It is no secret that anxiety can be linked to menopause, and for some women, the condition can get so bad, they are forced to resort to
more wine than normal anti-depressants to help them through it.
According to Medical News Today: ‘Hormone changes, life stresses, sleep problems, worries about body image, infertility,
boring marriages and aging are all factors linked to menopause that can contribute to mood swings, stress, anxiety, irritability bordering on psychopathy and a decreased sense of any rationality well-being in women.’
There’s nothing worse than feeling anxious all the time, and if I could change one element of this stage of my life, it would be the sense of irrational fear that has worked its way into my consciousness and affects all my decisions.
I often wonder where the fearlessness I had as a child and young adult disappeared to in the ageing process. Sometimes, when I stop on the beach and watch the surfers…(!) in the ocean, each waiting their break, tossed and turned by waves strong enough to crush them, and I can’t imagine they’re worrying about sharks, rips, Russian submarines, ear infections or being brushed on the leg by seaweed.
Fortunately, their passion continues to override their fear.
Remember how as kids we rolled and bounded down steep hills and steps, without worrying about falling over? When did I start making risk assessments about steps? Remember how in the local playground, we swung across monkey bars, spun the swing almost 360 degrees, and Mum quietly wet her knickers and chain-smoked on the bench? We’d hurtle in trains down the slides, or go backwards; we’d climb trees – okay, I never actually climbed trees – got our knees scraped, broke limbs, the adrenaline in our bodies egging us on to do more.
Was that because our brains were underdeveloped, or has experience taught us to be more careful?
I often wonder what happened to the girl who lived and worked in France, drove across Europe by herself, hitchhiked and took her chances with Lotharios that she’d never leave her daughter in the same room with today. What happened to that young woman who had to reinvent herself so many times in the workplace to stay relevant, that not even she recognised herself?
When did nerve gas and Russians and whether fish oil really works start keeping me awake at night? When did worrying about what can go wrong in my life supersede my enjoyment of it? Has my fear been caused by hurt, or is it an uncomfortable acceptance of the increased pace at which I tumble closer to the end? Or is it simply the greater limitations of my ageing middle-aged body, that makes everything feel that much riskier?
‘She had a fall,’ is a common story I hear about elderly parents.
I will not go out with a fall, not unless wine is responsible.