Today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I'm going to be asking, "Is it normal to feel like this in the menopause?".
So, when I'm talking about the question "Is it normal to feel like this?", I'm talking about emotional states. Now, in the past, I've talked about very specific emotional feelings but, what I've learned over the years is that, for a lot of women, there is a combination of emotional symptoms that very often run together. And this can be very, very confusing.
For some women, it's a different feeling every day. You know, they tell me they wake up in the morning wondering who they're going to be. Are they going to be patient and nice? Are they going to be impatient or angry? And this combination of moods coming and going and not knowing when they're going to hit can be very disconcerting. It can be very upsetting, and it can make you feel like you're no longer in control of yourself.
How does menopause affect you emotionally?
So, how does this happen? Why do we get these combinations of moods? Well, obviously the falling hormones will do it. Oestrogen helps us to control our emotions. So, if our oestrogen starts to drop, then our ability to go, "No, I'm not going to get angry" or "I'm going to bide my time. I'm not going to say anything rude today," disappears. Many of us feel very different to the way we behave in public, but the way that we are feeling in any given moment can just pop out before we even realise that we've said something that maybe we shouldn't have done.
We're also getting the physical changes that are going on. So, if you're thinking to yourself, "Oh, I'm getting awfully fat," or, "I just don't like myself," or, "I'm getting wrinkles," we get into that self-critical mode very often that will transfer itself onto how we feel towards other people, too.
So, our anger and irritability can build against ourselves because we're no longer the people we think we are and we just have to let go. Unfortunately, it's usually our nearest and dearest that end up getting that as well.
We've also got lack of sleep. Now, if you're getting flushes and sweats, and you are really, really tired, then the next morning, you're going to be moody. I mean, even if you're not going through the menopause, one poor night of sleep can have a huge effect on our patience and our affability the next day. So, if night, after night, after night you're getting disturbed sleep, that's going to have a really big impact on how you're feeling during the day as well.
Is it normal to feel so irritated during menopause?
So, is it normal to feel irritation? I'm going to go through the more common kinds of feelings that we get. Irritation? Absolutely. And, again, it's to do with the fact that we have less control, we have less patience, so more things are going to irritate us. Things that, maybe years ago, wouldn't have been an issue at all.
And I know, I've even had some women say they're getting to the point where they start to feel road rage when they're in the car, when they're in a traffic jam, which, you know, a little while ago, they would never have considered themselves to react that way in that situation. So, irritation against other people is really common and, again, it does tend to be aimed at our nearest and dearest.
We will find fault with them for the tiniest little thing. And, of course, they have no idea what they've done wrong. And that can very often set up a little bit of an argument in the home-front, too.
Is it normal to feel extra sensitive during menopause?
Can you be extra sensitive? Is it normal to be extra sensitive? Yes. And this is another one where we can feel almost like we're being persecuted because we will take things that other people have said to us in the wrong way.
So, again, there can be a conflict going on within our relationship or even with your work colleagues, because they will say something and you can interpret it completely the wrong way, which can then maybe set up an argument or it can just put that a little bit of a damper on that particular relationship.
Is it normal to feel like you are going crazy during menopause?
Is it normal to feel like you're going crazy? Absolutely. And this is one of the main questions we get. A number of women will say to me, "I think I'm going crazy. What's wrong with me?" But you're not going crazy. It's just the fact that it's really difficult to put up with all the physical symptoms and all the emotional symptoms.
And, if you've no idea what's happening day-to-day, then, you know, it can really put you in quite a strange place.
Is it normal to feel so unmotivated during menopause?
Is it normal to feel unmotivated? Absolutely. You know, fatigue is a huge issue in the menopause, and many women do experience it at some point.
And, if you've had to work all day, if you are already feeling fatigued, where is your motivation to go down the gym, or to go out for a walk, or to socialise? That lack of motivation can affect all different areas of your life -not just the physical ones. It can be a case of that you can't be bothered to do anything with anybody.
Is it normal to feel unloved during menopause?
Is it normal to feel unloved? Yes, again, and this ties up very often with if you're feeling extra sensitive because you will just seem to find that nobody cares about how you're feeling. And, again, the problem here is that, if you yourself don't understand what's going on, and you're getting different moods and you're feeling different emotions, then other people around you are going to find it very difficult.
And, sometimes, they will take a little bit of a step back. But, other times, it's just the fact that you're so extra sensitive that, you know, your partner doesn't bring you a cup of tea after your dinner and, as far as you're concerned, that's the end of the world. Whereas, beforehand, maybe you would have thought, "Oh, they're a little bit busy. I'll just go and make myself a cup of tea".
So, we can interpret things very, very differently when we're in this stage of the menopause.
How to support your emotions during menopause
So, how can you support your emotions?
Get the basics right
It's the basic ones to start off with. Have you got a good diet? Your nutritional needs go sky-high and, if you're not getting enough nourishment, that will have an impact on your emotional self as well as your physical self.
So, if you're getting a lot of these mood changes, just check your diet, make sure you're drinking plenty of water. Dehydration will make you irritable and, you know, that's one of these known facts.
Try a little bit of exercise, getting out into the fresh air. If your motivation for focused exercise is gone, then just keeping yourself active on a daily basis is really important here.
And, remember the rest. Especially if you're not sleeping well, it's important to try and get that 30 minutes of 'me' time on a daily basis, if you can. And that's the one I always say is worth its weight in gold.
Talk about it, don't bottle it up
Talk about these feelings. If you find with your family, your friends, and your work colleagues that your relationships seem to be changing, then try and talk to them about how you're feeling.
You know, we still see the menopause as a sort of stigma, as if it's something we should keep secret. But that causes problems so, if you can talk about how you're feeling, just say to people, "This is not me. This is my hormones talking and, you know, things will get back to normal. But in the meantime, please, can you just help me through this?" And, knowing that someone is going to support you when you're moody, and irritable, and angry, rather than react to you, is going to be of great help on a regular basis.
Look at your magnesium. This is vital. Magnesium is your happy mineral, so it keeps your mood level, and it's going to help with your sleep as well.
Balance your hormones
You can look at our Menopause Support, if it's appropriate. This is known to very gently raise and balance your oestrogen levels, so it can help at a very basic stage with keeping your oestrogen just that little bit more stable, so you're not getting the big dips.
You can look at other herbs. If you find that you're tending to get a low mood, then herbs such as Hypericum can be absolutely lovely. They do take maybe three or four weeks to kick in, and you have to watch that you're not taking any other prescribed medication if you want to take Hypericum.
You can look at our Stress Relief Daytime. This is a licensed remedy that's for daytime minor stress and anxiety. You can also look at the flower essences. I love the flower essences because you can carry them in your handbag. So, if you find that things are getting on top of you, you're getting irritable, you're getting tense, we have Relaxation Essence.
If you find it's more than moodiness, that your mood is going up and down, and round and round, we have the Mood Essence for that particular one. And these are ones that you can use anytime. If you're stuck in a traffic jam and you feel the road rage coming on, you can just put four or five drops of the Relaxation Essence straight onto the tongue and that can help you.
So I hope this has been of benefit. If any of you out there have any other tips for helping with these mood issues during the menopause, then we would love to hear about them.