Depression and the Menopausal Woman

Depression and the Menopausal WomanAre 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.

Depression and the Menopausal Woman

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 PerimenopauseHowever, 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.

 

Happy International Women's Day

Happy Internatinal Women’s Day! Remember, you’ve had the Power all along! Use it!


18 thoughts on “Depression and the Menopausal Woman

  1. The opposite of depression is, I believe, anxiety, and this has been my gift in menopause, both peri and post, that just keeps giving. A technique a life counselor taught me, that might possibly work for bouts of menopause-related depression, is to take a few slow meditation breaths in response. This technique has worked wonders, and I am curious to what its effects on combating depression might be. In that it forces the mind back to the present moment, vs fear of the future(anxiety), or sadness over the past (depression) it would seem likely to be of benefit for both. Am curious if you’ve dabbled in it as a result?

    Regardless, this menopause thing is definitely not for sissies!

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    1. Hi Tamara,

      Oh no! Not anxiety! I hear many do have bouts with that. Slow meditation breaths is definitely a great way to deal with anxiety and depression. I’ve used actual meditation in my own bouts and it can work. During my battle with depression, I was also taking antidepressants and knew I didn’t want to be on it long-term. So, conditioning myself through meditation, and few lifestyle changes, helped get me off antidepressants and finding my happy self again.

      You said a lot there about menopause not being for sissies. Between the emotional and physical changes, it can definitely wear on us.

      I appreciate your comment and hope that you find ways to manage the anxiety. xox

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  2. This is very informative. Thank you. I have been depressed the past two weeks, and wondered if it was a menopause thing, but after reading this I’m thinking its more of a seasonal depression. The weather is just cold, snowy and miserable and is really affecting my mood. I’m longing for spring!

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    1. Hey Amy,

      Oh yes, let us not forget about S.A.D. and now even the time changes (Daylight Savings Time) can affect our well-being. I’m on the east coast and we’ve had a long winter with cold and snow. I’m generally a snow bunny, but this winter is even wearing on me. I hope you can find happiness again. Maybe take a bit of time out just for you is what you need?

      Good luck!

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  3. When I started through menopause I thought I was losing my mind. The moods changes were terrible as were the night sweats. At the same time, my thyroid was out of whack. It is a rocky road but it does pass.

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    1. Hi Victoria,

      I’ve heard thyroid issues and menopause can go hand-in-hand. At times, it can feel as though we are losing our minds. Thankfully, there are many resources out there available for us, as well as physicians, to help us through this period.Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

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  4. I suffered from depression after the birth of my kids. Menopause/perimenopause wasn’t a time of depressions, but it was a time of poor health for me, which caused me frustration. I was too busy to take care of myself. I literally went to work sick, gained weight, tore ligaments and worked through it all! Now I am taking better care of myself and it is reflected in my mood and my health.

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    1. I’m so sorry to hear, Michele. I’ve heard of post-partum depression, but have not experienced myself. How were you able to overcome it? It’s so very easy for us to tend to other’s needs and allow our own health to suffer. You’re not alone at all. But, I’m happy that you found time for yourself and am creating your own good health and happiness. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. I’ve just started experiencing more menopausal symptoms because I came off HRT. Night sweats, mood swings, weight gain, joint pain. Trying to deal with it via yoga, journaling, and adding various supplements. Studying up on supplements now to decide which might be most effective. I need to stay away from anything that impacts estrogen… I came off HRT because of estrogen-dependent cancer. Some folks have said my body will adjust, but right now, its not all of fun. P.S. Came over from #MSTL link!

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    1. Hi Pat! First off, thank you for hopping over! It’s great to have you!

      Did the HRT help you through the bad time? I’ve heard of many that use it and others that are almost afraid to. Supplements/Vitamins can be our best friends to help us through menopause. I am now back on birth control, since my divorce, so my menopause symptoms are non-existent. However, prior to, I can totally relate to the joint pain, weight gain, sweats, and mood swings. Definitely not the best part of my life. But, I guess it’s one of those things we, women, go through and will eventually conquer.

