before it crashes. Exploding, froth and foam full of anger, sadness, frustration, irritability, snappiness and then the tears. OMG I just want to lay here and sob, exhausted, tired, what the hell just happened today?!!!
Did you know that mood swings are one of the most commonly experienced symptoms of the menopause?
The menopause can be an emotional upheaval like you've never known before; Up and down like a yoyo. Hey I am having a great week, this menopause lark isn't so bad ..... uh oh, the yoyo just hit the ground at lightening speed ! You think things are going well. Your mood is high and you are bobbing along in a happy place. Then something may happen ... or it may not .... and your mood, like that big wave, comes crashing in.
Of course mood swings can affect women in different ways but there are many similarities in the symptoms. We can experience unexplained moods which can change from day to day, hour to hour or even minute to minute! Our reactions at this stage in our lives are more often than not, much stronger than a particular event or situation merits and irritability and less tolerance or patience than normal sets in. This is normal behaviour for the menopausal woman, a common symptom and there are many many women out in the world experiencing the same thing. It is important to understand this so that you do not just think you are becoming a miserable batty old person!!
Of course these mood swings can be so frustrating. They feel out of control and not like you at all. We often feel that no one understands what we are going through. This is particularly true for those of us who have a partner and they make a bolt for it out of the door at the first sign of the 'wave'! Or they look at you like you are the mad women from Borneo! My experience has been that it is important to try and explain that these mood swings are a normal part of the menopause. It does not mean that you are depressed or in a bad place. Those closest to you and who play an important role in your life need to understand where you are at on your life journey. For me this has been a massive leap forward between myself and my husband.
So why does menopause cause mood swings I hear you asking.
Well the menopause is a time when our body is going through some major hormonal changes and upheaval. The hormones that trigger ovulation and menstruation also release a mood-regulating chemical called serotonin. These hormones start to deplete when you approach the menopause (peri-menopause stage) and therefore so does the level of serotonin. In true typical "lets just make things a bit more difficult" fashion our hormone depletion is not a smooth ride but instead a "lets just go hell for leather and surf the unpredictable ocean of life"! So, when your serotonin level is high, your mood soars and you are riding the waves doing your best surfing act. But then it depletes & the wave is starting to lose it's strength and it cannot hold you up on it's highest point much longer and so it crashes, throwing your mood into an all time low.
It does not help that other symptoms of the menopause such as hot flushes, insomnia and brain fog can add to your irritability. Thus making daily life feel almost impossible to deal with at times. One of the biggest things we can do is to remember that this will not last. There is an end. Once post menopausal most symptoms disappear, although I have heard that some women still experience the odd power surge or have sleep problems, but on the whole life starts to return to normal (whatever that might mean to you!)
There are lots of ways we can help to manage our mood swings in menopause. We do not have to let the "wave" take control of our lives. Changes to lifestyle and acceptance of menopause could help you get through this transition on a better level, a less stressed and unhappy level. But it really is down to how we view the menopause and how we want our own journey through that transition to take place. For me just learning about menopause, about other women, talking, reading, getting tips has been a life saver so far. It wasn't easy! It took a lot of crying, and lot of self-care and nurturing and coming to terms with the fact that "I" was not the person I used to be. Knowledge is power and you can embrace the knowledge and gain the power to become someone even stronger, more content and come out feeling victorious on the other side.
If this resonates with you follow me on my Facebook Page @themalvernhealingtree. On the 20th May 2019 I will be launching my Menopause Management Plan. One of the benefits of this will be access to the Hormone Re-Balancing page on my website. This will contain tips and ways to help you manage your own menopause journey.
In the meantime you can book a course of the current menopause reflexology appointments for only £157.50 (block booking of 4 making the fourth appointment half price) to get you kick started.
NB: Just a quick note about conventional medicine. If you feel that your mood swings are severe or an indication of a more serious medical condition such as depression you really must seek advice from your GP. Depression during the menopause must be treated by your GP. They should discuss treatments with you such at anti-depressants to ease any symptoms you may have or they may discuss with you the consideration of taking HRT.
Pauline Wolfe - Currently perimenopausal; passionate; creative; loves to write; sketches for down time; down to earth & likes to write in layman terms! Moved to Malvern 3 years ago from Central South seaside, married 2 years to born & bred local builder. Two grown up children, 3 grandchildren!