Sometimes we fail to understand why we behave the way we do. It may not be related in anyway to who we are, yet we find ourselves reacting in uncomfortable ways. Many a time, it could be the circumstances.
We can either change it or accept them and move on, but very often there are changes within us that we have no control over. A lot of times, it helps to know why we could be feeling the way we do, so that we can deal with it or even help others to deal with it, so that they can move on.
Listed below are some emotional phases that women go through and they could affect some of us in a negative way.
In healing and love,
EMPTY NEST SYNDROME
Empty nest syndrome is a feeling of loneliness or sadness that occurs among parents after children leave home. If you’re having a difficult time dealing with an empty nest:
- Seek support.
- Lean on loved ones and other close contacts for support.
- Share your feelings. If you feel depressed, consult your doctor or a mental health provider.
- Stay positive.
- Thinking about the extra time and energy you might have to devote to your marriage or personal interests may help you adapt to this major life change.
- Tell them you will miss, but don’t pass on anxieties to your child. He’s probably feeling just as anxious and uncertain about his new life on his own as you are. Reassure him of your love and support.
- Mentally prepare yourself for your child leaving home as an important part of his or her positive development, so that you and they are in a better space to deal with it.
- Respect your child’s new independence. Be proud of his achievements and maturity.
- Discuss your feelings with people close to you so that they are around to support you.
- Focus on the future, not the past. Anticipate even happier times to come, such as the joyous times ahead.
- Use your time constructively. Get involved in hobbies, activities, and recreational pursuits.
- Try a new sport and take lessons. Try to exercise regularly and keep fit.
- Think about pursuing educational goals-this may be a great time to get your undergraduate or Master’s degree.
- Connect with friends.
- Stay active. Try to use your time productively and creatively.
PREMENSTRUAL SYNDROME (PMS)
PMS is a group of changes that can affect you on many levels. They can be physical, emotional, or behavioural. The changes come 1 to 2 weeks before your period. Once your period starts, they go away. It’s estimated that as many as 3 of every 4 menstruating women have experienced some form of premenstrual syndrome. Symptoms tend to recur in a predictable pattern. But the physical and emotional changes you experience with premenstrual syndrome may vary from just slightly noticeable all the way to intense. Still, you don’t have to let these problems control your life. Treatments and lifestyle adjustments can help you reduce or manage the signs and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
The list of potential signs and symptoms for premenstrual syndrome is long, but most women only experience a few of these problems.
Emotional and behavioural symptoms
- Tension or anxiety
- Depressed mood
- Crying spells
- Mood swings and irritability or anger
- Appetite changes and food cravings
- Trouble falling asleep (insomnia)
- Social withdrawal
- Poor concentration
- Anger outbursts
Physical signs and symptoms
- Joint or muscle pain
- Weight gain related to fluid retention
- Abdominal bloating
- Breast tenderness
- Acne flare-ups
- Constipation or diarrhoea
Girls and women who still get their period can get PMS. But it’s most common in women who are in their late 20s to early 40s. Even though the exact cause of PMS is not known, It probably has to do with changes in your body chemistry around the time of your period.
Some conditions affect PMS, but don’t cause it. PMS can be brought on, or can get worse if you:
- Are under lots of stress
- Don’t exercise
- Don’t sleep enough
- Drink too much alcohol or eat too much salt, red meat, or sugar
- Are depressed
- Women with other health problems may find that those problems get worse before their period. Some of those are migraine headaches , asthma , and allergies
What You Can Do
There are lots of ways to manage PMS. The following tips might help:
- Exercise about 30 minutes a day
- Eat healthy foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables
- Try to get enough calcium from foods (think dairy, green leafy vegetables)
- Avoid salt, caffeine, and alcohol
- Don’t smoke
- Get plenty of sleep
- Work to lower stress
PREMENSTRUAL DYSPHORIC DISORDER (PMDD)
For some, the physical pain and emotional stress are severe enough to affect their daily lives. Regardless of symptom severity, the signs and symptoms generally disappear within four days of the start of the menstrual period for most women. But a small number of women with premenstrual syndrome have disabling symptoms every month. This form of PMS is called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). PMDD signs and symptoms include depression, mood swings, anger, and anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, difficulty concentrating, irritability and tension.
