Perimenopause, Panic Attacks, and Insomnia
Last updated: August 2022
Stop this ride. I definitely want off right now. These 3 things together are ridiculous. If you have not experienced a combination of these 3 things, be thankful. Imagine waking up every few hours in a sweat with heart palpitations or a racing heart and thinking you are dying. Experiencing perimenopause, panic attacks, and insomnia: Delicious.
Waking in a panic
I have a hard time falling asleep and a hard time staying asleep. I have had these issues pretty much my entire life. Now I deal with waking up even more frequently. Perimenopause causes a number of issues that make it even harder to get enough sleep.
Waking up throughout the night is not new to me. Waking up in a panic has happened several times in my life. Finding myself awake feeling like I am on fire and with a heartbeat in excess of 100 in the midst of a full-blown panic attack on a regular basis is new. Perimenopause is fun.
Fearing the worst keeps me awake
Some of the lovely symptoms of perimenopause include insomnia, hot flashes, night sweats, racing heart, heart palpitations, and depression. Life is just full of fun stages, right? Waking up in a sweat and feeling like your heart is beating out of your chest is scary, especially at my age. My tired brain’s first thought is, “Am I having a heart attack?”
That thought is always followed by a bit of panic. It often escalates into a panic attack. If you have ever had a panic attack, then you know it can make you feel like you are going to die. It’s terrifying. Add the symptoms of perimenopause to the fatigue of insomnia, and I would be surprised if it did not cause panic attacks.
A racing heart sends me into a panic
Tachycardia is a fancy medical term for a racing heartbeat. I have more and more bouts of tachycardia. The palpitations caused by perimenopause can be scary, and if I notice a difference in my heartbeat I become concerned. That causes my heart to beat even faster. The faster it gets, the more panicked I become. That only makes it beat even faster.
Now, on the days when I am not totally exhausted, I can rationalize and talk myself out of a panic attack before it gets really bad. If insomnia keeps me awake too long, all bets are off and panic attacks have to run their course. My mind is too tired to listen to reason, so there is nothing I can do but ride out the attack.
Panic over panic attacks creates more panic
I spend a lot of time lying awake in bed wondering if I should be concerned and seek medical attention or if my symptoms are normal. The symptoms I have are absolutely normal, but my tired mind always wonders if the current issue is a real issue.
A female family member died of a massive heart attack at a fairly young age with no warning. Knowing that women often don’t have classic symptoms and can ignore warning signs, I worry more than I should about what is cause for alarm and what is not. Throw in more panic attacks and insomnia due to those concerns.
Surviving perimenopause and sleepless nights
Perhaps you are dealing with some of these issues. Perhaps hormone replacement therapy would be helpful for you. It is not the answer for me due to my higher risk of breast cancer. Hopefully, we will all survive this stage of life without having endless major meltdowns.
Are you experiencing perimenopause, panic attacks, and insomnia too? Please share a comment below.
Do you experience painsomnia?