I’m in Perimenopause and I Feel like I’m Going Crazy!
The very brilliant and extraordinarily funny comedian, George Carlin, once said, “Here's all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid.”
Few women I know would take issue with that statement. But unfortunately, when we are going through perimenopause and feel like we’re going crazy, well, we can’t blame that one on men – though it would be nice if we could, I know.
If you are in perimenopause, and have felt like you are going crazy, let me put your mind at ease – you are not; and you are not alone in those feelings either. Countless women report when they enter perimenopause they feel they are losing their grip on reality, and that they are going crazy.
The obvious question, of course, is why? What happens in perimenopause that makes women feel like they are going crazy?
The Mood Swings Don’t Help
I have made much humor and many jokes about my own nutty mood swings during perimenopause. Looking back, it’s easier to see the humor. But, when you are swinging back and forth between heavy, oppressive bouts of depression, and screaming, eye-bulging-profanity-laced-rages, I can assure you, it’s not very funny.
Mood swings in perimenopause are due to the extreme fluctuations of progesterone and estrogen. When estrogen is dominant, women may feel irritable and edgy, often flying into angry rages. On the other hand, when estrogen levels drop too low, women can feel sad, weepy, and deeply depressed.
Once a menstrual cycle begins, however, and her hormones are no longer fluctuating, women often say they feel calm, normal, and “back to themselves” again. It’s easy to see then, how women might feel they are going crazy in perimenopause when they are swinging back and forth between depression and rage, and “feeling normal” again.
Adrenal fatigue is said to occur when the adrenal glands become over-worked and are unable to produce adequate levels of the stress hormones cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. While chronic stress is usually the cause of adrenal fatigue, the hormone imbalance associated with perimenopause can also be a contributor as well.
Crashing fatigue and burn-out is a common complaint among women suffering with adrenal imbalance. They may also have high levels of anxiety and/or panic attacks. Some women even report bolting awake out of a sound sleep with their heart pounding, and hyper-ventilating. And as you might expect, adrenal imbalance can also contribute to mood swings as well.
If you are already coping with mood swings, high levels of anxiety, panic attacks and bolting awake with heart palpitations and hyper-ventilating is enough to make you feel you have lost all semblance of sanity!
Feeling Powerless and Overwhelmed
The hallmark of perimenopause is the erratic, unpredictable symptoms which literally seem to come out of nowhere. As a result, women often feel confused, powerless, and overwhelmed which, unfortunately, only exacerbates the symptoms and intensifies the feelings of losing control.
If you are having a difficult time coping with the symptoms of perimenopause, it is very important that you understand it is not a sign of mental weakness or a lack of self-control. And though it may seem as if the symptoms will never end, they do.
And if you’re still feeling crazy after that, just remember what George Carlin said, “It’s because men are stupid.”
Magnolia Miller is a certified healthcare consumer advocate in women’s health and a women’s freelance health writer and blogger at The Perimenopause Blog.