Menopause And Anxiety: The Night Terrors Pt. I

There is always the Garden – © wcjacobson

I’ve received a great many letters from readers confirming that the least talked about symptoms of menopause were afflicting them. Like many of us, they were just happy to  know that they were not going crazy.

We Venuses may not all have suffered daytime panic, but each of us had nocturnal visits from a variety of rest-sucking fears we called the night terrors. Thankfully, these were temporary, but while this symptom was with us, it seemed ovewhelming.

Our specters included anxiety and worry, instant replays, and the list of undones. Some of us got all three of these lovelies, occasionally all in the same night. Along with insomnia, these visitations disrupted our sleep profoundly, leaving us more vulnerable to all the other emotional and physical changes that afflict us during the daylight hours.

Initially, I was feeling rather smug during the onset of menopause because I did not find myself bursting into tears or excessively cranky like some of my menopause goddess sisters. However, I made up for this initial blessing in spades during the night time.

In the wee hours of each morning, I would wake to find myself aboard the Fretliner Express, my own personal bullet train to anxiety and worry. While I would have no memory of embarking or even purchasing a ticket, I’d suddenly be speeding straight on to worst-case scenario with no stops at logic, rationality, or probability statistics.

“But this is not me!” I’d cry out silently. “I just don’t worry.” I think I’ve mentioned before that this phrase could be the mantra of mid-life women “This is not me.” Alas, it is you. And me. Now.

Back to the Fretliner – as always, I would be alone and the train would be whizzing past stops so fast I couldn’t tell where we were. Of course it is an underground train – eerie and dark and forbidding. My heart raced, and I worried. About everything, it would seem. My kids – where are they right now? Either sound asleep, like I ought to be or partying the night away with their friends or mates. In any case, they were thousands of miles away, living their own lives. But I worried about unseen, amorphous dangers they might encounter.

I worryied about my health, my husband’s health, the health of my island or the planet. I fretted about global warming and whether Friendly Market sould have mahi-mahi for the following night’s dinner. I worried about aging in general. I worried that Island Air might be late on a trip to Maui, though we had no particular schedule that would be affected if it were late.

All these worries seemed equal somehow. Equal as in HUGE. So I would lay awake – worrying and fretting and desperate to get back to sleep. The worst part was that all this worry was aging me further! As much as I lost my train of thought those early days, I couldn’t seem to lose my nocturnal journeys on the Fretliner Express train. For many months.

Take heart, dear ones. It doesn’t last forever. It actually becomes laughable. I swear it.

Stay tuned for variations on the night terrors in the next blog entry.

(material partially adapted from Lynette’s ebook Becoming A Menopause Goddess, available also in softcover as The Big M)

14 Responses to Menopause And Anxiety: The Night Terrors Pt. I

  1. T November 17, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

    I think this is the place that’s going to help me get to the last fucking period…I started this hell @ 39 and I’m now 47, it has been absolute, earth shattering. life altering fucking hell… and as I’ve read and heard in many blogs, many books, many doctors , many, many of everything, it caught me completely unaware and un-educated…whomever said “ignorance is bliss” should be shot! As you can tell by my post I feel a wee bit IRRITABLE today! I can’t believe in 8 years of search and research this is the first time I found you and I am going to need all the help I can on the last leg of this “THING” that feels is after me to KILL ME! anyhow, if your blog does not allow cursing, I apologize and if it does allow it, how in the HELL is anyone expected to make it through this bullshit alive and sane? well, bye for now and it gives me hope to know that I am not the only one going through this horseshit and that some of you are even thriving on the other side of this THING?
    BUT WHAT THE FUCK!? really?

    Thank you
    T.

  2. LynetteSh November 18, 2013 at 6:05 pm #

    Hey T,
    So glad you found us, too! And really, we all understand the WTF shock of the Pause. (You might want to check out our book,chronicles all we shared and learned for the first 4 years of Menopause. At least a third of it is on the blog, but there is so much more. Hang in there, it does get better eventually. Maybe it really is true – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Stay cool! Hugs, Lynette

  3. T November 18, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

    you rock for being so busy and acknowledging my post so fast. Is there anywhere Lynettesh where you guys talk about hormonal rage, cause I tell you (and may God forgive me) today I wanted to taste blood , I was so PISSED at absolutely nothing! This is insanity! But I do want to get a handle on my rage, it comes unannounced and sadly I don’t have a husband to beat it up, but a 15 year old son who is just the sweetest being you would ever want to meet and I don’t know if I do deserve this , but I’m sure as hell know he does not deserve my outbursts…All my life I was happy-go-lucky life of the party, now if I show up the freaking party is over. But seriously my main concern is my offspring he does not deserve to be on the receiving end on this crap.

    Thank you Lynette,soooooooooooo glad I found this.

