"Wading through the fog" - Menopause and psychological distress

Recently, the menopause has been prevalent in the media, following the success of the Davina McCall documentaries and online groups created for women to share and support each other. The lack of available and confusing information in the public domain is shocking. Women are now demanding more, and available help on the NHS for psychological distress is limited, with many women unable to make choices about their personal choice of therapy. 


Menopause and mental health 

Over 13 million women are experiencing the menopause transition in the UK today (DHS 2022).  Many report physical and psychological symptoms, and women have reported not feeling heard or supported by the medical profession. Many have referred to this as "wading through the fog" - physically and metaphorically. 

Advice about managing the menopause is still poor, getting a diagnosis, and finding accurate information about treatment options can be difficult.  Women feel confused about what is right for them. Anxiety, depression, and fear of change can be some of the psychological issues that women struggle with during this time.  Many women have reported feeling unable to talk to anyone; family and friends don't always understand and, to some degree, the subject is still seen as 'taboo' and not a topic for discussion. 

How can counselling help? 

The menopause can be a time of psychological distress and counselling can help women explore their emotions and feelings at this time of change.  The menopause can, for some women, last 10-12 years. As well as this passing of time and hormone changes, women can experience lifestyle changes, such as children leaving home, elderly parents needing support and many women are balancing their menopause alongside work and family life which can be challenging. This can leave some women feeling confused, distressed and having lost some of their confidence or identity. 

Finding the right medical help is important, but what happens when women feel that these changes are impacting their lives in many other ways? Their self-esteem can suffer, leading to feelings of low mood and anxiety.  Women report feeling depressed, overwhelmed and worthless. 

Feeling heard, validated and understood can make a difference. 

Talking to a trained counsellor can help make sense of this,  providing you with a safe space to explore your emotions and anxieties as you move into this life transition.  Feeling heard, validated and understood can make a difference.  Sometimes the emotional aspects of the menopause go unseen but can be extremely damaging, eroding away confidence, and happiness and putting a strain on yourself and relationships. 

GP's are usually the first point of call for women who think they are going into the menopause and it helps to be forearmed with the facts and an idea of what you need from them. Talking therapy is rarely offered. Therapy can be a real opportunity to talk about how you are feeling during this time of change - a time to feel listened to. An independent person will put you at the heart of the relationship and be there for you.     

I offer person-centred integrative therapy which can support women during this time of life, adapting the therapy to suit the individual's needs. I work together with you to help you find yourself again and look to the future with positivity.

I can offer therapy face to face or online as required. For more information about me or to book, visit my profile below. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS29 9PA
Written by Julie Cameron, Psychotherapist. MA Counselling MBACP Registered: 389542
Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS29 9PA

Julie Cameron is a counsellor and psychotherapist with a special interest in women experiencing psychological distress during the menopause. With a private practice in Leeds, West Yorkshire.

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