Today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I answer the question, "Can the menopause make you feel like you're going crazy?"
This is one of the most common questions that I get asked from women going through the menopause. "I feel as if I'm going crazy. Am I'm going crazy?" The answer is no, you're not, and I'm going to explain why.
The problem with menopause is that it can cause havoc with your mind and your emotions, and this can very often make you feel that you have no control over what's going on, either for yourself or the environment that you happen to be in as well.
What can cause you to feel crazy during menopause
So why does this happen? The main cause is falling oestrogen. It affects you physically, emotionally, and it can make you feel as if you're losing yourself.
It can also be a combination of mood swings and low moods. One minute you're up, the next minute, you're down. You can start to feel angry, and you can get to the point where you feel that you literally can't control anything that you're thinking, or feeling, or saying.
It can be due to feelings of anxiety, and panic, and fear, especially at the moment with everything that's going on. We don't know where we are in the world anymore or what the future's going to bring for all of us, and that's scary enough at the best of times.
It can be the fact that you're feeling forgetful, you've got a fuzzy head, you're losing concentration. It can be to do with losing confidence. Added to this is things like hot flushes and night sweats, so you are being bombarded with all these things often at the same time, and you can just feel overwhelmed with it all.
And it can just get to the point where you think, "Oh, I must be going crazy because I can't help how I feel and how I'm seeing things at this particular moment." But honesty, this is okay. This is part and parcel of the menopause and it's a normal phase. And most women will, at some point, feel like this.
It's about recognising it. It's about learning to cope with it, and it's trying to bring back that little bit of control. And when you can do that, very often, you can accept what's going on and you can feel a bit more in control of everything.
What can help?
There are several things you can do to help yourself feel more in control emotionally and physically.
Talk about how you feel
Now, I know this is difficult because many women will tell me, "How can I tell people what I feel when I don't really know what I feel myself?" So sometimes, writing it down can help. You can make a little list or some bullet points about how you feel daily, and then try and go through them with your nearest and dearest.
And then try and explain how you feel with each of these emotional situations when they arise. You can do what's called offloading. To do this just sit down somewhere for 5 or 10 minutes and writing down exactly how you feel. This is for nobody's eyes but your own.
But sometimes, just venting how you feel because sometimes, you don't want to say it verbally or act upon it. But being able to write down exactly how you feel, right from your very heart can sometimes make a huge difference, and that can be really quite liberating.
Join a support group
You can join online support groups. There are lots of them around where you can talk to other women going through the same things. And sometimes, just knowing that there is someone else out there in the world that feels the same as you do can just make a huge amount of difference to your self.
If you are in the UK there is a really good one on Facebook called Menopause Support, Ladies, UK & ROI ONLY.
Remember to eat well
Our bodies are going through all these big changes and your nutritional needs go up, so especially, again, with what's going on today, we tend to reach for comfort foods, and the wrong foods such as high salt, sugary foods, alcohol, and caffeine, and these are not going to help when you feel like this.
So, it's really important to try and focus on eating as well as you can and that will help your body and your emotional self as well.
Remember the water
Keep yourself well-hydrated. Dehydration will impact on your mood, and on your emotions, and also on your physical symptoms, so this is a really important one as usual.
Multi-tasking can confuse us both mentally and physically in the menopause. Our bodies are going through all these changes, and it's having to cope with everything that's going on. And if you're expecting it to do too much, then that's going to have an impact on your physical and your emotional self.
So that 30-minutes "me" time once a day, if you can manage it, is so important for absolutely everything. So take a time out, and sometimes, just being able to sit and read, being able to listen to music, not necessarily doing anything specific, or learn to do some deep breathing exercises can be helpful just to calm everything down.
Get your symptoms under control
If symptoms are overwhelming you, look for remedies and solutions to help get them under control. There are lots of lovely supplements and herbs that you can take to help with symptoms. If you're being overwhelmed with flushes and sweats, then there's sage.
There are lovely calming herbs that you can take just to calm down the anxiety and the fear such as Avena sativa, which you can find in our Avenacalm.
There are lovely flower essences, which work on all the emotional issues that you can think of, and those can be taken as and when you need them.
And remember to get a good night's sleep and, again, this is a difficult one. I know that myself. I've written blogs before on sleep better during menopause, so you can have a look at these for lots of helpful tips.
How to sleep better during menopause
Struggling to get to sleep? Tips & tricks to help
When should you consult your doctor?
The important thing here is that if your emotions, if your fears, if your anxiety, regardless of what it is, if it's getting to the point where you cannot cope with it or it's getting to the point where other people are getting worried about your state of mind or your physical self, then that's the point to seek advice.
And sometimes, it can take something really simple to fix this. So, don't think that you are a failure because you can't cope with this yourself. You would be more of a failure if you ignored how you're feeling and just try to carry on as normal. So, if this is causing problems, please do seek medical advice.
So, I hope you found this one helpful. For all of you out there who've been through this crazy time and you have tips, then please share it with those who are still going through this. We would love to hear what you have to say.
Until next time, take care.