      I appreciate you sharing with you! Please do stop back again!

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  6. Such an important topic Bren and I thank you for sharing it with us at #MLSTL. I didn’t realise there were 3 forms of depression. I’m happy when I read posts on this topic because for so long depression has been a ‘taboo’ subject for discussion and there has been a stigma attached to it. Thanks again for sharing and have a beautiful day.

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    1. Hi Sue! Oh, thank you for allowing me to share it! Personally, I think we should talk more about these types of “illnesses”. If we did, more people would understand what the person is going through. I was embarrassed to tell people I was going through a depression but through blogging it out and meditation I learned it was alright. I didn’t need to feel “crazy” or embarrassed. I appreciate your kind words again and thank you for hosting the link it. It’s fabulous!

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  7. I’m hoping this doesn’t happen to me. My husband, daughter, and many other members of his side of the family have suffered with clinical depression. It is a miserable and soul destroying time for the person with depression and for all those who love them and deal with their issues on a daily basis. Medication has been the solution but the depressed person always hates the side effects and having to be be medicated in the first place (they often don’t realize how low they’ve fallen in their moods etc) So, after decades of dealing with other people and depression I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I won’t get it at Midlife!
    Thanks for linking up with us at #MLSTL and I’ve shared this on my SM xx

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    1. Hey Leanne.

      Oh my, so sorry to hear about your families battles. You know all too well what a life changer depression can be. I don’t think all women hit a depression in menopause. I mean, we may get a bit blue or sad because our bodies are quite what they used to be but some women take it to the extreme and just can’t deal with the changes and emotions. I like to think some of it is mindset as well. If we keep our well-being happy, how can we possibly be depressed? At least, this is what I’m going to do. 🙂

      Thank you for hosting the MLSTL! It’s a fab way to meet new peeps with great blogs!

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  8. I’m sorry to hear about how you went in and out of depression. It must have been very hard on you to lose your mother so early in life. I’ve suffered depression too but that’s under control now after i left my marriage and underwent therapy. Both those things helped and I now just have sunday evening blues and such but not the big black clouds of despair I have felt. Thanks for an informative article. I have shared this on my social media.

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    1. Thanks, Kalpana.

      I’m sorry to hear about your divorce. I did visit your blog and read some of your content. Sometimes we have to rid ourselves of the negativity in order to keep our own mental and physical well-being. But you know this already and kudos to you for taking your life back and regaining your happiness. I get the Sunday night blues only because I have to go to work on Monday. LOL Great to have you here!

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  9. Hi Bren, this is such an important post. I still don’t always decipher between depression and mood swings. I have had external circumstances trigger mild depression (napping a lot, not much energy, body pain) but usually it passes over quickly and I bounce back like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. You make a great point here about seeking medical attention if it is persistent because it could be hormone imbalance or related to menopausal changes. It’s hard being a woman! Also, I’m so sorry for your loss of your mother at such a young age and I would imagine your father’s death many years later brought it all back again. You are one tough cookie!!

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    1. Hey Lisa!

      I think there is a fine line between defining depression and mood swings and many think they are one in the same. However, as one who suffered from depression and has mood swings, there is a definite difference. Mood swings can make me go from Saintly Little Bunny Rabbit to the Tasmanian Devil in less than 30 seconds. 🙂 Depression is something that gradually happens and can be difficult to get out of.

      I definitely agree on the woman thing. There have been many times that I wish I was a man (but only cause I wanted my own penis to play with) LOL!

      I appreciate your kind words in reference to my mother and father. It’s unfortunate that some of us are dealt a bad deal early in life. We can only hope that it makes us stronger and we grow from the experience. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone and it has made me stronger. Also makes me appreciate life more and tend to live in the moment. Say what you mean today, don’t put it off.

      Always fab to see you here, girl! Muwah! xoxo

      Like

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