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Perimenopause and TMS???

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by maggie123, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. maggie123

    maggie123 New Member

    Hello All,

    I'm new to this forum and very pleased to have found this website! (I think I mistakenly posted this the wrong place...) I have read Dr. Sarno's books and currently reading The Divided Mind and I am confident this is what I have dealt with over the past 15 years. I have suffered on and off with back pain, anxiety, headaches, sciatica, vertigo, and many other symptoms covered in his books. There have been gaps where I have not had any of those pain/emotional episodes and life seemed to go along pretty regularly.
    Recently, I have reached the age of perimenopause and with that comes a lot of mood swings which seems to have sparked off a great deal of pain, anxiety and depression.
    Do any of the Doctors/therapists address this period of a woman's life as it relates to TMS? I can't help but wonder if some of this is truly hormonal imbalances that creates the mood swings or is it that the imbalances just open up an avenue for those repressed emotions to start to try and surface? I currently see a therapist and plan to ask her if she would consider supporting me as I go through the TMS recovery program. I went on antidepressants recently, but am weaning off due to the horrible side effects. Going to the GYN doctor to get any insight from her regarding alleviation of mood swings, but feel this is yet another manifestation of TMS.

    Can someone please provide any feedback on TMS and the transition a woman goes through during perimenopause, specifically the mood swings?

    I am so grateful for this website! It is so comprehensive and informative. Thank you to all those who have helped to make this available!

    New to the forum and hoping to get started in this recovery program

  2. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Maggie. I am going through the same thing and recently posted about it. I ordered a book on line called Mind Over Menopause and have been doing some research. Its interesting because a lot of the recommendations from even the medical community on how to lesson and relieve peri-menopausal symptoms are much the same as what we cover in our TMS recovery. I am starting to believe that my TMS really aggravates the peri-menopausal symptoms. The 4-6 days before my period have been especially bad this last year. I don't have hot flashes but my anxiety really increases, I feel achey and sick like I am coming down with the flu. Since my periods come every 25 days it leaves me about two weeks a month when I feel more "normal." I am finding that some of the techniques I am learning for the TMS and chronic pain, in particular the Somatic Experiencing, are helping with the PMS as well. The Somatic Experiencing really helps me bring my experience into the present moment and recognizing the ability for things to change. In the past if I woke up feeling bad it would usually escalate throughout the day. Now by applying the relaxation and Somatic Experiencing techniques I know that I may wake up feeling terrible but that can change.
    honey badger likes this.
  3. maggie123

    maggie123 New Member

    Hi Anne, Thanks for responding. This was my first post here and I haven't gone through any of the programs yet. The somatic experiencing...is this something that is covered in one of the programs? My anxiety and now sadness that has come into the picture with my irregular cycles is very hard to deal with. It creates pain-fear-pain-hopelessness feeling. I'm afraid of antidepressants (especially in light of my most recent bad experience), but not sure how to cope. I appreciate your suggestions and will read up on somatic experiencing. What relaxation methods are you using? Thanks again for your encouragement.
  4. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hiya Maggie and Welcome to the Peer Network,

    Having chronic pain for that long can be very discouraging. My symptoms were a part of my life for over 18 years. Any time we have a life change, we are susceptible to having TMS. There is a really good chance that your unconscious mind has anger and rage about aging and growing older. This is something that Dr. Zafirides discusses numerous times in his podcast, especially the one called The Role of Existential Anxiety in TMS Pain. As we all age we are forced to face existential anxieties (meaning, mortality, existential isolation and freedom). It can be very difficult to face these things, and we therefore develop symptoms such as pain, depression and anxiety. In regards to how to address these issues, Dr. Zafirides wrote,

    Try not to focus too much on Anger as the main issue. While anger is an important emotion, it may not represent THE emotion that feels threatening to the individual. I believe the anxieties of our existence - meaning, mortality, existential isolation and freedom - can lead to depression, anxiety and PPD/TMS.​

