I’m not gonna lie, I thought I was going crazy. Hell, the doctor thought I was going crazy. I kept going back month after month with different symptoms… anxiety, depression, insomnia, burnout, rage, night sweats, weird period pains half way through my cycle, headaches, weight gain, blood sugar peaks and troughs, bad guts, joint pain…. oh the joint pain. Every blood test came back ‘normal’ and I was getting myself deeper and deeper into the trenches of self-loathing and anxiety because no GP could give me an answer. I thought I must be going bat-shit crazy. Little did I know all my symptoms were linked.
At 38, menopause was NOT on my radar and surprisingly (knowing what I know now) not one GP mentioned it to me.
Here’s something you need to know about me. I’m a problem solver at heart (Virgo rising) and so I had to get to the bottom of this and decode what was going on with me. As Dr Joe Dispenza says: “In the information age, ignorance is a choice.” After going down an internet rabbit hole, seeking out a health coach and having some private testing done, I realised I was in full blown perimenopause at age 42. It all finally made sense. My symptoms were part of a whole.
Many people don’t realise that perimenopause (the years leading up to menopause) can be as long as 15 years and I certainly had no idea. During this time many women can experience a roller coaster of a ride without any of it being acknowledged as perimenopause by most GP’s. Hint: It’s your symptoms that are an indicator of perimenopause, not necessarily your age or blood test results. Even though it’s rare, menopause can happen at any age (even as young as 15), so never rule it out.
So, let me introduce myself, I’m Sally Garozzo and I’m a Clinical Hypnotherapist, a Menopause Mindset Coach and a Singing Teacher (quite a combo!) During the time I was unknowingly descending into the throws of perimenopause despair, I was also training to become a hypnotherapist. So, you could say I had an avid interest in the mind and how it affects our experience of the world.
Two years later, after my perimenopause diagnosis, I decided to add to my knowledge base and train in peri to post-menopausal wellbeing. I learnt a lot about hormones, the power of nutrition, exercise, sleep and rest. Then something dawned on me. I took a peek at the type of clients I was getting consistently for hypnotherapy and realised that most of them were women going through their own midlife transition, knowingly or unknowingly experiencing a plethora of peri menopausal symptoms.
Over the course of a year I became extremely interested in how the menopause affects our minds but more than that, I became interested in how our attitude, perspective, decisions, habits and mindset affects our menopause symptoms severity.
How your Mind Affects Your Menopause
Let me set the scene. Oestrogen has over 400 functions in the body. It affects everything, so why wouldn’t it affect our brain and our moods too? When our sex hormones decline our stress hormones elevate and the reverse is true too, when our stress hormones elevate our sex hormones decline. Stress puts us into a state of high alert where our survival is being prioritised not our fertility (life doesn’t need you to make babies if you’re being chased by a lion!). When we have high stress (whether it’s the cause of declining ooestrogen or the effect of declining ooestrogen) anything past or recent that makes our stress worse may exacerbate menopause symptom severity.
And here’s the interesting bit. The Mayo Clinic did a study a while back and discovered a correlation between adverse childhood experiences, recent trauma and severe menopause symptoms. As someone who digs around in people’s heads under hypnosis deciphering their childhood imprints (and helping them to reframe them) and as someone who realised that most of my clients were menopausal….
The penny dropped big time. Clearing your childhood programming with the help of Rapid Transformational Therapy (a special form of hypnotherapy I do) was helping to ease my client’s menopause symptoms, or so it seemed. It could be that clearing the childhood imprints was easing long term stress and as we know anything that helps stress is likely to ease menopause symptoms.
Many of my clients were reporting a reduction in their anxiety, insomnia, and sugar cravings. They reported an improvement in their self-esteem and confidence (another thing that menopause seems to affect). Some of them began to lose weight, exercise more and prioritise their self-care. They set boundaries for themselves. Their stress levels reduced, their brain fog cleared and some even got their libido back. I’ve even helped some clients with their hot flushes with my unique hypnosis recording Cool Your Hot Flush.
I’m not saying that hypnotherapy (RTT) alone can cure your menopause symptoms, but used in conjunction with good nutrition, exercise, sleep and rest, it can go a heck of a long way to reducing stress – which in turn helps to reduce menopause symptom’s severity. What RTT does, is put you back in the driver’s seat of your life and many women at menopause just feel so out of control.
Learning How to Sleep Again
One of the most debilitating symptoms of menopause I experienced was insomnia, and an obsession with sleep. For years I struggled with palpitations, excessive thinking, rumination and elevated cortisol, which stopped me drifting off effortlessly. It also made me wake up in the middle of the night (at the top end of a sleep cycle) and not be able to get back off. I spent months and months figuring it all out and realised I needed to adopt a positive mental attitude about sleep, let go of control and let sleep come to me naturally, without trying to force it.
It was the big trust piece. It was more about unlearning than learning.
Out of my passion and knowledge for sleep I created a two-month online program which starts in February 2021 next year called How to Make Sleep Your Superpower. Brilliant for all kinds of sleep sufferers, even if it’s a hormone-related issue.
If any of this has resonated with you and you’re interested in finding out more I have a podcast called The Menopause Mindset (where I interview guests about menopause) and a YouTube Channel (bit.ly/youtubesally) where I provide trainings on all things menopause and mindset related.
If you’re interested in finding out more about How to Make Sleep Your Superpower, The Menopause Mindset Hypnosis Collection or private Rapid Transformational Therapy please visit: www.sallygarozzo.com
Lauren is a member of The Midlife Hub, a range of trusted services and events to help you live your best (mid)life. Find out more at: www.themidlifehub.com