Beloved Friends, I am writing a series of articles on the menopause and my natural journey through it. Previous subjects have included sex, hot flashes, relationships and the life-changing hidden gifts woven into this phase of life. What I would like to share with you today is the regular bouts of anxiety and general low-level nervousness that are now coming into full view. I'm not talking about full-blown panic attacks - but instead a sense of feeling completely unable to be as brave and as independent as I used to be. When I look back to my younger days, I used to travel and work all over the world, often by myself, and always on a whim! Most of my travels contained a sense of adventure and were in most parts, quest-like. Circumstances that required a lot of nerve, a huge leap of faith and bit fat balls!
But those days are over. Now, I get scared walking across a pedestrian bridge that goes over the top of a motorway.
Seriously, I have lost my confidence in travelling alone, going into cities, travelling on the Underground, going into places where there are massive amounts of people, getting too close to power stations and at times, entering supermarkets.
Yes, I have come out of the closet - I often feel anxious. And when I examine - what am I feeling anxious about? It's always the same insight. I am afraid that I won't be able to get home. What strikes at the very centre of all this, is this dreadful fearful feeling that some circumstance will come along that will prevent me from reaching home. Be it some kind of trouble at a border, a transportation crash, a bomb, an accident etc. When I ask - what is home? It's about a feeling of safety, aloneness, contentment and relaxation, the ability to let go, and have no one pulling at me for energy.
Anxiety and general feelings of nervousness are some of the most common symptoms of menopause and yet, can pale into the background when also getting to grips with hot flushes and night sweats. But let me tell you, these phenomena are far from paling into the background. In fact, they are thoroughly coming out front for further examination and embrace. These kinds of thing I am talking about are:
- Mood swings
- Difficulty coping
- Panic attacks
- Sudden unexplained fears or phobias
- Feelings of helplessness
- A lack of confidence
- Feeling invisible
I am told that menopause anxiety is very common and often one of the most difficult symptoms to cope with as sometimes the anxiety suddenly appears for no apparent or justified reason. Sometimes I feel unable to cope with situations that were never a problem before. I can at times feel overwhelmed by the simple aspects of day-to-day living. This can be frightening and often undermines my confidence.
I remember when a guest paid in cash for his stay and I was completely unable to calculate his change. It was such a simple mathematical subtraction, but my brain just couldn't do it - it felt like it was switched off - I have never felt anything like it before, or ever since.
I think things like this need to be talked about as if can often leave us feeling we are the only one. Anxiety is like a build-up of pressure in our minds. It is stating the obvious, but to alleviate this pressure we need to vent the anxiety.
One of the ways that can help us is to speak about this and to make this a conscious and compassionate conversation, and that in itself can be very therapeutic. Other supportive solutions are yoga, meditation, breathing and relaxation techniques, walking in nature, resting more, healthy diet and taking plenty of sleep when you can.
I feel for me, what this is highlighting is the necessity for me to have alone time. I used to think I was 'lucky' if I got some time, alone. Now, it is an essential component, just like breathing, without it, I shall surely die.
I believe utterly that all phenomenon that accompanies menopause is here to deepen our healing. Truly I do. It is being proven to me over and over again. This mystical path leaves no stone unturned, no part of us is abandoned or forgotten. Every piece that was once discarded, ignored or made to feel wrong gets to be retrieved and welcomed home.
So maybe that piece of me that gets anxious that I'll never get home, is, in fact, a fragment of myself from some long, lost forgotten time looking for Mumma.
Since writing this article I have started reading the Medical Medium by Anthony William who states 'Women in the past didn't turn to doctors for help with menopause, because they didn't experience notable physical problems or symptoms with it. It was a normal part of life that didn't require anything beyond acceptance.' When I read this something inside of me shifted. It felt true. So true that I decided to give his 28-day healing cleanse my full commitment along with a supportive Kundalini Yoga practice. Anthony goes on to suggest that it is our modern era and its chock-a-block toxins, vaccinations, medications, processed food and unclean water that is the culprit for the hot flushes, anxiety, joint pain and night sweats. Basically, his theory is that it takes roughly 50 years of being exposed to all this 'stuff' before the disharmony within the body shows itself. However, the good news is that all these symptoms can disappear with a supportive diet that safely removes all this 'modern toxins' and to allocate ourselves with 'rest time to minimise stress in our body. So, beloved readers, stay tuned. In 28-days I'll let you know how I got on.