Penni Osborn, Associate at Anglia Counselling (Newmarket), offers counselling and therapy support to those experiencing the menopause and who may be struggling with both the physical and emotional symptoms. In this post, she shares her insight and thoughts about the menopause and how it can, for some, be the harbinger of positive new beginnings.
When we really, really don’t want something, finding acceptance for it can be very hard. It’s even harder to go the next step and embrace that thing we don’t want.
Finding some good in something challenging, uncomfortable and unwanted can feel impossible. The menopause, for some, is exactly that. Something we don’t want or like, but we have no choice but to tolerate it, so what can be done?
We may have no choice in the passage of time, nor any power over Mother Nature and what she brings to us, but we do have a choice about how we think, and therefore feel, about it.
The ‘change’ can bring with it a whole host of new sensations – physical, mental and emotional – some of which we may be prepared for, but others can creep in and weave their way into our lives in such a way as to leave us perplexed and confused as to why we are now ‘this’ rather than ‘that’.
Around the time of the menopause, much can be changing in a woman’s life. It’s an age where, perhaps if we have children, they are becoming adults and leaving home, or maybe they already have and are starting families of their own, or perhaps they are still young and energetic and we don’t feel the same!
We may have elderly relatives that need our support. We may be at the peak of our career and have a demanding work schedule. We may have been ticking along for years, with a pretty much unchanging routine and now everything is shifting.
Our roles no longer seem the same, so are who are we now?
These life alterations can lead us to either consciously or sub-consciously reassess our life, revisit past hurts, our choices so far and our desires (or fears) for the future.
In addition to these circumstantial changes, our body is changing too. Alongside the physical symptoms of the menopause (as if they weren’t enough!) we can also add anxiety, low mood, forgetfulness, irritability, fatigue and probably more. Sometimes this is compounded by a lack of understanding and compassion from those around us, exacerbating what can be an isolating and worrying time!
Each woman’s experience of the menopause is unique as it isn’t simply a case of ‘going through it’, it’s an addition to what already exists that may too, be in the process of changing.
When working with the menopause in Counselling, we look at the whole picture, not just the menopause itself. What else can change? Is there a new purpose now? What new and exciting future can the menopause be the catalyst for?
If the physical and mental burden can somehow be managed, perhaps by finding the tools and skills to cope with these, what enticing new landscape can be discovered lying beyond?
Perhaps some part or parts have been held back and put on hold while fulfilling the humdrum of daily life in whatever form that has taken thus far. Maybe the shift in the season of life that is middle-age could herald the start of a new chapter, a chapter to be filled with a renewed sense of self-awareness, confidence and wisdom. Afterall, autumn can be a very beautiful time.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can be really helpful during times of change. It can help us to look at how our negative thoughts around a difficult situation could be affecting our feelings and our behaviour and seeks to change our thinking to something more realistic.
Counselling too, can be a great support. Just talking to someone experienced and non- judgemental, and having time that’s just for you, can bring relief during challenging times.
Working with me, there is no commitment to a minimum number of sessions. For many, relief is often found very quickly, for some just with one appointment! And you have the freedom to choose to connect online, or make use of my lovely therapy room – a peaceful space just outside Newmarket, in the Suffolk countryside.
If you would like a chat to see if counselling or therapy are for you, why not get in touch by sending an email to [email protected]
I look forward to speaking with you!