“I'm Frightened - I've Never Panicked Before - Have I Lost My Mind”
That's what I was thinking the first time I panicked. I remember it clearly; I was standing in a bookstore in the mall looking for something to read.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, I became very aware of the people around me - how many people were there, that they were bustling and rushing - and I felt completely alone and isolated.
I began to feel like I wanted to run and just keep on running. I had a tingly sensation, electric current coursing through my body.
It felt like a rush and it was decidedly unpleasant. I thought I was losing my mind.
I felt completely alone. In actuality, I came to find out later that if you are in menopause or perimenopausal there is a major difference between panic attacks and menopausal anxiety disorder.
Your hormones are undergoing a major change which, in turn affect the Serotonin levels in your brain.
Hormones in menopausal women play a major role in anxiety and disorder and what I was experiencing was, while unpleasant, part of the process.
Common symptoms of anxiety include:
- Panicky feelings
- Rapid heart beat
- Diarrhea & stomach problems
It happened more frequently at night, and I found that my sleep was interrupted. I would wake up feeling dizzy, hot and disconnected. It took me a while to bring it up to my doctor.
You may experience irrational fears about:
- Losing control
- Losing your mind
- Embarrassing yourself
- Having a heart attack
While all this is a result of hormonal shifts in your estrogen levels, and it is perfectly natural, talking to anyone becomes part of the problem.
These menopause panic attacks can also come with bouts of depression marked by sadness, bleak outlook on life, and change in sleep patterns.
Weight loss or gain, low self esteem and an overall melancholy. A lot of women who suffer from panic attacks many times will slowly slip into depression. That's the bad news.
The good news is that if you are reading this article, you now have a good idea about what's happening to you. You are not losing your marbles; your body is just changing.