Published May 2020
Guest blog: Diane Danzebrink, Menopause and Mental Health Awareness Month
Anyone who has experienced pre menstrual syndrome will be well aware of the emotional rollercoaster that fluctuating hormones can cause but many are simply not prepared for the variety and intensity of those symptoms which affect some women particularly during perimenopause which is essentially the time from your first menopause symptom to the point where you have had twelve consecutive months with a period.
Fluctuating hormones and Oestrogen in particular can be responsible for anxiety, panic, feeling tense or nervous, feeling unhappy or depressed, irritability, poor concentration, plummeting self esteem and what some might describe as a loss of joy. The stress of not understanding what is happening can intensify all those feelings and the fear of admitting to any of them can make life feel very lonely indeed.
All too often the mental and emotional symptoms of menopause are incorrectly diagnosed as depression and medicated with anti depressants. Being labelled as depressed when you really don’t feel that you are can be frightening and very isolating, women often tell me how desperate they feel when they know they are not depressed but can’t make their doctor understand.
Emotional health can also be impacted by the physical symptoms of menopause, broken sleep, which is a common complaint, can wreak havoc with our energy and concentration levels and this only adds to the stress. Whilst hot flushes in public can be embarrassing for some it is often the very private vaginal and urinary symptoms that have an impact on mental health and intimate relationships with partners.
My advice is to educate yourself, seek out sources of factual, non biased, evidence based information, suggested links below, which will allow you to make informed choices about how you would like to manage your menopause symptoms and your long term health. Please don’t suffer in silence.
Diane Danzebrink (dianedanzebrink.com) is a therapist and menopause expert; she is the founder of menopausesupport.co.uk and the #MakeMenopauseMatter campaign.