psychological health and menopause

hunter_txDecember 10, 2007

I've been pondering this since my late 30's when I first started having perimenopause symptoms that were emotional in nature. I've read many medical journal articles regarding mental and emotional changes with menopause, and a majority of them tend to ignore that menopause causes mental changes, but experience tells me otherwise. Some of the experts maintain that good mental health prior to menopause tends to remain steady throughout menopause, and I have seen plenty of women in whom that seems to be the case. So... I've had to wonder if all those years that I thought I was mentally healthy I was deluding myself. I may never know the answer to that question, but it has spurred a deep interest in the human psyche, the human condition, the role that growing up, spiritual beliefs, and general life experiences have our state of mental well-being. I will most likely never seek professional services in the way of therapy because I think I would have great difficulty finding someone whom I think is really good, and that I could afford. It's a really expensive endeavor, and takes sometimes many years to really help.

Anyway, is anyone here really interested in this whys and wherefores of all this, and making concerted efforts to understand and make sense of it, or am I just eccentric and odd? Do any of you like to read books in the self-help, psychology, religion/spirituality areas? Have you gained any insights that you think really helped you? Do you, otoh, just hope that you get back to "normal" one of these days, and just try to bear it? I'm really interested in what you have to say. It's a fascinating arena of ideas to me. Please jump in if you are so inclined.

Mrs H

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Boundaries, when to say yes: when to say no. By Henry CLoud and John Townsend, Most of my problems in my life were caused by not saying no! I have read several posts and wondered "why did they let that person do or say that! " Of course I was there myself not to very long ago. Yes, I understand that we choose our battles as we age, so that we dont spend our life in turmoil all the time. I am in therapy and while he is a good therapist, unless I practice what I have learned then it does absolutely nothing for my life. People dont change much. I have decided that NORMAL is a relative term. At 53 I have realized I dont get to go back to "Start"", so I might as well grab all the joy I can get. Not only has that attitude helped me, but my grown children are watching and not waiting until they are my age to figure it all out. I am working on the spiritual side as well. I do feel we have to believe in something bigger than us, I have chosen Jesus, but I am not so far gone to think that is the ONLY way, Wow it is 5:30 in the am, I am rambling and got to get ready for work. Thanks for opening this thread Mrs. H. I look forward to all your post. Lets hear from you SISTERS!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 6:30AM
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In the past 3-4 years, my sister and I have experienced the passing of our brother, mother and father. (I am 49 and she is 52). This was a horribly tumultuous and painful time - care-giving issues prior to my parents' passing were extremely difficult and I personally feel a lot of guilt for not having been there as much as I should have. But my sister didn't make it easy, and even now, our relationship is strained, though I do see a light somewhere out there. Only now, as I have been officially declared in menopause this month (or am I now post-menopausal?), do I realize that both my sister and I were probably going through perimenopause and all its various symptoms, and because of that, we were both going through changes of our own, while at the same time attempting to deal with the premature and tragic death of my brother and the slow, degenerative (both mind and body) aging of our parents. Sadly, my sister still does not wish to speak of such matters, and I am happy to have a best friend to whom I can talk about most any subject. This forum helps immensely as well.

Alternating feelings of intense dread, anxiety, rage and sadness were all a part of me during those years, and even until recently. But I have a vague feeling I am becoming more at peace (or is that just wishful thinking?) DH once told me, I cannot feel guilty for something that was the way it was. I meant no intentional harm or ill-will to anyone - quite the contrary - I cared so much, that's why it hurt so much.

