Menopause Diaries #2 – Irrational Fears

Ten days back, Krishnan had to attend an event at a school that’s 15 kms away. I wasn’t able to join him because of a really bad sore throat. Krishnan took the car, attended the event and got back in a couple of hours. Why am I writing about this ? Well, for the first time, I wasn’t irrational about Krishnan driving the car alone 🙄.

There are two things that all my friends and colleagues will tell you about me – I am not terribly stressed out about anything and I love to drive …. really fast, preferably race. The maximum speed that I have driven a car is 210 Kmph on the Delhi-Lucknow expressway. Every single car that we have had, I have driven it to its potential :). I get pissed off if someone drives really slow.

Krishnan and I, are both good and safe drivers, but since 2013 onwards, with the onset of peri menopause, I have ensured that Krishnan nearly stops driving. I have this irrational fear that he will hit someone, something or will miss seeing the traffic light etc etc etc. The fear is so unsettling that I would insist on Krishnan taking a taxi rather than drive alone. If I was in the car, my knees would be tight and my face would be twisting every which way :(:(.

Its not just driving, I have irrational fears about everything ! For someone who has never experienced debilitating fear, this is really difficult to deal with. The word most people would associate with me is “bindaas” and I am that way. Intellectually I understand that its a passing phase, but nothing stops me from being totally scared.

And its only with Krishnan and my mother – not everybody. I will point out every single piece of turd, stones and uneven surfaces when we are out walking. When my mother tries gets a tiny scratch, I will lecture her for an hour on how to hold the knife !!

Once, I went to the swimming pool looking for Krishnan because he hadn’t called when I thought he should have. I would keep checking on him if he seems slightly off colour. Krishnan’s 2019 March health scare didn’t help at all… it just exacerbated these irrational fears.

The worst was when I had a momentary panic attack during Wave 2. I couldn’t breathe for a couple of seconds and I nearly blacked out, but I kept telling myself that this was just my hormones acting up.

Ok Some good news – this is temporary. 😁

Do read the transcript – Feeling fearful during menopause & how to overcome it. and you can see the video below.

Irrational Fears And Menopause

Excerpt taken from the above article – “…We have different areas of the brain that have developed over the eons, if you like, since life began and these irrational fears tend to stem from what’s called the reptilian brain. Now, this is a very simple brain, if you like, it just focuses on life, survival, food, and reproduction. 

And when our oestrogen starts to fall, our control, if you like, on this particular part of the brain, we can lose it. So the primal fears can start to circulate and these very often start first thing in the morning.”

How have I dealt with it ?

Some of the techniques that I have used to deal with these fears –

  1. Acknowledging that this is irrational and its being caused by hormonal changes and nothing more.
  2. Getting support – I explained to Krishnan and Amma about why I get these reactions and have taken their help to break the cycle. Every time I nag Krishnan while he is driving, he simply parks the car to the side and lets me drive. Immediately I understand that I was being irrational and I back off.
  3. Distraction – I simply start listening to Osho’s discourse or some of my favourite songs whenever I find myself getting fearful. It helps to distract my attention and a few minutes or an hour later, am back to being my normal self.
  4. Reminders – I keep telling myself that this phase is temporary. I haven’t become a fearful person, its just a phase that shall pass.

The silver lining is what happened ten days back. Krishnan took the car and I didn’t call or text him constantly. I just asked him once if he had reached the venue and he texted me when he started from the event. Its not that I made an effort, I just didn’t feel the need to nag him at all. In fact I was busy working on a report for ShikshaDaan so I didn’t even realise how much time had gone by.

So sisters on the Menopause train … the journey is rough, but you aren’t changing as a person. Its just a temporary phase where you are behaving irrationally. So hang in there.

Do read – Menopause Diaries #1 – Brain Fog.

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