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Why do I feel like I’m Going Crazy in Perimenopause?

Posted Jul 01 2013 12:00am

It is the most common thing I hear from women regarding perimenopause .

“I feel like I’m going crazy! What is wrong with me?”

And there are a variety of reasons why women might feel this way too.

Personally, I think the primary reason is the simple “craziness” of perimenopause in general.

The wacky mood swings , depression, rages , inability to sleep, laughing one minute, crying the next, and all at an intensity that is too hard to explain to anyone who hasn’t been through it.

Never mind trying to get your spouse to understand.

Physically, however, there are a few symptoms of perimenopause which probably scare women more than others, leading us to believe we’ve finally fallen off the turnip wagon.

For me, mood swings were the “grand mal” symptom.  They were so intense, and I felt so completely out of control (and frankly, I was), that I was certain I was losing every last semblance of sanity I ever had.

For someone like me, never accused of being a wilting wall flower, and who has spent her entire life bulldozing through any obstacle that might have the misfortune of being in my way, this lack of control was emotionally and psychologically eviscerating.

I’m also certain that my emotional and mental duress over my inability to control or stop what was happening to me, made the mood swings even more debilitating.

In the most basic terms, it is the very turbulent shift (rising and falling) in estrogen and progesterone levels that causes mood swings – particularly the raging part.  Much like the years of PMS (remember those?), when estrogen levels rise and progesterone levels fall, it affects your mood profoundly.

Estrogen is a wonderful hormone, and when in balance does wonderful things for women.  But, when estrogen levels are too high, as they often are for women going through perimenopause , raging mood swings (among many other symptoms) are often the result.

Let me tell you something: I had no earthly idea that women going through perimenopause could also suffer from adrenal fatigue and thyroid dysfunction .  But we can.  In fact, these two secondary issues are often the culprit in causing and intensifying many of the symptoms of perimenopause.

Such as: crashing fatigue, heart palpitations, panic attacks, vertigo and dizziness, bolting awake from a sound sleep hyperventilating, and a racing heart.

You know, maybe crashing fatigue is not a symptom which most women would associate with “feeling like I’m going crazy.” But heart palpitations?  Panic attacks? Vertigo and dizziness?  Bolting awake in the middle of the night with your heart racing and hyperventilating?

I should say so.

Again, in most basic terms, adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenal glands are called upon too much in order to help us cope with daily stress and demands (in other words, too much on our plate and we’re stressed out); and when our thyroid hormones (TSH, T4, & T3) become out of balance, thyroid dysfunction (either hypo or hyperthyroidism) is the result.

Both adrenal fatigue and thyroid dysfunction can contribute to and exacerbate perimenopause symptoms.   Vertigo and dizziness, for example, are associated with hypothyroidism, and heart palpitations and panic attacks are associated with both adrenal fatigue and thyroid dysfunction as well.

So let me say it again, ladies, you are not going crazy in perimenopause.  It only feels that way, and you can thank some of these symptoms for it too.  The important thing is to understand that “this too shall pass.”

It really will.  And while I can’t promise you that this aging thing and menopause is “all that.”  It’s certainly a lot better than perimenopause.  So, while you may be suffering mightily with those perimenopause symptom s right now. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s called menopause.

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