PERIMENOPAUSE BLOG: WHAT IS THE LINK WITH ANXIETY AND WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?
Updated: May 5
I know a lot about anxiety, I had it in junior school, senior, through my 20s and media career and into my 30s... then it went... then it came back with a bang when I was 44.... yes I know exactly how you feel, how miserable it is, and when you're in the thick of it you don't think there is a way out of it, that this is just your lot in life....
I know this because that's what I used to think too. So why did Anxiety stop in my 30s and then come back with a vengeance with the perimenopause?
WHY DID I GET PERIMENOPAUSAL ANXIETY
I've had life long anxiety on and off I realised. It didn't have a name when I was a kid, it was symptoms. Tummy pain, squirmy sicky feelings, feelings of dread, not wanting to do things, nightmares, jaw problems, ear aches, sore throats, teeth grinding, and all that was by the age of 8. There wasn't this grown up word that I could express, I just had a lot of ailments.
In my late teens it was 'panic attacks', my friends had them so it must be what I was having and that stuck. I put up with it, managed it by managing my environment, who I saw, what I did, and as best I could my work enviroment. Then it all got worse, my dad died when I was 31 and I didn't really know how to cope, so it all just got worse. Then I was really really lucky, I came across Shiatsu when I was looking for something to help me. As I started studying it (as receiving it was amazing!) my anxiety went, I didn't really realise it but it had just faded away. Yes I got nervous at exams and work situations but the every day trepidation of what symptoms would arise had gone; and I hadn't even reaslied it.
So you can imagine how p'd off I was when it came back, EVERY SINGLE DAY, when I was in my 40s! I had left my career in computer software and was embarking on my dream of being a full time therapist. Fate stepped in again when I plucked up the courage to go to a networking event, there was a woman speaking (Lauren Chiren - Women of a certain stage) explaining about menopause in the workplace. I was just 45 and didn't think the talk would be of any interest to me, but I was in the room and had to sit through it... WOW did that talk change my life!
On finding out I was menopausal (still yet to learn the perimenopause word), I thought 'phew I'm not depressed or going bonkers, its a hormonal change, I can do something about this'. At that point my anxiety was 6 out of 7 days a week, it never seemed to happen on a Sunday so from this I knew there was something in my life/routine that created anxiety and that could also be tapped into to stop it from happening; this was the seedling of my research and testing into how menopausal anxiety can be stopped in its tracks.
I wasn't a supplement taker at all, I was lousy at remembering to take anything, probably because I didn't believe they would really work. As I progressed with helping women alleviate their symptoms with my shiatsu the more I thought about it the more I thought 'we're deficient (in chinese medicine terms) so this means that things are missing; so we need to put 'something' back in'.
I started researching supplements as I put together the patterns of symptoms and how they linked to excess and deficiency in the body (still the Chinese Medicine part). Magnesium was my first step into adding nutrients into my body, and it worked a treat, sleep came back after months of lying awake being anxious and negative about everything and worrying about what might be.
The thing is, I'd done all of the mindset work in my 30s, it was why I'd overcome anxiety in the first place, or so I thought. However I couldn't combat the anxiety this time with the way I was thinking, it was like I'd totally regressed at times to my pre-shiatsu self, and I really didn't like it or want to continue this way.
I don't remember the day I happened on Ashwaganda but I'm so glad I did, within 2 weeks I realised the anxiety was reduced to about 1 in 14; this was amazing, could a herb really do this?
My thoughts about herbs and supplements changed, I really delved into what was going on and what supplements could resolve what, with my aim to have a resolution for every single menopause symptom. And it led me to this question:
ANXIETY - A PHYSICAL ISSUE OR AN EMOTIONAL ONE?
Ashwaganda was really working for me, and then my clients so a physical intervention was working; but it didn't work for everyone. Again I hit a point where I had to do more research; why didn't Ashwaganda just work for everyone, including my friend Emma? Why was she different?
Shiatsu and Chinese Medicine is holistic, we take the whole body mind as one and we never separate this in our practise. I'd swung from thinking anxiety was all in the mind to it being totally in the body, but the answer lies in it being both, and to resolve it you need to understand and intervene on both levels.
