Hi everyone and happy Sunday
Hope you have had a fantastic week! So, here we are again, I can’t believe how the time flies but it’s the A-Z weekly Menopause blog time and this week we are at R, and the symptom I’m going to highlight is RAGE!!
Many women find that the time of perimenopause brings many complicated emotions as it transitions through to menopause. There can be trepidation around menstrual periods ending, and the new symptoms that arrive, not to mention the physical changes to our body that tells us that we are aging, leaving us bubbling away like a volcano ready to blow!
Jump on to my blog page to read more on how you can start to manage and overcome this unpleasant symptom.
So, not only is your body trying to rebalance physically as the reproductive hormones reduce, but emotionally too and this can bring a whole string of emotional responses and menopausal RAGE is clearly recognised as one of those.
Mood changes can suddenly meet us head on and seem sudden and extreme and often take us by surprise. We can start to feel that situations we used to take in our stride with a calm, even approach, now easily sets us off, and that we can feel easily irritated by the littlest of things. Women often report that their ability to control their mood seems to have completely disappeared and the lack of control can be more alarming than the mood change itself.
So, we know from recent blogs that there is a huge inventory of symptoms of menopause and typically we think of those such as depression, anxiety, panic, and irritability. Mood swings are often used as the catch-all term, along with sadness, tearfulness, and the blues. However, often the emotion that many of the lists leave out are anger and rage and more and more, women are reporting that they experience this intense emotion they describe as rage on a regular basis.
Of course, it is a natural occurrence that we experience feelings of anger from time to time and we all have coping mechanisms for controlling and dealing with anger. However, rage is generally described as excessive anger. You may notice that your patience has significantly decreased, and the most minor things set you off and you go from feeling calm to feeling intense. This flicks you into anger that is difficult to control in just a matter of moments. Sadly, this can leave us feeling a burning resentment, bordering on hostility, toward your partner, children and friends. These episodes of rage can linger on too and we can experience feelings of rage for a week straight, but then be without it for a month before you feel this way again.
So why is this happening?
Well, first off let me start by saying you are not going crazy. This ebb and flow occurs because your oestrogen levels are fluctuating and decreasing over time. Serotonin (our happy hormone) has also decreased, and your oestrogen-serotonin balance is out of whack. Also, progesterone levels fall during perimenopause, with oestrogen becoming the dominant hormone, leading to irritability and depression. It is this imbalance of hormones that can spark spontaneous, difficult to control episodes of rage.
In addition, we may also have some help being nudged towards these feelings due to other menopausal symptoms that are impacting our days. You may not be sleeping well and are fatigued, there may be bothersome hot flushes, which provoke feelings of anxiety and depression for some women. Maybe your sex drive has plummeted, creating tension in your relationship and demands from a partner leaving you feeling unreasonable and insensitive but also irritated by their demands. Of course, we might also have invited a little excess weight to the party and however hard we try it just isn’t shifting and the anxiety of this is ramping up as well.
Add on to all of this that this midpoint in life can often be referred to as the “sandwich generation,” which leaves many women feeling pressured. We can be left feeling tired of the multiple demands placed on you as a partner, mother, caregiver, friend, employee and you feel drained and depleted. The trouble is you’re left struggling with how to change longstanding expectations and how you can shift the burden of Midlife at this time of change.
On the reverse of this you may have kids leaving home, and “empty nest” syndrome sets in. If like me you had been, first and foremost, a mother for almost 30 years and the time comes when the youngest is leaving home, suddenly you start to question your role and purpose in life. This can leave you questioning so many things and lead to feelings of frustration and these factors can create an emotional stew that bubbles over into rage.
So how do we start taking control of these emotions? Rage, unlike anger, can be hard to tame by sheer willpower or attempting to alter your behaviour. First and foremost, it is important to give yourself some space and thinking time to recognize the reasons why you’re feeling this way. Where possible it is beneficial to be open with loved ones and let them know what you’re going through. Begin to have honest conversations about what you need during this life stage to be happy and healthy. In addition, it’s important to start conversations about shifting role expectations, and although this may be challenging the benefits will start to filter through.
As I am sure so many of you are aware our mental health and diet are more closely intertwined than you may think and poor nutrition, sugar, and excessive alcohol consumption can cause not only depression but mood swings too. Rage and alcohol can be quiet the lethal cocktail and can lead us to irrational behaviours that can be harming to us and others.
It can be possible to stabilize our mood with some simple changes. Such as an increased intake of omega-3 fats (found in olive oil, fish, and nuts) as Omega-3s are found to reduce symptoms of menopause. It is reported that decreasing sugar (especially added sugars) and trans fats can also have a major impact on improving our mood. It’s also essential to make sure you’re drinking enough water as dehydration can make you more susceptible to mood swings.
Of course, we also know the benefits of exercise when it comes to improving both physical and psychological states. As little as 30 minutes of moderate exercise can help with mood swings and anxiety. Exercise releases the feel-good hormones known as endorphins and boosts serotonin levels. Carve out a little time each day for a walk, yoga, or more strenuous activity.
We also know that we can work through difficult emotions with an activity that brings us peace and joy, such as painting, gardening, or journaling. These activities are not only great for making us think more consciously initially as we are learning new skills, but they also then allow us to live in the moment and often slip into almost a trance like state, this (like hypnosis) gives us the space to process negative emotions.
Remember, the negative emotions you may be feeling during perimenopause or menopause are not your fault. They are very common, and you will not feel this way forever, however, it can be incredibly difficult to move on and start making the positive changes that will start to take you away from these feelings and emotions. Solution Focused Therapy is a recognised treatment pathway for supporting overpowering emotions such as rage.
The Psychotherapy element of the session allows you to take small, productive steps to recognising and implementing the positive changes needed to move away from the current cycle. Hypnotherapy works through those built-up negative emotions, processing them in a calm and relaxing way to avoid that boiling point of explosion in the form of rage.
Break the cycle, gently transition through the steps to heal and calm with the support in a solution focused way and get back to living your best life. Contact me today for your FREE Initial Consultation and see how we can combat this together.