Debs Connell Psychotherapist & Wellbeing Coach
Are you struggling with ‘hormonal havoc’ and feel you are no longer in control of you? Are you having intrusive or unpredictable thoughts? Maybe you are feeling afraid, anxious or helpless or you just feel unprepared for menopause….I will help you challenge these thoughts so you can start feeling ‘your kind of normal’ again!
My interest in menopause began whilst working with clients who felt desperate, anxious and / or depressed (amongst other things), but had not considered their symptoms may be caused by hormonal changes. Their GP’s had not questioned this and most were prescribed antidepressants, which didn’t appear to be helping. I was shocked to hear of the lack of information or support given to ladies presenting so many symptoms. Some doctors don’t appear to recognise the links with menopause and mental health, thankfully specific training is now being offered to medical personnel.
As symptoms of perimenopause and menopause can include low mood, anxiety, lethargy, loss of confidence & self-esteem, irritability, mood swings and panic attacks, it is understandable that antidepressants are offered if hormonal changes aren’t considered. There is however, no evidence that they actually help psychological symptoms of the menopause. In fact, menopause guidelines state that antidepressants should not be used as first line treatment for the low mood associated with the perimenopause & menopause.
In sessions with the clients noted above, I listened to how they were feeling, how their life was impacted and offered self-care techniques to help reduce their symptoms. They developed coping strategies for when they felt overwhelmed and tools to help their sleep disturbances. The results were so encouraging I felt compelled to learn more about an inevitable change that affects 50% of the population (and of course their partners & family). Inspired further after listening to an interview with Dr Louise Newson (GP and menopause specialist), I enlisted on various specialised courses.
During this training and through my own research, I was saddened to read about / hear the extent to which the menopause had impacted the lives, relationships and / or work of so many ladies. I was shocked by the number who felt they had no choice but to give up their careers due to the physical impact of peri-menopause / menopause. There were stories of ladies who feared they had dementia and others who were experiencing suicidal thoughts and didn’t know where to turn. It can also be a time when past traumatic events or childhood issues resurface and confusion around this ensues.
Menopause is a fact of life, often considered an older lady’s problem when the truth is, symptoms of perimenopause usually start in early 40s but for some ladies it can start in late 30s (or even earlier). Menopause is as unique as we are and symptoms can vary from mild to debilitating.
Hormones play a huge role in how are mind and body works, our fuel for survival. Loss of estrogen, progesterone & testosterone can bring on lots of physical & mental symptoms. You may not have obvious symptoms but have irrational thoughts, psychological issues associated with body image, loss of self-confidence etc. Some lucky ladies will appear to sail through this biological change and appreciate the many positives it can bring, whilst others suffer terribly – don’t let this be you!!
If you are struggling, I can help you learn more about the menopause, show you techniques to ease symptoms and feel calmer using a range of therapeutic approaches.
It may be the case that you would benefit from medical intervention such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to ease symptoms. Unfortunately, there has been so much inaccurate information given on HRT and incomplete research issued to the media causing unnecessary anxiety and fear. Traditionally HRT was very different to the body identical options that are prescribed today. There is a lot more transparent information available on-line thankfully, eventually it will be more readily available.
If you feel you would benefit from additional hormones to replace those you have lost but don’t feel confident approaching your doctor, I can provide you with relevant information. Together we can formulate a plan with all that you need to get the most out of the consultation with your GP.
Don’t suffer in silence, I’m here to help!
Further information on peri-menopause / menopause can be found at newsonhealth.co.uk OR themenopausecharity.org