When I tried this new theory, my resolution to anxiety became so much more powerful, and Emma made massive changes.
Trying to tackle anxiety from only your headspace is impossible once you hit the perimenopause. Why? It's due to the hormonal stress you've going through and the physical affects that this has on your physiology.
Trying to tackle anxiety with just physical intervention works for some women, but not all. Your mind/body are in a catch 22 situation, and this is why the resolution has to be on both levels.
HOW LONG DOES ANXIETY LAST IN THE MENOPAUSE?
Too long in my opinion not to do anything about it. There are anecdotes of women on the other side saying it'll pass, and I've heard that once your body 'recalibrates' you'll find it easier, but that is all too vague for me. If you're reading this and wondering when it's going to end then my advice is to do something about it as not only is it not anytime soon, things could get worse. As anxiety is linked to a group of symptoms based on fatigue, then insomnia, dizziness, vertigo and tinnitus could all be exacerbated and that means life literally becomes impossible to live and women have taken to their beds with a long term chronic fatigue and this is a long road back, so let's not go there. Let's understand what it is and then start making the physical changes required to resolve it.
ANXIETY - TREAT YOURSELF HOLISTICALLY TO RESOLVE IT
An holistic approach doesn't mean anything more than applying techniques to the physical and the emotional, giving your mind and your body some TLC and relief at the same time.
Do I still get anxiety? Yes I have the odd twinge (that's explained in my masterclass), but I know what causes it, I know exactly what's going on, I'm menopausal, I may have eaten too much choccy yesterday, it doesn't matter I thoroughly enjoyed it! Move over anxiety, you don't bother me one jot any more. I can now get on and do what I want to do, I don't worry about what others in my field think, I feel braver, I feel calmer, I feel in control, I'm just about to turn 50 and have no symptoms when 5 years ago I was on my knees and not knowing what it was.
I'm sure you've hit that same wall: the one where you're 'am I/ aren't I, and if so, what do I do about it, where do I start?'. If you're in your 40s - you are! (and don't let your GP tell you otherwise). However for most, the label of peri or menopause may not find a relief for you because it's only a label, it's not a solution. Very few women can take that label and run with it to find the exact solutions; hey it took me a couple of years and I'm a therapist and researcher!
When you're anxious this is especially difficult, and when you think your problems are in your head and therefore must be self created then that's a dark pit to dig yourself out of. Luckily you don't have to, you have me, I've been there, done it, tested it and now recorded the masterclass.
LIVE LIFE ANXIETY FREE- NATURAL REMEDIES GUIDE
I've spent thes last 4 years researching, testing and developing this masterclass, AND simplyfying it to something you can start right now and follow easily. You will learn that anxiety is a physical process in your body and that you can divorce your emotions from it to feel calmer, more confident and empowered to make real changes in your life. You will master your anxiety naturally, and it only takes one hour to learn how to and then you can put into practise straight away.
Sam was incredibly anxious, life circumstance had kept her in this mode for over 10 years, and now with the perimenopause it was getting worse. She was sceptical after watching the videos, she hoped it would work but she didn't know if it would, until anxiety struck one day soon afterwards:
"I just wanted to give you some feedback, last Saturday I had my first ‘Real’ event since Lockdown! I started getting ready, I could feel the bubbling of anxiety and I started to feel my thoughts running away from me. I took a few deep breaths and remembered your videos - I was able to completely calm myself and stop the anxiety from going any further. By the time I got to my event I felt happy and confident!"
How you view anxiety, along with practical solutions to resolve the physical underlying cause so that it lessens gives you a powerful combination to combat something that has been an utter misery. Don't put up with anxiety for another day, get the video instantly on purchase and see how powerful a mindset shift you can have in just one hour.
Read more on 'Live Life Anxiety- free' and purchase at an incredibly low price.... one hour to see your anxiety in a totally different light and to combat it once and for all!
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
Andrea Marsh is a Shiatsu and Chinese medicine practitioner of over 15 years. After nearly 5 years of researching and testing natural , practical menopause solutions she offers online consultations, has a growing community on facebook (join here) and has published a book on Amazon 'Understanding Your Menopause' read more here.