  4. LynetteSh November 22, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    Hey girlfriend,
    I believe if you put in anger in the search box, it will bring up some posts. I do know that we had a major anger episode in our 3rd meeting of our Menopause Goddess group and that is in my book. Pretty interesting day, that was.

    One short piece of advice: I learned not to act on or voice my anger – until I figured out if it was real or hormonal. For me that usually was about 24 hrs. If after a day, I was still angry about a specific thing, then it probably was real, AND I was in a much better state to communicate regarding it. If, however, it dissipated by then, I could be pretty sure it was hormonal. And with rage?
    Vigorous exercise, screaming into pillows, and such helped defuse some of the hormonal outbursts. It is all too easy to be angry and “find” a cause or person to blame it on, when it might just be hormones. Sucky, but true. Hope this helps.
    Lynette

  5. T November 29, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

    it helps tremendously, specially when you write ” I promise you, it does get better” can tell you what relief those words bring to my soul. But it’s hard not to feel crazy when yesterday I had an absolute fantastic blissfull day and today mood was back in the toillette.
    ps: where can I go to this support groups I read on this site? how does it work, cause I definetely need some face to face support
    thank you
    T

  6. LynetteSh December 6, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

    Tady, the best way to get a support group is to start one. Just put How To Start Your Own Menopause Goddess Group in the search box for articles. Also, there is a chapter on it in the book. We don’t really have any way of knowing who has or has not started a group, so just get a group of like minded women together and take it from there. Good luck, hang in there and keep us posted. Lynette

  7. Gwen September 24, 2014 at 9:05 am #

    Hello to you all, thought I might share it is 1am and have been frightened out of sleep yet again the dreaded night terror returns. At least now I just get up make some chamomile tea and settle myself back to some sort of normal and then read for awhile until sleep may return. I think it is good for women to share their menopause experiences so they don,t feel on their own totally. Keep chatting and take care of yourselves.

  8. LynetteSh September 25, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

    I couldn’t agree with you more, Gwen.

  9. Jacquie February 29, 2016 at 7:16 am #

    Hello: first THANK YOU for this blog! I know these posts were years ago–however I need to commiserate with someone who thinks their life is ending midway through it! I am 54–and young! However I have terrors from thinks like being homeless to having no one to take care of me. Believe me I am BLESSED. I know things can change in a second but there is no reason for my worries except taxes. Lol.
    I can’t find my JOY! My HOPE! I am hopeLESS and scared and feeling alone (I’m not) and feel like my life is over! It got so bad that I am not on the patch after herbal remedies sent me to the hospital with 177/100 blood pressure! (I do not have high BP)… I am desperate. I almost WISH hot flashes were the worst of it… Mine is mostly mental and emotional–not one sadness why WORRY… Please discuss more of this–it is the “hidden” symptom of this crazy ass time–of which many do not share! I NEEEED TO KNOW I AL NOT ALONE in what I am feeling… Please. Xoxo

  10. LynetteSh March 6, 2016 at 3:04 pm #

    Absolutely, Jaquie! You are not alone – it will get better. But I won’t lie to you, it can be pretty awful for awhile. Most important is girlfriends – you might want to create your own goddess group to share this crazy ride! Put “Creating Your Own Goddess Group” in the search box on the blog for help with it. Good luck -and welcome to our community. Hugs, Lynette

  11. Anetta January 31, 2017 at 7:27 am #

    Please help! I cant sleep nights at all! Raging pulse, hypertension, obsessive worries, rage, suicidal thoughts, depression, complete lack of pleasure from anything in life. It started about 5 months ago, comes and goes but mainly stays. I am 50, still menstruating. I cant take it anymore. Is there hope?

  12. LynetteSh February 7, 2017 at 1:27 pm #

    Many of these symptoms are horrific but can be normal during perimenopause and menopause. Find an integrative medicine or holistic medical practitioner to help with symptom control. (Google can help you find someone in your area – search integrative medicine near me or try the integrative medicine association finder: http://www.abihm.org/search-doctors An integrative or holistic MD or nurse practitioner will address the whole you – including diet, lifestyle, etc. 1st step will likely be to have your hormones tested. That will ascertain if indeed you are in perimenopause. Then they can recommend remedies. Once your symptoms are less overwhelming, I strongly suggest that you start your own Menopause Goddess Group – we all agree that our group was the #1 remedy for this transition. just put “Creating Your Own Goddess Group” in the search box on the blog and it’ll make it simple. And of course, we are here for you as well. I know this seems crazy but I swear, if this is menopausal, it is temporary and we get through it. We’re women – we can handle anything if we know what to expect. Keep us posted.

  13. Legs February 11, 2017 at 4:25 am #

    Being the male observing such it is noted that there needs to be more knowledge about this. It is very devastating to the lady. The medical world appears to be poorly informed. Bless all.

  14. LynetteSh February 14, 2017 at 2:12 pm #

    You are so right! We so need the support of our male friends and partners during this transition. We appreciate you more than you know! Thank you.

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