Navigating midlife can be quite the rollercoaster, with mood swings, short-term memory lapses, and the occasional struggle to keep our thoughts in line. Now, while many chalk these issues up to the changes of menopause, it's essential to recognise other possible causes. We also need to consider our hormone journey from puberty onwards. Menopause doesn't just happen; it's taken decades for us to get to this point, and there are clues during this time to help us make sense of what’s happening in midlife.
We've danced to the tune of our hormones throughout our reproductive years. Still, during perimenopause, they like to throw in a few surprise notes, which, among other things, can lead to mood swings. On top of that, menopause seems to have impeccable timing. It often waltzes into our lives alongside other midlife stressors – think relationship turbulence, divorce, caring for young and adult children, the complexities of ageing parents, and career crossroads. This cannot be easy, so we must consider the bigger picture. It's important to remember that there's so much more to menopause than hormones.
What would your younger self say if you asked them what they thought of menopause? Grumpy old ladies? Ageing? Overweight? Stressed? It's unlikely to be positive. So, is it any wonder that we worry about menopause and what it might mean?
Alongside the natural hormone changes we experience during menopause, starting HRT can also be an adjustment phase that affects our moods. Rarely is it the magic wand we hoped for, and instead, it can take some time to get your dose just right. This can bring about frustration and feeling like it's puberty all over again!
Midlife can bring changes in self-esteem and body image, making us question our place in the grand scheme of things. This may seem dramatic, but graceful ageing is no small feat, especially in a world that worships youth. So, what can we do about this? A few suggestions: