As you will know some women are very much affected by the peri-menopause. Others are not affected at all and wonder what all the fuss is about. Still others are somewhere in between.
If you are experiencing unusually strong emotions and perhaps confusion at this time of your life, it can be very disturbing and quite inconvenient. You may find that you are ‘over-reacting’ in certain situations, feel more vulnerable than you used to and possibly get very angry and irritable at times. All these emotions can raise questions for us about who we are as individuals and what our context is or should be, either relationally or in terms of purpose and identity – or all three.
Although I have used the term ‘over-reacting’ I wonder sometimes if people generally are that conditioned not to express their emotions, that if a woman does start to do this it can be seen as ‘over the top’ or even ‘hysterical’ in some cases.
Looking at this from a different perspective, could the constraints of what is socially acceptable and the lack of validation that is so often experienced by women (particularly in their relationships with partners) be suppressing emotion that much that it causes a ‘pressure cooker’ effect? I think there is the possibility this could be the case.
Another aspect to this is that emotions are a response to something that is real to us – either from the past or the present which could even translate into anxieties about the future. The circumstances or issues we are responding to may be completely invisible to others and yet from our own embodied perspective they can scream out to us with a shattering impact.
Within the counselling context it is your perspective, your reactions and emotions that are heard, validated and valued. They are given the air time they need for you to come to some kind of resolution, acceptance or even non-acceptance of the situations you are dealing with. It is your perspective that is worked with. Although it can sometimes be helpful to take into account how others may see things, exploring your own view gives you the choice as to how you want to proceed.
Often with the expression and validation of emotion comes a clarity of thought and a rationality which you may or may not have realised you possess. Emotions can sometimes make us feel that our thoughts are so mixed up there is no rhyme or reason for them. Untangling all these thoughts and feelings can be very reassuring and lead you to the realisation that you are not actually ‘going mad’ as you suspected, but there are genuine reasons for how you are thinking and feeling.
This time of change in your body can provide a very useful space within the counselling context for self-examination and expression. This can give you the opportunity to ‘find yourself’ again, become more aware of your own identity and how you want to live in this world, where actually, ‘Times of Change’ are never ending.