Hamster on Wheel

Menopause Anxiety SOS

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It’s those pesky four years… the last two in peri-menopause and two after menopause that DRIVE YOU OVER THE EDGE. Those years make you want to scream and cry, and beg for your mommy. If the mood changing and ‘summer heat’ don’t kill you, the anxiety will.

What is anxiety? The American Psychological Association defines it as: “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure. People with anxiety disorders usually have recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns. They may avoid certain situations out of worry. They may also have physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, dizziness or a rapid heartbeat.”

My 2 Cents

Anxiety becomes your friend, for some of us – for the very first time in our lives.

I had never met anxiety before those four years. I knew anxiety existed; some of my children are on a first name basis with anxiety, but I was lucky enough to have evaded her.

Generally, it starts with just a thought, or a photo, or a memory, or someone says something that reminds you of something…. And that’s all it takes. I especially like it when you wake up in a hot sweat, and that teeny tiny thought pokes its way out of your subconscious and into your consciousness… and suddenly your night j u s t  b e c a m e  w o r s e.

“Let the hamster race begin!” That’s anxiety to me.  I envision a tiny hamster in my brain slowly waking up to begin walking on the wheel. No lie… I see it. One tiny fuzzy foot in front of the other. One thought leads to the next thought – you can dissect it here for a bit – letting the hamster sit still for a moment – but then you move on to the next thought. And around and around the hamster goes.

Some days it runs around the wheel for HOURS.

Bright Ideas

Oh sure, you know you need to distract yourself – and you are able to do it, mildly. What do I do? Several things. Maybe you do the same, or maybe you don’t. Hopefully, some of my suggestions will help. Or better yet, if you have other ideas, PLEASE, drop me a line.

I either get on the treadmill or the elliptical. Sometimes all I need is 5 minutes. You can binge watch your favorite TV show or watch a movie. If you can believe it, I write out bills. Call your spouse, your friend, your sister, your mother, your daughter…. Getting rid of the dialogue in your head is necessary in order to stop the hamster. Anything that is a distraction.

I’ve been to a hypnotist. What she taught me I use in addition to the above ideas. As you know, when you have a lot of anxiety your heart begins to beat rapidly. She said to hold my breath for as long as I could, and when I was ready to exhale, repeat the phrase, “I control me,” as many times as I could until I was finished exhaling. It immediately slows down your heart rate, and it gives your mind something to think about. I CONTROL ME.

So what is at the core of anxiety? It has to be the lack of control in your own life, right?

If you liked this little article, I would be grateful if you shared it with your friends.

 

 

 

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