There are many different symptoms of the menopause and I have had the misfortune to suffer quite a few. But this latest emotion of major anger, irritation and despair is a new low in the menopause menaces.
Recently, I have felt like I have PMT on steroids. It starts as soon as I wake up and lasts all day. In some cases, this feeling of extreme annoyance lasts for several days at a time.
I try hard not to let this anger spill out on to other people and mainly it is anger and irritation inside my own head. I feel unbelievably annoyed with myself and I criticise all kinds of personal emotions and my own perceived physical defects.
I feel slow, stupid, dull, lazy, stupid and when I look at my face and body is see all kinds of faults and failures.
Sadly, sometimes this annoyance does get dished out to other people. My poor long-suffering husband is the most likely to be in the firing line. It’s not that I am annoyed with him or anything specific that he does, rather I just don’t want him to be near me because I am so bloody pissed off with myself.
If he suggests plausible solutions, such as “go out for a bike ride”, or “why not see your friends?”, this makes me feel even more irritated. He can’t win, even though he tries to help.
I know I am short on patience with other people and I try hard not to vocalise this but inside my head I am raging.
Thankfully, I work from home most of the time, which means I am saved from a lot of the general annoyances that other people might face in day-to-day life but even when I make short trips out into the world I find myself irrationally annoyed.
It could be the way someone is driving, or how someone speaks to me while I am riding my mountain bike, or the way that a dog walker lets their dog run in front of my path, or the slow speed of a queue at the supermarket.
All these things I can usually handle with a calm inner thought or a wry smile but not when the full force of my PMT-on-steroids-menopause head hits.
Menopause and anger
I had assumed that reducing oestrogen would be the cause of the anger and rage. But apparently it’s more to do with what oestrogen normally does to our control of emotions.
It is thought that as women’s oestrogen levels fall during the peri-menopause and menopause, it interferes with our emotional control. And when that happens, we can become a lot angrier. We are less in control and we’re more likely to let out our anger, rather than holding it in.
I know that PMT-type symptoms have been a growing issue for me over the last decade but this kind of irrational in-my-own-head anger is debilitating and upsetting.
In the end, I find I don’t want to go out too often. I am worried that I will lose it with other people and so I think it’s better to stay out of the way of other people. I know that this angry mood usually passes after about a week and then I feel a lot less like the Incredible Hulk.
Another side-effect is feeling low. For the time that it takes over many days for this anger to build and then slowly subside, I feel depressed. I fear that I will remain in this state for months and months, or even years. I worry that my normal “fairly nice and kind” self will not return.
It’s a horrible vicious circle.
On top of this, I end up feeling guilty. My rational head tells me that I am lucky to have a good life, great friends and family and good-for-age fitness and health. I feel awful for feeling so bloody negative about myself and I know I bore people with my low feelings.
“Oh don’t be silly,” they tell me. “You’re in great shape and good health.”
Yes! I know this and generally I believe this, but on the days when my head feels like it will explode with private anger and irritation I can see only my negative features.
Are other menopausal women experiencing the same?