Dealing With Mental Illness And Menopause. If you’re approaching the menopause or perimenopause, then you might feel scared about the changes occurring in your body. Brain fog, anxiety, out of the blue mood swings, depression and even panic attacks and palpitations can take you by surprise. Sleep evades some women, almost completely, and can make you feel like you are going insane. One of my patients recently said to me “I feel like 60% of my brain has left me.” Is it any wonder that menopause symptoms so often get misdiagnosed as mental illness?
When Stella told me her story I actually cried for she was not only admitted to a mental hospital during her menopause on 4 occasions, she was detained against her will. She was suffering with extreme anxiety as she had been unable to sleep. ‘’I was very scared by my symptoms. I was completely unable to sleep and eventually became so anxious. The doctors didn’t know what to do with me. I kept saying it was to do with menopause, but no one would listen. Instead, the male doctors insisted I was mentally ill’.
At midlife our nutrient levels are at an all-time low after bearing children, breast-feeding, navigating stressful events in our lives, stints on weight loss diets and generally living life in the fast lane. Add to that falling oestrogen levels, as our ovaries stop producing eggs and close down and it’s not too surprising that women feel past their best. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Seeing the world through dark lenses is pretty normal when you are running on empty. But after a refuel and an effective 5000-mile service I regularly see women bounce back. They go from feeling so withdrawn that life doesn’t seem worth living, to feeling so much better than they can remember is the space of a matter of a few months.
“After changing my diet and lifestyle and taking the supplements Maryon recommended I am sleeping peacefully at night and I no longer experience anxiety or any of the other symptoms that had me labelled ‘mentally ill’. I feel really well now and am able to get on with my career as an Alexander practitioner.
Getting back into shape
During the menopause, having a quality nutrient dense diet and consuming naturally occurring oestrogen plays a vitally important role in keeping us feeling well. It allows our brain chemistry to function normally so that we start seeing the world through rose coloured specs instead of those scary dark views. It also helps us to fool the brain into thinking we have normal circulating oestrogen, easing many common menopause symptoms including panic attacks, palpitations, anxious feelings, moods swings and even depression. Our well-being at the time of the menopause is closely related to us learning to meet the needs of our body. When we learn to do that, instead of experiencing choppy waters as we navigate our menopause, it’s much more likely to be plain sailing.
Use it, or lose it
Treat your brain like a muscle - keep yourself occupied by completing word searches, sudoku games, by knitting patterns or even playing a brain-game on your phone. Take regular physical exercise. Sing and dance to your favourite music and ensure you get time to do some formal relaxation or meditation to keep yourself energised.
Dietary and lifestyle changes are only part of the ways we can help our body back to good health at the time of the menopause. Very often low levels of nutrients, as well as hormones like oestrogen, can’t be replaced with diet alone. I recommend standardised research-based supplements that have been shown to help us overcome symptoms. There are choices to be made, depending on your symptom sets. You will find my chosen supplements in my web shop. If you don’t feel confident about making the choices alone, why not spend an hour with me at one of my virtual menopause classes so that I can give you more insight and advice – it’s my gift to you, click here to sign-up.