“It’s coming home” are the words on many English tongues right now, with the national football team reaching the European Cup Final, their first major final in 55 years. When their (bloody awesome) manager Gareth Southgate was interviewed after they had won the semi final match, I noticed him using the word ‘resilience’ a lot. It got me thinking about the word, as it’s used a lot in the mental health arena too, and in the workplace, in fact it has become a bit of a buzz word these past few years. Whilst we were all excited about England’s win, I was also wondering about applying the term ‘resilience’ to those challenging times when our hormones are all over the place and we feel like we’re on the losing team against them. Honestly, I can relate most things to menopause given half a chance!
First of all, however, I need to get it out there that I don’t actually like the term...
In last weeks’ blog I talked about our emotional health and how that impacts our brain fog (have a read if you haven’t yet, it’s a juicy one!) This week, I’m going to focus on how our response to brain fog either keeps us stuck or helps us step into clearer thinking.
I’ll go straight in for the truth bomb….when we try to get rid of an unwanted physical sensation or an emotion it often becomes worse. Crap hey?!
As humans we have learned how to problem solve and if something is shit, we ditch it, yes?! Well that works for many things but NOT for body sensations or emotions. The more you try to push away the brain fog, the more it is likely to hang around. It may lift for a short while (giving you evidence that it works and reason to keep trying) but it then floods back in and rarely works in the long term.
How about you? Do you try to avoid and repress uncomfortable feelings like brain fog? And how is that working for...
Whilst our hormones and biology play a part in brain fog (a commonly reported experience in peri/menopause), our psychology plays two parts in this issue.
1. Our emotional health impacts whether or not we experience brain fog, to what degree we experience it and the type of brain fog we experience.
2. How we respond to our experience of brain fog then has additional impact on how it gets in the way of life or not.
Let’s start by looking at how our emotions impact brain fog and the different types of brain fog. I’ve not heard anyone talking about different types of brain fog before but it seems to me that this is a varied experience depending on our psychology. Some people describe their brains being on ‘go-slow’, like the brain cogs can’t get going and are kind of limping along. This can be related to underlying chronic stress. When our bodies have been living in a state of anxiety (threat) and/or drive (that incessant ‘go,go,go’...
This week I wanted to share with you my latest podcast 'Inside Perimenopause'. This is one of the very many things I've discussed with the truly wonderful Kate Codrington on her podcast ‘Life: An inside job’.
Below is Kate's summary of the podcast.
You can click to listen to the full episode HERE.
Dr Becky Quicke aka The Menopause Psychologist shares the psychological skills she uses to help her perimenopause clients find their essential self and voyage through their transformation into Second Spring with peace and confidence and be the change the world needs to see.
• She shares what she did to make her PMDD-like, premenstrual symptoms disappear
• How to remove fear and panic in perimenopause
• How to manage negative thinking
• How to connect with your true essence and how easily available this is for you!
• How cultural negativity about menopause can get in the way
• Living as a flexible being in a rigid world
Brain fog is one of the most talked about issues in relation to peri/menopause. There are biological factors and I’ve noticed the medics talking about the role of testosterone but I’m here to say that there are other psychological factors that need taking into consideration.
Well…one big one and that’s CONTEXT. And this time I don’t mean our own individual context and whether we’re on our knees with exhaustion etc (I’ll talk all about that in my next blog). I’m suggesting we turn our attention to the deeper transformational context that’s going on underneath all of that.
Peri/menopause is a phase of life when our identity is changing in a huge way. Many people talk about it being a time of review, to sift the sh*t from our lives, shed the layers that no longer suit or serve us, detoxify physically, emotionally, relationally, to reclaim parts of us that we lost along the way. Grief and loss are easily triggered as...
I’m writing this blog 2 days before my 43rd birthday and I’ve been reflecting on this notion of celebrating ourselves. Birthdays call for that in some way (although many of us shy away from celebrating ourselves, even on our birthdays) but celebrating who we are needs to come more than once a year.
I reckon it needs to come at least once a month. Those of us who still have menstrual cycles (erratic and intense though they may be in perimenopause) have the ‘Inner Summer’ to celebrate ourselves and say “YES” to who we are. Our inner summer is half way through the menstrual cycle, approx. days 12-19. Our monthly hormonal and psychological cycle primes us to fully embody and celebrate ourselves. It’s the time to enjoy being in our bodies and connecting with others.
Whilst we may not wish to create a baby, ovulation also stimulates our creative potential and our ability to put ourselves out there, to share ourselves with...
It’s almost inevitable that we will have angry outbursts during peri/menopause. I’ve already covered why that is in a previous blog. I’ve also shared how to express yourself meaningfully instead of fully losing your shit.
However, I’m also here to say that will still happen. You will lose your sh*t. With your partner, children, parents, work colleagues, friends, random on the street. So it’s important we talk about this.
My first response when working with women who have lost their sh*t is often, “Oh good, there’s been a big rupture in the relationship”. Sound a bit bonkers?! Well, maybe I am but all of the research in this area tells us that ruptures within relationships create possibilities for growth, change and deeper connections.
There will always be breaks, people will always piss us off, that’s not the biggest issue. The important bit is how we repair the rupture. Not only does the...
Anger and rage in perimenopause and menopause throws many of us off kilter, it frightens us and takes us into the darkness, into the fear zone. Here we feel out of control, stressed, like we’re going mad, losing our sh*t, going crazy. It can make work feel hard and relationships even harder. I wrote about some of the context to this in my previous blog.
It can also be, however, a force for change and a time to find our voice. It can give us the energy to transform and step towards our second spring (aka post menopause) empowered with reclaimed confidence.
This is the empowered side of these emotions. This is where truth speaking, clarity and fulfilment lie. This is where we express ourselves meaningfully and model a whole new way of responding to these powerful emotions to the next generations.
So how can we bridge across from the uncontrollable rage to the empowered and more meaningful anger?
Here are 4 possible ways:
1 - Fierce compassion.
Of all the ‘symptoms’ in perimenopause and menopause, the one that often feels the most frightening is anger and rage. Brain fog is a close second (and I will write about that very soon) and anxiety is, by its’ very nature, frightening but the rage….well it’s in a league of its own!
Understanding the context around anger and rage in peri/menopause is important and rarely talked about.
But before I talk about context, let me describe how anger varies amongst us.
Some of us are raging left, right and centre. We feel one step away from causing serious harm at any irritation at home and in work … an overflowing bin, dirty dishes in the sink, lazy behaviour by our colleagues…our partner…our children… We’re ablaze with rage and it feels like we’re going crazy at times.
There are some who manage to keep a lid on it. Most of the time… Beneath the lid, however, it brews and bubbles and...
Before I jump into my reflections about reassurance, I want to mention how I have procrastinated for a couple of weeks about which topic I should choose to start this blog. Maybe the back story of my own journey from fear to fulfiment, my career pivot, the importance of self compassion, letting go of the Imposter Syndrome...."What is the perfect way to begin?" I wondered. Making decisions can be tough. Searching for perfection is futile. The decision process is one of bringing together our heads and hearts and tuning into our 'gut' intuition. To do this we need to give those thoughts and feelings space to settle and be. Then we can move freely towards our chosen direction. "Sod it", I thought once the thoughts had settled, I'll write my blog on the issues that were running through my mind this morning because they are current, authentic (as always) and will resonate with many of you, I am sure! Action over procrastination. There will be plenty of time for those other...