The Menopause Diaries: Loss of confidence during menopause made me a different person
Helen Seymour is in Peri-Menopause, or at least she thinks she is. In her new weekly column we follow her on her journey towards the Menopause, learning as she does all about the big M
I want to talk about one of the good things that happen in Menopause. Believe it or not, there are a few. And one of them is really coming into your own strength and power as a woman.
You may already be there. I was there at twenty-six, when I became a Director of my first company. I was definitely there over the next decade as I ran a successful business. And I’m pretty sure I was there when I published my first novel.
And yet two years ago, my confidence slowly began to slip away. To the point that I felt so low in myself, that I actually allowed myself to be bullied by someone. Which of course made me feel even worse.
Related: Six tips for preventing weight gain during the menopause
Loss of confidence in Menopause is a thing. This actually happens. And here’s the science bit. As your oestrogen falls, the adrenal glands, which help control your nervous system, get really wound up. They get very jumpy, and panicky. But because there is no physical fearful event like a car crash, the adrenals go into overdrive, and mind starts to take over. It starts to imagine fearful situations. You start worrying about the day to things you normally cope with, and this over time, leads to loss of confidence. This all happens without you even noticing it. Until you do.
It can start as general unease or fear about work situations, where you suddenly just feel worried or nervous about things you never gave a thought to before. It may be that you are used to being very firm with people, and suddenly, you find you just can’t cope with confrontations. You might find that instead of getting the upper hand, you’re actually having to walk away in tears. It may enter the family dynamic, where you used to be the strong one, but not anymore.
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Body image can also take a hammering. You might lose confidence in how you’re wearing your clothes, your hair, your make-up; your whole self-image can really take a beating.
And bizarrely, driving also takes a hit. Apparently, a lot of women go into a panic about the thought of driving in traffic. Which is a difficult one for anyone with long commutes.
The good news is now that you’re aware of what causes this, you are immediately on the road to fixing it. Here’s what helped me:
- GOOD VIBES ONLY. Ditch anyone who is in anyway negative towards you. Surround yourself with high energy friends who help you see all the good things about yourself.
- Meditation. Get inside yourself. It works. Get into that darkness and find the light. I cannot get enough of Gabrielle Bernstein right now. Listen to her audiobooks on your daily commutes. She will help you find a wealth of inner strength you never knew you had.
- Therapy. Don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help. It’s good to talk. Sometimes, just sitting with the right professional for an hour will help you see that all these small worries are really nothing at all.
I can tell you diet and exercise are key at this time (they are). I can tell you water is incredibly important, because your adrenal glands get very dehydrated and keeping them hydrated will really help, but having gone through it myself, GOOD VIBES, Internal spiritual work, therapy, and self love, a combination of those are in my opinion the best medicine.
From my point of view, the good thing about losing confidence is that when you get it back, you get it back better. I will never allow myself to be treated badly again. I’m much more assertive than I was. Ironically, my loss of confidence has resulted in a new found confidence, one that is deeper and wiser than the confidence I had in my earlier years. Menopause is good. I’m finding good things within it. I’m emerging a stronger, better woman, who I think has more to offer the world.
I’m digging it folks. I am actually starting to dig Menopause.
Related: Self-care is not something that comes naturally at this stage of life