When to see a doctor
Most women have at least one sign of PMS each month. But it’s not the same for everyone. It can change as you get older. It can be hard to know if you just have a few symptoms before your period, or if it’s really PMS. One way to think about it is to ask the question: “Do these changes get in the way of my regular life? Do they cause trouble at work or with family and friends?” If you answer yes, it might be PMS. Another way to know is if you have symptoms on the 5 days before your period, for 3 months in a row. Women with PMS deal with it in lots of ways. You can make changes to improve your diet, sleep , and exercise . You can also learn ways to relax their mind and body. If what you try doesn’t seem to work, you could talk to your doctor. Some women take vitamins and minerals like folic acid, magnesium , vitamin B-6, vitamin E , and calcium with vitamin D . Others find that herbal remedies help. If you take any vitamins or supplements, check with your doctor first to make sure it’s safe for you.
POST PARTUM DEPRESSION
2-3 weeks till mother adjusts- baby blues. If longer, post partum depression. 1 in 7 women
experience it. It is a mood disorder, also called baby blues.1 in 7 women experience it.
Includes feeling stressed, sad, anxious, lonely, tired or weepy following child birth. These
feelings go away after sometime, but if persists for a longer duration, it can be PPD.
It makes it difficult for the mothers to take care of their baby and themselves. It can affect any woman with easy pregnancies or problem pregnancies, first-time mothers and mothers with one or more children, women who are married and women who are not.
- Change in hormone levels after childbirth
- Previous episode of depression or anxiety or family history of mental illness
- Stress involved in caring for a new born and managing new life changes
- Lack of sleep
- Other emotional stressors, such as the death of a loved one or family problems, financial or employment problems
- Isolation and lack of social support
- Disturbance in eating and sleep patterns
- Panic attacks
- Racing, scary thoughts
- Feeling guilty or worthless
- Excessive irritability
- Sadness, crying uncontrollably
- Fear of not being a good mother or being left alone with the baby
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions
- Thoughts of hurting yourself or the baby
- If these warning signs or symptoms last longer than 2 weeks, you must get help
- Whether your symptoms are mild or severe, recovery is possible with proper treatment
- However, it needs to be diagnosed by a professional because its symptoms are broad and vary from person to person
What can I do?
- Seek professional help
- Acknowledge your feelings, talk with your partner, other mothers, friends, and family
- Find someone who can help you take care of the baby
- Get good sleep and have balanced diet
- If the doctor permits take walks, get exercise
- If you are having thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby, take action now
- Put the baby in a safe place, like a crib. Call a friend or family member for help if you need to
- Seek professional help
How does Postpartum Psychosis differ from Postnatal Depression or Baby Blues?
Many mothers have mild mood changes and many different emotions after having a baby.
Baby blues affects more than half of new mothers.4 It usually starts 3 to 4 days after birth. Your mood swings up and down, you burst into tears easily. You can feel irritable, low and anxious at times. You may also over-react to things. It usually stops by the time your baby is about 10 days old. You don’t need any treatment for baby blues.
There are several different mental health problems that can happen after birth which do need treatment. These include:
Postnatal depression affects 10 to 15 in every 100 women after childbirth.5 The symptoms are similar to those in depression at other times – low mood, poor sleep, lack of energy, lack of appetite and negative thoughts, and they go on for more than 2 weeks. It can vary from mild to very severe. See our page on postnatal depression.
Postpartum psychosis is a severe illness and can start in different ways. You can have symptoms of depression or mania or a mixture of these. Symptoms can change very quickly from hour to hour and from one day to the next.
These are some of the symptoms of postpartum psychosis:
- feeling ‘high’, ‘manic’ or ‘on top of the world’.
- low mood and tearfulness.
- anxiety or irritability.
- rapid changes in mood.
- severe confusion.
- being restless and agitated.
- racing thoughts.
- behaviour that is out of character.
- being more talkative, active and sociable than usual.
- being very withdrawn and not talking to people.
- finding it hard to sleep, or not wanting to sleep.
- losing your inhibitions, doing things you usually would not do.
- feeling paranoid, suspicious, fearful.
- feeling as if you’re in a dream world.
- delusions: odd thoughts or beliefs that are unlikely to be true. For example, you might believe you have won the lottery. You may think your baby is possessed by the devil, or that people are out to get you.
- hallucinations: you see, hear, feel or smell things that aren’t really there.
- Your symptoms can make it hard for you to properly look after yourself or your baby. During a postpartum psychosis you may not understand that you are ill. However, your partner, family or friends will usually know that something is wrong and that help is needed.
Please do reach out for support when you need it..
Courtsey- Royal college of psychiatrists., Dr Saju, psychiatrist.