    These existential anxieties are part of the human condition. We ALL feel them, but we do so in our own unique way. For some of us, physical pain is the way we shield ourselves (or take refuge from) these anxieties of existence.​
    Lotus and honey badger like this.
  5. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Maggie. I first heard about Somatic Experiencing on this sight and after doing some research it really resonated with me. I am not sure if there is a specific section on this site or if it is something TMS Wiki officially endorses or not. I have tried many, many therapies over the years, both physical and psychological. In addition to seeing a traditional therapist, I have also seen a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist. I also have a fear of taking drugs or antidepressants. I worked with a TMS Therapist for several months before switching to the Somatic Experiencing therapist. Of course, everyone responds to different things and so you need to experiment. I have done all of the TMS programs on this site and a few others in addition, including Monte Hueftle's The Master Practice and Howard Schubiner's Unlearn Your Pain. I got something out of each one of them and they are all very good. I wish I were someone that could just follow a program and get better, but that has not been the case for me yet. I do think things are improving for me though. What I love about the Somatic Experiencing is that it has helped me more with the anxiety than anything else I have ever tried. Better than Xanax! I think this is because I need to learn how to translate all that I know and have learned about myself and this condition, into how my body responds to life. Meditation of any kind is also very important and effective. I have meditated for many years but the Somatic Experiencing is helping to deepen my meditation. Also in terms of relaxation, exercise is very important to me. I prefer walking and bicycling. I can really notice a difference when I am not able to walk. Some days it is so hard to drag myself out the door, but I always feel a little better during and after. I would maybe start with the Structural Education program here. Feel free to message me anytime. It is nice to meet someone that is going through something similar.
  6. maggie123

    maggie123 New Member

    Hi Forest, Thank you for such great insight. I don't mind saying this since it is so relevant to your post, but I did just turn 50 last weekend so your post is probably very much in alignment with what may be hovering under the surface. I appreciate your input and I did listen to Dr. Zafirides' podcast. Very interesting indeed. I am in a place right now--empty nest, what do I do now kind of mindset. Thanks for the information. It is helpful.
  7. maggie123

    maggie123 New Member

    Thanks Anne. Wow, you have quite a bit of experience in this arena. I haven't ever meditated but would like to learn. I'm sure it's beneficial in many ways. I'd like to look into the somatic experiencing too and Unlearn Your Pain. Thanks for your input. I appreciate the information.
  8. Rinkey

    Rinkey Peer Supporter

    Hi Maggie,
    I went through something similar to what you're experiencing a few months ago.
    I'm menopausal and foolishly went off estrogen cold turkey. My gyn doctor did not advice me well at all and after about
    2 weeks I knew going cold turkey was a huge mistake.
    The hormonal imbalance left me with massive anxiety among other very common symptoms (like trying to climb into a deep freezer while having hot flashes ;) ) and that was the *perfect* opportunity for the tms to come marching right in and creating havoc.
    I was having a difficult time figuring out if the anxiety was tms or hormonal imbalance because they were exactly the same feelings...
    Anyway, I hope you will be able to have a discussion with your doctor.
    Once I sat down with my new one (fired the other who had me go cold turkey) and started hormone replacement for awhile I was able to think straight again and get a handle on the tms.
    You might want to look into the book Anne suggested and you could take a look at Gail Sheehy's new addition of The Silent Passage.

  9. maggie123

    maggie123 New Member

    Hi Rinkey,

    Thank you for you words of encouragement. I am so encouraged to hear about the hormone replacement avenue. I spoke to my gyn today and she thought a very low dose of birth control would be what I need to help level out my moods. It's definitely worth a try since the other drugs scare me so much. I will definitely read the book Anne suggested and pick up a copy of The Silent Passage too. Any good reading on this time period is soooo helpful. I feel terribly lost in a sea of symptoms and wondering is this legitimately hormonal or TMS. For example, I have been telling my brain all day that the headache won't work anymore and it no longer needs to do that to distract me from my feelings. Well low and behold, as it goes with this crazy peri-stuff, my cycle decided to begin today so that seemed to indicate that this headache was probably a hormone headache...or was it??? I'm encouraged though still by your comments, and my gyn said I'll start at a very low dose first and see how I respond then we'll go from there. She is very much an advocate for starting small and weaning off anything very slowly. Thanks again for your encouragement and info on a topic that seems to get overlooked by many health professionals.
    Wow - Really?! likes this.
  10. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Maggie, I've been in that club for several years now. (I'm nearing 50.) The book that was helpful to me was, "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause" Or there's one by the same title except it's Perimenopause. That book was VERY helpful to me and based on that doc's advice, I've been using a high quality progesterone cream and I think it is helping my cycles maintain a little more regularity.

