Well, when you look back, the signs were there from way before you first twigged and gave them a name.
For me, the first change of menopause was the muscles in my jaw seizing up. I’d rub and rub that muscly ball on the bottom of my cheek and wonder if I’d been grinding my teeth.
Then I started worrying about being late for things… I’d turn up ridiculously early… often when it didn’t really matter at all.
Menopause Symptoms For Me
Hmmm… the hot flushes were not terrible, more warm flushes really…weepy eyes, stiff knees…. no periods (hooray!)… Menopause seemed not too bad and think of the money saved on sanitary paraphanalia.
No vaginal dryness, you’ll be relieved to hear.
Ahem… I started taking some HRT. I read ‘You’re Still Hot To Me,’ by Jean Kittson and fell about laughing. I related SO much to what she wrote and how she wrote it.
Then… A Few Environmental Issues…
Then this year life, started getting quite stressful… in fact, very stressful indeed. I blame the Islamic state and hormones, my Teen15’s hormones more than mine.
Paul works in Kurdistan and used to fly in and out of its capital Erbil. He is based in another city and flies in and out of there now. His company has put in many extra security measures… but still… too close to too many hot spots for comfort.
But it was more the teenage traumas... and lack of an alpha male to help… see Why This FIFO Lifestyle Can Just F… Off…
Teenagers need to rebel, I get that, but Teen15 got in too deep. For a period, there was worrying, potentially dangerous behaviour; teenagers think they are 100% bulletproof, if only.
More and more trouble in the Middle East, beheadings, more horror.
And Then … Kapow
Anyway… I had my first dose of really, really bad anxiety… a real proper blast of it:
- Didn’t sleep past 3am for three weeks
- Constantly thumping, thundering heart
- My hands shook all the time
- Felt as if my head would explode
- Overreacted to many, many things, couldn’t stop myself
- and… couldn’t eat!
Now, in the past I’ve been depressed, hysterical, overwhelmed, crushed…. but I’ve always been 100% able to comfort eat.
For the first time I couldn’t eat properly… lost weight.
Anyway, I’m not daft and I know how and when to ask for help (cos in the past I did leave it to late once and won’t make that mistake again.)
I RUSHED to my doctor, got a script for Cipramil which had worked well last time I was overwhelmed by IT ALL, it’s good for anxiety as well as depression.
A week later I got a mental health care plan and made appointments to see my friendly, local psych – she knows me well.
I also put other stuff into place:
- Lots of fish oil, bit of extra zinc
- Fresh veggie and fruit juices, and a handful of walnuts, most days anyway- seriously feel better for these foods
- Long acting melatonin helped a bit to get me to sleep again, it took a while but is OK now
- More exercise
- Went on holiday
And the good news is… I’m comfort eating again… progress!
I know I’m lucky to have had just that one brush with serious anxiety…. it was horrific… I thought I’d have a heart attack many times… painful to know that you’re overreacting but not to be able to stop yourself.
Bloody awful physical sensations.
So may the force be with all of you who are regulars sufferers. I hope you’ve found a combination of therapies that works for you.
If it happens to you suddenly and as a new thing – GET HELP FAST!! Start with the doctor and take it from there… anxiety and depression are treatable… the life circumsances that bring them on are harder to treat but little by little, we can try to change those too…
I Just Can’t Lose The Plot Entirely
My four kids only have one parent in the southern hemisphere, only one family member in fact, more than 50% of the time. They need me as sane, kind, calm, loving as is humanely possible.
Teenagers and other explosive children need a cool, calm parent to guide them. You need to remain as dispassionate as possible, to model managing emotions.
This is bloody hard!
We owe it to the kids and to ourselves to take action quickly when our mental health collapses. None of us are alone… and asking for help gets easier each time we do it.
Thanks and huge hugs to my pals who talked me through this and who love and support me whether chirpy or cheerless.
So that’s my story. My jaw muscles still ache, I still take that as a warning sign. I’ve got a new understanding of other people, of how physical the symptoms of anxiety are.
And thanks menopause… you’re a doll.
Have you experienced anxiety too? What helps for you?
Here’s to a calm day for us all,