There are several women at work who are currently trudging through menopause. They talk to me about the severe mood swings like it is something to be avoided at all costs. That these mood swings will frighten my boyfriend, that I will be unrecognizable to the people that know me best, that I will not like myself at times and down right hate myself at others. Well now. Kinda sounds like my everyday to me.
I haven't told anyone at work about having Bipolar Disorder because I don't want the stigma that is attached to mental illness. I did tell my bosses at one point, but they no longer work with me. So instead I listen and nod and smile when the ladies talk about getting angry over nothing and crying for no reason. While my head is bobbing I think about how I my moods shift quickly and without reason. I think about how I sometimes don't like myself, and really hate myself other times. But I also think about how I bounce out of a bad mood reasonably quickly, also sometimes with no reason. And I ponder the fact that no matter how bad things seem I know they will get better.
Then I wonder - will menopause make the Bipolar in me more unstable? Or will the fluctuating hormones even out the imbalance in my brain? Will medication help the menopause but make the Bipolar worse? Will I need to take medication for the Bipolar and stabilize before trying hormone replacement therapy for the menopause? How in Hell's Bells will I be able to tell the difference between Bipolar and menopause? I'm 40 now and that change of life is right around the corner. While menopause is defined as going one complete year without my period, perimenopause can begin up to 13 years before menopause officially begins and the symptoms are the same. So that could be any time now.
I went to a Bipolar information group for a few months and this topic never did come up. They touched on many other relevant subjects, but I never even thought to raise the question of a woman's natural cycle and Bipolar. Hm, it sounds like I have some research to do. Later though. I'm too tired right now.