    Having said that, I am treating my PMS symptoms as TMS. The reason for this is the fact that menopause has been going on since the beginning of time and it is probably in the last few generations that it's become an issue needing "treatment." That goes along with Sarno's view that things that are in "vogue" become epidemic TMS equivalents. I think the medical establishment is capitalizing on a very normal non-event.

    Now mind you...I am cognizant of all the synthetic stuff in the environment and our diets that fuel hormone imbalances so I watch what I eat and keep things as natural as possible in my home. (Toiletries, cleaning products, etc...)
    Lotus likes this.
  11. maggie123

    maggie123 New Member

    Hi MontanaMom,
    Thanks for the comments. The "in vogue" epidemic regarding menopause and treatment as a TMS Equivalent is something I didn't consider. I think that is quite sure a possibility. But my mood swings have become so hard to handle. And this all started just recently now that my cycles are completely irregular. I have been trying to manage them without any help except vitamin/herbal supplements and diet, however, they still have become overwhelming. I don't like to think I need to go to drugs or hormones to deal with it, but I am not able to function on a daily basis this way. Are you dealing with PMS or Perimenopause symptoms? While they are similar, there are some stark differences physiologically. I too had some mood issues with PMS and it was rough, but manageable. Now that I'm in the throes of the peri-phase it's quite different. I do appreciate your comments and will definitely consider the TMS equivalent as I work through this. Thanks for the book recommendations. I will check them out.
  12. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Oh Maggie...I SO understand about the mood swings. I'll find myself wanting to punch someone in the throat if they look at me wrong while I'm in the grocery store. Or bawling over something stupid. A quick glance at the calendar reminds me hormones are at play. But yeah....my cycles are getting wonky...skipping here and there....short cycles. It is SO annoying and yeah, it's more peri-menopause that I'm dealing with. ESPECIALLY when I panic...OMG! My cycles are weird! I must have fill-in-the-blank malady - the one I've been reading about lately.:eek: ( Isn't that a coincidence? ;))

    Regular exercise and mindfulness meditation have been a real life saver for me. Especially with softening the emotional roller coaster. I also use music to pull me out of funks. I keep a file of "happy music" on my iPod.

    I'm trying to embrace all this stuff as just normal life because I know the tendency with me is to escalate things into some new TMS equivalent. (It doesn't hurt that I was a nurse so I can imagine all sorts of things. ;) )

    Hang in there, Maggie!
    Wow - Really?! likes this.
  13. AC45

    AC45 Well known member

    Hi Everyone,

    I know this is an older thread but I've had 3am anxiety for the last 15 months. I am 47 and I have healed from hand pain, hip pain and my knee pain is almost gone. What I said left is anxiety and insomnia. I too wonder about the night sweats, 3am anxiety and how much of this part is perimenopause. Often, I can fall asleep but then I wake up tired and wired! I am on a low dose of birth control pills but I still find it all very confusing. Big hugs to all of you going through similar things! Any feedback you may have is appreciated.

  14. Plumcrazy

    Plumcrazy Peer Supporter

    I am glad that you brought up this thread, AC, as I have been interested in the connection, given my mid-50's age. I am still in peri and seem to only get hit with the emotional issues, as well as a revisit to back pain. Hopefully other currently-present posters will join in the discussion.
    AC45 likes this.
  15. honey badger

    honey badger Peer Supporter

    Hi -AC45, Sorry about your 3am anxiety. Anxiety can be a bitch, that's for sure. I've posted in other threads before that for me the best author who helped me out of anxiety was Claire Weekes. The book is Hope and Help for Your Nerves. She's amazing. There was also another post on this forum that had audios of hers, which people found really helpful. I have recently been reading on this forum about insomnia, and one of the TMS experts confirmed that it indeed is another TMS equivalent. I was actually really glad to hear it. Type it in the search window and hopefully the threads will come up. I hope you find some good stuff there to help you.
    AC45 likes this.
  16. honey badger

