“Have you had any irrational temper flashes?” Lesley, my Reflexologist asked me two years ago when I mentioned I was thinking of being tested for Menopause.
“No” I smiled, as I lay back in her comfy chair. “I don’t really get angry.” That was 2016. This summer I flew into rage because a friend sent a photograph of me that I didn’t like to another friend. My rage knew knows bounds. A bottomless pit of RED rage. When it subsided (it took 3 days) Lesley’s voice, asking that question, for some reason floated through my mind. Thank God she had asked me. At least once you know what’s going on, you can recognise it, rationalise it, and deal with it.
Anger in Menopause is very common. Oestrogen affects the production of Serotonin, the mood regulator. People always think of Serotonin as being the happy hormone, and it is, but it is also what controls our mood, and as our oestrogen levels fall, so does our ability to control our emotions. And THAT is when we can get a lot angrier, and have unexpected angry outbursts.
You may find that your feelings of rage are touch and go. It may be more prominent for a week or two, then disappear for a month or two. This is because oestrogen levels decline over time. It’s not all overnight in one swoop.
In fact, now that I look back, “Photogate” coincided with a series of mad hot flushes, and that very same weekend I also had a twenty-four-hour burst of depression. So it is now abundantly clear to me (in hindsight), that I had one massive Oestrogen dip, and I got hit on all fronts.
Related: Loss of confidence during menopause made me a different person
Proud of my body
The competitive side of me is strangely pleased with the fact that my Oestrogen decline evenly hit all the key points it was meant to, and hit them within the same timeframe. I’m kind of proud of my body. I almost want to give myself a pat on the back. Although believe me, a weekend of hot flushes, depression and temper flashes all at the same time, was no picnic. It’s only from a newly balanced state that I can regard this with any degree of bemused affection.
And that’s the thing. You DO balance out. You get this swing as the Oestrogen drops, the whole body goes into freefall, everything falls out of place, and then it all settles down again. It’s like an aeroplane suddenly dropping 30,000 feet for no apparent reason, with passengers screaming, food trays flying, bags shooting out of overhead lockers, oxygen masks swinging, stewardesses desperately trying to keep everyone calm, and then the pilot suddenly regains control, reassures you everything is okay, and everyone fixes their hair, adjusts their clothing, and slowly pulls themselves back together.
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The Pilots and the Stewardesses are your nervous system by the way, and that’s why you have to keep it as healthy as you can with lots of water, the right diet, supplements, and possibly HRT. The aeroplane and its engine are your body, and that’s why you need to keep it the best physical shape that you can, so it can weather the storms when they hit.
The final thing to be aware of. And that’s “being aware of”. Chances are you might not be aware your mood has changed. Depression you will immediately feel, and understand, but if you find yourself being really irritated by the way your husband is breathing, or the speed the person in front of you is walking at, or the way everyone is just SO ANNOYING, chances are, there’s been an Oestrogen drop. So be AWARE.
Aeroplanes are on my mind. I’m getting on one this week to go and see Menopause Expert Professor John Studd, in the UK. And next week I will be reporting back. So stay tuned …