Is menopause turning you into a hermit?

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Menopause Advisor
Ask Eileen

26 November 2017

Read the full video transcript below

Today's topic

Hello, and welcome to my weekly video blog. And today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I'm going to be discussing another emotional aspect of the menopause.

Does this sound like you?

Now, at any time, have you felt just totally fed up? Have you felt that your get-up-and-go has gone, or maybe you don't want to socialise, you just don't want to go out? And people invite you out for coffee, or for an evening meal, or to go to the pictures, and you just think, "I don't want to do anything."

Do you feel, sometimes, you don't even want to talk to anybody? Do you find, sometimes, that your nearest and dearest absolutely irritate you to bits? Do you just think, "I've had enough. I'm so fed up." Have you even felt that you've wanted to stop friendships, that you just don't really want to see those people in your life anymore? And do you find that life, in general, just is so annoying, you just want to get out of it?

I know, for me at one point, I just wanted to fly away into the distance, never ever to be seen again.

How long will symptoms last?

It does pass, but this is a really common aspect of the menopause, and most women, at some point, will experience these or a combination of them. For some women, it might just be a few months of irritation from their nearest and dearest. For other people, this can last quite a long time, and it can get a little bit distressing if it goes on. And, of course, our nearest and dearest will often worry about us if we have just decided to shut ourselves away and not talk to anybody for a little while.

Why can menopause make us less sociable?

So why on earth does this happen? Well, this is a multilayered one. On one sort of situation, it is really just to do with your oestrogen falling. If your oestrogen falls enough, then you can get fatigue, you can get the irritability, you can get the mood swings.

So this whole kind of low oestrogen package is one of the things that can make us feel this way, but there's another, maybe, more subtle aspect to this, and I thought I would just go into it today since it's quite an interesting one, and it's also a little bit thought-provoking, as well.

Nature's point of view

When we have a monthly cycle... Now, if we look at, as women, if you like, from nature's point of view, not from our society's point of view in the 21st century, nature has to provide a safe way to keep the continuation of the species, and one of the ways it does with human beings is for women to be nurturing, caring. We're bound to our children, we're bound to our family in order to help them to grow up and then become human beings, and then to continue the species when they have their own children. And this happens because of our monthly cycle. Oestrogen almost chains us into being women and to feel in this particular way.
However, once our oestrogen starts to fall as we go towards the menopause, that hold on our caring nature, if you like, can sometimes be loosened a bit. And what we can find is, we are then less happy to go and do things for other people. We suddenly start to look at things slightly differently, and we also start to question things.

We question our friendships. We question the aspect, "Do I really have to do this? Why am I always trying to keep people happy? I'm going out to this meal, and I hate those people, and I have to do this, and I really don't want to. All I want is some time to myself." So, very often, this is the aspect that comes to the fore when our oestrogen starts to fall.

It's not all in your head

Now, one thing I need to say here, this is real. This sort of idea, this feeling of wanting to shut yourself away, it's not all in your head. This is a real physical change due to the way our oestrogen is falling, and it's actually liberating us, in a way, to find out who we are. It can be quite frightening because, here you are, all of a sudden you just think, "Why am I here? What am I doing? Who am I?" And that can really lead to a lot of thought. It can lead to anxiety, as well.

Take time for yourself

Now, the one thing to remember here is, there's no right or wrong about this. So if you're feeling this way, don't feel guilty about it. It is really happening, and all you can do, in a way, is just to go with the flow. If you need time for yourself, then take it, you know, this whole thing, you are worth it. You need the time. And the menopause, very often, it's very much a physical situation. It's very often an emotional situation, but it's also a spiritual situation, as well. And some people do feel the need to question everything that's going on in their lives.
So if you've got to that point, then do it. Try and take the time out for yourself so that you can explore who you are. And it can be quite exciting, because I've heard from a lot of women, and they've practically reinvented themselves. You can look at your life, what you're doing. Do you want to change careers? Is there something you've really wanted to do, but you've put it into the background because you've been caring and loving everybody else in your life?
So it can be a little bit of a point of freedom, as well, but as I say, take your time with it, and if you need the space, take it because it will make you feel better at the end of the day. And if you can think about these questions and find an answer, then you're going to be better prepared at stepping back outside again when this starts to ease off.
So I hope this has been a little bit thought-provoking. And if any of you have been in this situation and you've really radically changed your life, we would love to hear about it.

So, until then, I'll see you next week for another edition of A.Vogel Talks Menopause.

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Did you know?

You won’t get the menopause the minute you turn 50! The average starting age is actually between 45 and 55 and it can often depend on a number of factors including hereditary, weight and health, however every single woman will have an individual menopause.

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