Anxiety & Panic Attacks

Post image for Dear Magnolia…..Nobody Really Understands….What Can I Do?

Today’s “Dear Magnolia” installment is from a reader who posted her question a few weeks ago.  “Angie” has been experiencing the typical perimenopause symptoms, though that in no way diminishes how she is feeling! It is only to say that her symptoms are “normal” even if they are making her feel as if she is going crazy.

As usual, Angie is having difficulties finding a good physician.  Ho Hum.  What else is new? But, her bigger issue is that she feels she doesn’t have anyone to turn to.  I get that too.  It’s very common to feel isolated and misunderstood in perimenopause.  Because, well, you probably are!

Please read on to hear my advice to “Angie” who is looking for emotional support during perimenopause.

Angie

I am so happy to have found your blog. I feel like I am going crazy, but I know I am in perimenopause. I have been on bio-identical hormones for about 3 years.

At the age of 41 I was told I had adrenal fatigue and the hormones of a 60 yr old woman going through menopause. I haven’t felt well the last 3 years, but the hormones took the edge off. (I suspect they were not at quite the right dosage). Fast forward to this November.

I began waking up with night sweats, heart palpitations, extreme anxiety, nausea, low blood sugar, excessive crying. My night waking happened to the point that sometimes I would only get about 40 min of sleep a night. My doctor ordered blood tests, and decided even though my symptoms were the result of hormonal imbalance, I should go off all hormones.

WHAT?!!  This was his advice, even though my progesterone barely registered on the scale.

When I questioned him, he told me I might want to find a different doctor to monitor my hormones. Well, I have found another doctor who seems like he is knowledgeable, but of course it will be weeks before I can get in to see him. In the meantime, I am getting no sleep, feel like a crazy woman, cry constantly, and have crushing fatigue.

This blog has helped to reassure me that this too shall pass. My question is this: I am an introvert married to my best friend. I don’t socialize much, if at all and haven’t ever felt the need. My mom had a full hysterectomy at age 30 so she isn’t much of a support simply because she hasn’t experienced quite the same thing.

What do you recommend for support as my husband simply cannot understand? He tries and is very kind, but he is male. We have 4 teenagers, and I feel overwhelmed, undermotivated, uninterested, etc….

Magnolia

Angie,

Thank you for commenting at my blog.  First, can I tell you that your symptoms, while extremely difficult for you (to say the least), are all very common symptoms of perimenopause.  Even right down to the blood sugar fluctuations.

Perimenopause hormone imbalance knocks our entire body out of kilter, and everything seems to go to hell in a hand basket all at once. This understandably causes stress and can also be very disconcerting.  So, your response to your body going haywire is not unusual, and you’re certainly not over-reacting!

It is true that your hormones are all out of balance.  However, it is not true that going off all hormones is the answer, as you have already concluded for yourself. Though it can be horribly frustrating when your doctor doesn’t seem keen on helping you, at least he gave you a a “medical hall pass” to go and seek the advice of someone who is willing to help you.

Hormone therapy takes time.  You can’t pop a pill and magically fix everything.  I’ve joked over the years that perimenopause is a full body contact sport.  You have to come at it from many different angles. Hormone therapy is a great place to start for many women.

From there you need to change your diet if necessary.  If you’re not already exercising, now is the time to incorporate a regular exercise routine as well.  I would point out, however, that if you are struggling with adrenal fatigue, you should address that issue first.  Exercise will only make you feel worse and more exhausted under those circumstances.

I personally recommend low impact exercise like walking, Yoga and Pilates.  Walking is great because simply getting out in the sunshine and fresh air daily can do wonders for your mood.  It also helps encourage better sleep, shakes off stress, and can help you drop a few extra “meno-pounds” along the way.

ViniyogaIf you are interested in Yoga, I recommend the Viniyoga DVDs.  They are wonderful, easy to use, and address many different issues.

Here is a link for Viniyoga for Anxiety and Depression.  I have this set and it’s excellent!  But, whatever form of exercise that you choose, the key is to stay as consistent as possible.

As far as who you can turn to for support, that can be a tough one.  Especially if your mom doesn’t have much experience she can share with you.  The first thing I would say to you is to be kind to yourself.

I know that sounds all platitude-y, and cliche’ even.  But it’s true.  Begin by giving yourself a lot of grace and forgiveness.  If you’re not beating yourself up for failing to cope as well as you think you should, that’s a great place to start. Guilt doesn’t help either.  So lose it.

One of the reasons I began this blog was to offer women like yourself a place of support, information, and a reassurance that you’re going to be okay.  For me, and for most women I’ve found, just the simple assurance that what you’re experiencing is “normal” as it were, does so much to ease stress.

You’re going to be fine.  You will get through this all of this “crazy” eventually, and you will feel “normal” again. That’s a promise.

youre-going-to-be-okay-holley-gerth

I wouldn’t ask my husband for emotional support other than to make sure he understands that you are not choosing these symptoms.  Furthermore, they also do not represent a lack of strength of character on your part either.  Unfortunately, many men seem to think that all we have to do is get up and put on a happy face and “deal.”  When that is simply not the case.

That your husband is kind and loving is a HUGE positive for you.  I would simply ask him to be aware that what you are going through is beyond your control, but that you are doing everything you can to cope with it and manage the symptoms.

Then, get thee over to The Perimenopause Blog Facebook page where you will find lots of women just like you who can provide emotional support as well!  And let me leave you with one final assurance that you’re going to be fine!  You’re already taking the necessary steps to get this under control.  That is the best, and frankly, all you can do at this point.

And remember……this too shall pass!

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