    honey badger Peer Supporter

    AC45 likes this.
  17. karinabrown

    karinabrown Well known member

    Hi ladies,

    I think the menopause issues vs tms are very tricky. I believe in the tms approach that's not a question. And although indeed menopause its not a condition its absolutely a real thing with a lot of possible real psysical issues en psychological. Too simple to put it all in the tms corner'.
    Having said that ; all the stress this hormonal changes causes us, is making everything worse so also tms symptoms or pains. So who will ever know which one is what? When visiting menopause forums i read simmilar stories : jointpain.. backpain.. headaches.. depression : the list is long and all of the items could also be tms.

    For myself decided to try to use the tms work to deal with all of the stuff that pops up now. Only difference is the identifying your stressors' part : if its not pure tms but 'just hormons' you can dig into your soul then : but not finding reasons. That's the confusing part. Maybe parts as : outcome indepence are more suitable then ?!

    AC45 likes this.
  18. honey badger

    honey badger Peer Supporter

    Hm, you make some good points Karina. Either way, the ailments are very real, whether they are caused organically (menopause) or caused by emotions/tension/mind. The thing is, if some of the symptoms are TMS (headaches, depression, mood swings) then we don't need to do anything. Like with all other TMS equivalents, we just need to understand how TMS works in our bodies, what our minds are doing in regards to our repressed emotions, and know that fear and attention will make those symptoms worse. But if it is not TMS, then we may want to seek medical support if things get really hard. I have asked the experts in the "ask the experts" section of the forum whether they can shed clarity on whether menopause symptoms are a TMS equivalent. Hopefully we will get a reply and it may help shed some light on this.
  19. AC45

    AC45 Well known member

    Yes, I love Clare Weekes! Thx!
  20. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    At age 31 I had a hysterectomy and one ovary removed. In my late 30's, perimenopause began. I also began yoga, and within a year, the symptoms had greatly reduced. I also became a vegetarian. Many years later, full out menopause began, and I am very appreciative of it. Since I am almost always cold, I love the heat surges. Most of the other symptoms are very mild. I have since learned that a plant based diet does contribute to reducing the worst of the symptoms.

    I had always feared menopause because society trains us to fear it, AND I saw what it did to my mother. She had hers for 20+ years, and it was intense. She is also a heavy meat eater.

    Never ever have I taken any hormones. I also avoid soy, as it mimics estrogen and will drive me absolutely into severe agitation.

    When I get the heat flashes, I can almost always trace it to an emotional response of something that 'just' happened, or a stray thought/emotion that shot through. I do occasionally get the cold-night-sweats (which I dislike intensely) and even that I can trace to bad dreams or delayed anxiety from other issues that occurred.

    Hormone fluctuations are normal. Our bodies are always changing. The transition from child-bearing to non-child-bearing is also normal. It is a natural progression in life. However, society and media and pharmaceuticals have instilled a great deal of anxiety-anticipation of what is going to happen, and they push a lot of medications for it.

    There are natural remedies that can assist (St.Johns Wort tea is excellent), but it is also our attitude. Fearing and hating it will worsen it. Accepting and appreciating it will diminish a great deal of the anxiety, which will also lessen the symptoms (sounds a lot like TMS!).

    I've seen posts about the anxiety of aging, which also increases the angst over menopause. Yet aging is part of our life cycle. If we fear what is perfectly normal ... no wonder there are so many emotional ailments.

    Dance. Throw your arms up. Breathe. Hear the songs of Nature. Nurture yourself. And appreciate this wondrous body that allows your soul to journey in this physical realm. You are not your body. You are the Light within your body. Your body is ... a gift. A precious gift. Everything you feel within your body is a reflection of your history and your emotional response to that history. Learn from it, and what you learn ... teach others.

    You are beautiful.
    You are powerful.
    And you are Love. It is there, inside you. Waiting for you to notice.

    .... with Love and Gratitude, always ^_^
    AC45, Ellen, plum and 1 other person like this.

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