Menopause is the natural and unavoidable ending of a woman’s procreative capability. However, it is so much more than that. For many generations it was something that was only spoken about in whispers with very little support or information to describe a whole biological,
psychological and social journey that women go through for an extended number of years with sometimes, no definable beginning or end! Anxiety loves uncertainty so no wonder Menopause Anxiety has been suffered in silence by countless generations.
Indeed, silence has been a notable theme with regards to Menopause, influenced in part by socio-cultural norms. But things have begun to change from biomedical perspective and in response more information is now available and more doctors are specialising in this area and more clinics are opening to support women through the menopause and any related menopause anxiety existing in tandem.
But Menopause is much more than HRT and hormones.
It also begins a profound psychological journey for women and hopefully more therapist will follow where doctors and clinicians are leading. A skilled and understanding Therapist can help menopause anxiety by outlining the framework on which we can plot where we are and what is happening for us, so that we don’t feel like “we are losing our minds” but rather navigating our way through a very complex transition characterised by:
* low mood,
* vivid dreams
* changes in sleep patterns
* mind-body tensions
* feelings of disconnection
* fear of loss
* our mortality
* Conflicted Intergenerational relationships,
* Aging concerns
* Sexual insecurities,
* Fear of Judgement & Ridicule,
* Sense of Value & Self-worth
* Feeling a lack of Control
* Cultural Issues
* and identity issues among others; in a world which sometimes places a high value on youth, beauty, fitness and fertility.
The menopause anxiety that can arise at this time has unique features and may be influenced by our past experience of anxiety and in part to our own mothers’ experience of the process. Many women will be diagnosed with anxiety or depression and will begin treatment without the full picture of how uniquely these may be linked to Menopause.
Many will find the journey and menopause anxiety so challenging that they may step back from their work or career, thus taking away a huge part of their identity and purpose which is essential for our well-being. Many will find that relationships with family have become conflicted as Menopause is unconsidered and indeed many men and partners and children will suffer as a result. Many will also be sandwiched between the competing demands of adolescent children and caring for aging parents as they themselves undergo this transition.
Furthermore, the appearance of menopause anxiety may be the sign that we are indeed issolated in this or struggling internally with the profound inner changes. But with the right support this can be a positive journey as we move towards the emergence of a renewed confidence with acceptance and freedom and reframed sense of ourselves. A skilled therapist can aid this transition, helping us to manage menopause anxiety and understand what comes up for each of us uniquely and to help us find resolution and strength and to reap the benefits and embrace this new and exciting phase of life. How we manage this transition physically, emotionally and socially determines a great deal of how we enjoy the next phase of our lives.
Conclusion: Menopause anxiety is a normal reaction to a complex biological, psychological and social process for women that effects the whole social and family system. The benefits of therapy during this period can lead us to a more comfortable transition where we can understand what is happening and allow women to be more relaxed and proactive in managing the issues as we work towards a renewed sense of ourselves, embracing the freedom and confidence that awaits.
This post is written by our therapist Tara Morrissey, an Integrative Counsellor with years of experience supporting women with Menopause Anxiety but also a wealth of supporting clients with General Anxiety, Social Anxiety, Health Anxiety and Panic Attacks.