Crying, fear, and worry during perimenopause and menopause

What's causing these emotions?

Eileen Durward
Ask Eileen

26 February 2024

Emotional control during perimenopause and menopause

Do you find you're crying at the drop of a hat or even over nothing, or that you're starting to get very fearful about things, or are you worrying non-stop about things that you didn't use to do beforehand? This kind of scenario can be very common and also extremely distressing. It can come on really quickly, even without warning, and if you're at work or in front of other people or your family, it can be really embarrassing. It's just one of the really horrible situations that can make you feel totally out of control.

The main reason for this is we know that as oestrogen falls, this can have quite a big impact on your emotional ability to keep things under control. As women, we can be very stoic and we try to put a brave face on things. But when oestrogen falls, sometimes that ability just completely disappears and we have no control over our emotions and how we feel.

Very often, especially in perimenopause and early menopause, when your hormones are still changing, you can get times where your oestrogen can go up and then it can go down and up and down. So, this kind of yo-yo effect can really play havoc with our emotional control. And when oestrogen dips and it can literally do it on the spot, this is when our mood can change without warning and just all of a sudden.


Sometimes with crying, this is quite a big one, and it can come on very suddenly and even for no reason.

A lot of you may find that you can't watch the news anymore because all the things that are happening in the world that are sad, that are very negative, will make you sit and cry. You might find that you're crying now at films that you used to be fine with. You may find that you're crying at nothing. You don't know why you're crying.

For me, I remember once being absolutely fine for one minute, but the next minute, there was this sense of impending doom. I almost felt like the world was going to end in that minute. It was just so awful and heart-rending, and I just cried myself silly. And then suddenly, it just stopped. And then, I was like, "Oh, that was a bit strange." I have no idea why it happened even to this day, but I just felt this sense of utter sadness and loss. It was just absolutely incredible, so I do understand if any of you feel like this particular one. I also had a friend who just stopped watching the news because she literally just couldn't cope with it.

The other thing that can happen is that you can become more sensitive to other people. For example, someone may be jesting with you, and instead of laughing over it, you take it to heart. You think people are maybe making a dig at you, maybe people are criticising you when they're not, but you feel so sensitive. You end up picking up the wrong end of the stick all the time. And I know from those of you who tell me that this can be a big issue in relationships because suddenly, the balance changes and you can't cope with either a partner's behaviour, or even your friends, or even your boss. Sometimes suddenly, you just feel overwhelmed, and really, you just want to go and shut yourself away and have a really good cry.


Again, this is another big one. You can suddenly feel very fearful for your family. All you can think about is doom and gloom and what's going to happen to them. You might find that you're fearful of what's going on in the world. It just seems all terribly negative, and you just can't find any good news. You can't find anything uplifting. It just seems to be this horrible doom and gloom.

One of the common aspects of this is you get the fear first thing in the morning, and that can be accompanied by palpitations and also shallow breathing. This can be really frightening first thing in the morning because you wake up and suddenly, you're in this state of panic and fear.

One of the things that happens, and again, it has to do with the fact that we're less able to control our emotions. We have, I call it the reptilian brain, so it's the very ancient part of our brain and it is associated basically with survival. So, imagine a lizard hiding somewhere in the undergrowth or in a burrow. It's got to be aware of everything all the time because it doesn't know when there's going to be a predator coming along to snatch it up for dinner. So that part of your brain, the minute you wake up before your ‘normal self’ clicks in, this reptilian brain starts looking for danger. It's wide awake. It's there. It's on tenterhooks. Your heart's pumping, the adrenaline's going, and you're just feeling this kind of awful, panicky state. Eventually, normally, that calms down, but you've started the day in a state of panic, and sometimes it can take quite a while before everything calms down. And that sets you up in the wrong way sometimes for the rest of the day.


The other thing that happens a lot is worry. We worry a lot more. We worry about things that beforehand wouldn't have bothered us at all. We start to worry about what other people think of us. Maybe you were really confident beforehand but now you worry about what people are going to think of you, especially at work.

There can also be this ‘what's going to happen’ scenario. There may be an issue coming up, so it goes round and round in your mind. You replay the whole scenario word for word, over and over again, maybe for days at a time. So again, you're in that state of constant worry, maybe a little bit scared about what's going to happen. And then, when this situation occurs, it's completely different from what you'd been worrying about for days at a time.

You can also get into past worries. So, you can start looking back in the past and go, "Oh, I could have handled that differently if I'd said this. Maybe I shouldn't have said that." So again, you're in this constant state of worry about something that you can no longer change.

What can help support your emotional well-being during perimenopause and menopause?

So, what can you do to help yourself in these three situations? Here are a few things I recommend to help.

Support your nervous system: This is very important. If you get your nervous system much more stable and more robust, you're less likely to fall into these types of scenarios. B vitamins are great for this. And for those of you who have been following for a long time, you know how much store I put into magnesium.

We have a couple of products with magnesium in them that can be very, very helpful. We've got our Focus Perimenopause, and with the magnesium, this can help your psychological processes and also support your nervous system. And we also have magnesium in our Menopause Support.

Stay well hydrated: Another really important thing is keeping yourself hydrated because dehydration will have a huge impact on your nervous system. If you're getting this kind of panic and fear first thing in the morning, especially if you've been getting night sweats, a lot of this will be down just due to dehydration. So, this is really, really important. Try taking a magnesium supplement with your evening meal and have a shot glass of warm water just before you go to bed. And for those of you that keep saying, "Why does it have to be warm water?" If you take a glass of cold water at night, it's going to shock your digestive system, and that's going to keep you awake. So, you want to keep things calm before you go to bed.

Talk about it: I get so many of you who are sitting in a state of thinking, "This is all in my head. What's wrong with me? Am I going mad?" You also may have some not-so-helpful friends or family who are just saying to you, "Are you out of your head?" You are not going mad here. You are not going out of your head. This is a real physiological situation due to all the hormonal changes going on, so please take heart from that.

The thing to do in this situation as well is to talk to your friends and family. They’re probably worried sick thinking, "Why is mom, why is my partner, why is my friend crying or being extra emotional all the time?" So, explain to them what's going on and get them on your side, and that can make a huge amount of difference.

Cry it out, don’t suppress it: If you do get the crying episode, if you can, go away and have a real good cry because you then get it out. If you suppress it, it just pops up again. So having a real good cry can be very cathartic just on its own.

When to consult your doctor

For most people, this is a phase. I think my crying phase lasted about six months and then just completely went. But for some of you, you may find that this is becoming all-consuming: the fear, the worry. It gets to the point where you can't cope with it. There can also be fear and paranoia going on. So, if this scenario is getting to the point where you feel it's affecting your daily life, it's affecting your mental health, please get this checked by your doctor. For some women, the hormonal flux is just too great to cope with, and you may need some extra help just to get yourself through this particular phase. So don't suffer with this in silence, please just ask for help.

So, I hope you found this one helpful. Have you experienced any of this? What did you do? What kind of support did you get? Please share your stories. I love reading them, and I'm sure the majority of our followers enjoy them and may get comfort and help from you.

Until next time, take care and have a lovely week.

You may also find these topics helpful:

Emotional Menopause Symptoms: Why they can worsen or come back
3 lesser-known emotional symptoms of menopause

Signs your nervous system is struggling & how to support it better during menopause


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  • P's photo avatar
    P — 11.04.2017 08:50
    66yrs old sleeping one night 6to8hrs next night not getting to till about 5 am .Making me feel depressed.Not able to be active as I would like the next day.Why


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