Are there times when you feel Depressed?
But not because something traumatic has happened to you. It feels like a “funk”. The feeling of blah, despair, or hopelessness?
I used to feel depressed in the sense of “a depressed mood”. As cited by the North American Menopause Society: “This is a normal, brief period of feeling blue or sad that is commonly experienced and rarely requires treatment. The medical term is dysphoria.” Thankfully, I realized this “depressed” mood was coming from a very unhealthy lifestyle and have since changed that.
Depression and the Menopausal Woman
You wake up in the morning, generally during the work week, and just can’t get out of bed? It’s possibly perimenopausal related; or is it something more?
Yes, I used to feel that way. Sick days were my friend at my job. However, I knew it couldn’t continue on this way so I decided to do a bit of research.
Depression and Menopause
Did you know there are three types of Depression?
- A Depressed Mood – as cited above.
- Depression as a Symptom – Where something traumatic or emotional happens to you and leaves you feeling “out of sorts”. Examples: Divorce, death, Loss of Employment. This type of depression usually last short-term and can go without treatment, however, could develop into Clinical Depression.
- Clinical Depression – This type of depression is said to have resulted from a chemical imbalance in the brain and requires treatment.
As a child of 11 years old when my mother suddenly passed, I suffered from Depression as a Symptom. I wouldn’t go to school for about two (2) weeks and I isolated myself. Often crying and not wanting to do my normal, everyday things a “normal” child would do. I eventually worked my way out of it but through the years after that, I often slipped back into that Depression for brief periods.
When my father passed away, I was in my mid 30’s. The loss of my father was traumatic for me as well and I fell back into Depression as a Symptom.
When I was in my mid-40’s, these bouts with, what I called, Depressed Moods happened quite often. I believe them to be related to Perimenopause. However, I would eventually learn, once more, it was an unhealthy lifestyle.
Perimenopause and Menopausal “Type” Depression
When we talk about Depression in Perimenopausal and Menopausal women, we generally talk about the “mood swings“. These are extreme or rapid changes in our mood. We can be out having a great time, laughing with friends, and then all of a sudden, we get a feeling of gloom and doom and the tears start. The “mood swings” disrupt our normal activities but usually last briefly. However, some “mood swings” could be so strong and disruptive that it may be considered Bipolar Disorder.
So what can we do to help us with Depression or “Mood Swings”?
In Perimenopausal women, one suggestion is to start using a Low Dose Oral Contraceptive. The estrogen-progestin in the OC’s provide a constant stable hormone level which can aid in the “mood swings”.
For Perimenopausal women who can’t take OC’s and for Menopausal women, it’s said that St. John’s Wort (herbal remedy) and a few lifestyle changes may be able to help.
If the Depression is severe enough, and I hope the person would seek medical attention, antidepressants can be prescribed by a doctor to help with the chemical imbalance. Certain antidepressants have been known to help with hot flashes. Generally, counseling or psychotherapy may also be necessary along with the anti-depressant.
Do you suffer from Depression or have you?
How do you manage it and have you been able to overcome it? Let’s discuss!
For more information on Perimenopause and Menopause associated with Depression, please refer to the North American Menopause Society.