The growing irritability or anger that is often feared and parodied, can actually be useful to open our eyes to what no longer serves us. Anger, mood swings and grief can be powerful allies. Feeling emotional is not surprising in a process in which we are dying to what we are classically acknowledged for - our fertility and our psychosexual energies. We have to renegotiate a new story for ourselves in a body that has changed. In terms of our sexuality for instance, we enter a space in which sex is no longer about reproduction, making someone else happy or attracting someone to us. Our body will not easily allow us to get away with anything that does not bring true joy and pleasure for its own sake. We may have to discover our bodies and preferences anew.

The psychological transformation that goes hand in hand with the physiological changes, opens up the potential to remove any illusions about ourselves and our life choices and offers the opportunity to step into a more empowered role in life. Approaches that are focussed on ‘managing’ strong feelings back into an adapted, socially accepted realm risk short-changing women and cutting them off from their strength.

The old is passing and the new has not arrived yet. Unresolved dilemmas and traumas can resurface in this phase and press for resolution. Sometimes rightful anger needs to be suppressed because a woman lives in an environment where nobody is ready to hear what frustrates her. When strong energy is turned in on itself and feelings are de-pressed, we end up feeling low and deflated.

During menopause emotions sometimes claim their space and no longer fit into the realms we designed for them. This can cause an upheaval to established relationships because we no longer ‘function’ in the role we ascribed to ourselves. This is when the journey gets choppy and we may need some help and support from people who understand some of the journey we are on. We have to learn how to acknowledge strong feelings without being reactive or overly identified with them. We can observe our mood changes, bring compassion to them and act when the time is right with independent judgement.