My sister and I have both made it through (at least I am guessing she has - she doesn't talk about "the change" etc). There are wounds still fresh, and some very old scars - and I pray that one day we can talk openly about all that has happened. If not, so be it - maybe that's the way it is meant to be, but in the meantime - the heart must be open. And finally, after all those times I was so depressed and sad, that I thought I was mad and I felt I wanted to leave this earthly place, I now know for certain that I want to live - fully, and as best as I can - for as long as I can, with those that I love around me.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 2:18PM
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Thank you both so much for responding.
Shotzy, that book sounds like something to add to my reading list. That list keeps getting longer, btw. What therapy method does your therapist use? After years of reading various topics that range from positive thinking to spirituality, to psychology etc, I've come to be interested in Jungian psychology and dealing with subconscious issues. That seems to ring the most true with the issues I have had and continue to deal with. My unstable periods tend to be heavily guilt and anxiety ridden, usually over completely insignificant stuff.

Anna, so sorry to hear of all the tumult you have been through. Your DH sounds like mine. Sensible and well-centered. I don't know what I would have done without mine to be a rock for me when I was about to tumble. As frustrating as it may be to feel like men just don't get it, it's also wonderful that they generally tend to be more even-natured, imo. I'm glad to hear you are doing better with it all.
Mrs H

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 10:03PM
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I dont really know what method my therapists uses. He is pretty direct and keeps asking me about how "that makes me feel" I guess other than anger (that I rarely show) I have been using body language to communicated how I feel. Not effective. .. I started seeing him last dec. when I had so many physical symptoms that even the drs. were scratching there heads. Most of it was anxiety that I had let get so out of control that it was affecting my body! I do know that I say no more often and am more clear about what I want. It is funny how we get what we want, by actually asking! What a concept! Children do it all the time. BUt I guess we start feeling we dont deserve so we stop asking. I am rambling again, I do believe that the Jungian method is good, however at 53 I have danced around issues so long, that it is hard to get to the subconscious things. I am still trying to decided whether I am GLAD, SAD, MAD, OR HAPPY. Oh yeah, I realize their are many emotions in between. But hell if I know what they are. LOL

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 7:41AM
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"I am still trying to decided whether I am GLAD, SAD, MAD, OR HAPPY. Oh yeah, I realize their are many emotions in between. But hell if I know what they are. LOL"

And one of the problems I see is that they occur simultaneously, and it's confusing to someone like me who tends to be a black and white person. I'm getting to the point where I can see much more gray these days, but my brain wants to simplify things into linear directions. I don't do too well with circles, lol.
I'm reading a couple of different books right now (I often have two or three books going at one time, because I like to multi-task). One of them is titled "Meeting the Shadow". The other is "Addiction to Perfection". "Meeting the Shadow" has helped bring several things to light for me. It's about mid-life crises, some of the casal factors, and gives a rational (to me) explanation of what is happening on a psychological basis. "Addiction to Perfection", and I'm still fairly in the beginning of the book, is about how our societ

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 12:25PM
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i've always been crazy;i've always marched to a different drummer;and i've always known it.i'm proud of it.i have learned so much since all this hormone imbalance came along.hubby had totally disabling stroke june 06.he has lost use of his right arm and hand[he is right handed];has limited use of right leg[can walk short distance with afo and a cane.]he'll never build motorcycles again.he'll never work again.i had to quit work to care for him.i started going thru menopause a couple months prior to his stroke.i really only stopped and realized how long i've been "non-period" about 3 mos. ago.i guess i haven't had time to dwell on it.don't get the fiddle;everone just needs to count their blessings;CHERISH DEARLY THE LIVES YOU LOVE;and try not to dwell on your own hormonal crazies.and oh yeah,most important,keep a great sense of humor.hope i didn't get too far off-topic.happy-happy,joy-joy!!!happy holidays!!LOL

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 5:50PM
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Wow, I just noticed that my last post didn't "take" in its entirity. Anyway, "Addiction to Perfection" is about how western society tends to value the part of us that strives for perfection and productivity, but tends to ignore the feminine side of our nature which needs some imperfection and creativity in order to thrive. Both good reads, imo.
Mrs H

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 4:13PM
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Mrs. H, sounds like something I need to read Thanks, Shotzy

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 9:33PM
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