Worry. Fretting. Nervousness. I rarely suffered from these conditions prior to beginning my menopausal journey. I remember thinking, "I don’t worry. This is just not me." Alas, it is me. And you. Now.
Heck, everyone’s been anxious off and on through their life prior to now. And as time has progressed, we’ve garnered enough lived experience to know that most things work themselves out, with or without our intervention. But our worrywart mechanism can significantly spike during menopause’s hormonal vortexes and we find ourselves just generally fretting. We used to worry about our kids’ safety and well being, whether the old car would make it another year, or whether we’d make the deadline at work. Now we add to normal worrying, a sort of jitteriness about nearly everything. Or nothing. Phantom what-if shadows seem to stalk us and we may experience an non-specific sense of doom.
The Venuses don’t really know of any specific remedies that decrease the anxiety of menopause per se. Sure there are some herbal anti-anxiety supplements but we felt we just didn’t know enough about them. Our fretting was never overwhelming, but it was annoying. If it had been worse, we likely would have seen a therapist.
We did practice giving ourselves little "reality checks" when our worrying was excessively annoying. We would ask ourselves, "What is happening right now, this moment?" (Usually the answer was "Nothing.") "Am I safe, alive, comfortable, etc?" Then we took deep breaths and decided not to panic until we had something to actually panic about, rather than a mental litany of "what ifs". This actually helped ease our jitters quite a bit, although some days our practice worked better than others.
What helped most is knowing that anxiety during menopause is NORMAL! And sharing it with our girlfriends, rather than worrying that we are worrying, alleviated our stress a great deal. Just another of the merry surprises of the menopausal journey.
The best news is this: THIS TOO SHALL PASS. It gets better with time. I’m actually back to my previous non-worry state, and so are many of my girlfriends. Hang in there, eat chocolate, and have a glass of wine now and again.