Perimenopause and depression

Years ago I had a dear friend who ‘suffered from depression’.  I thought she was just feeling a bit down and tried to cajole her with ‘pull yourself together’, ‘have another drink you’ll be fine’, and the best was ‘stop wallowing’.  I had no idea what depression was – in fact I blamed its existence on the great US drug companies creating paranoid patients and encouraging them to run to their doctors to request expensive medication.

But then it happened to me – I realized I was suffering from mild depression.

Almost exactly a year ago I came back from vacation and cried for about 2 weeks.  I thought I was homesick.  Being back in Europe had rekindled my desire to go home and I felt torn, confused and frustrated that our wonderful life here, with so many roots and ties, meant that we would never be able to move back to the UK.  But at the same time I really didn’t actually want to move back.  But I felt lonely, sad and mad.  I thought it would pass and put it down to post vacation blues.

Then I started having hormonal changes – night sweats, insomnia and irregular bleeding.  I decided to go to the Doctors.  I felt like I was falling apart.  I was also dealing with another patch of alopecia and I was miserable.  I sat in the Drs office and burst into sobs – it was great to be able to tell someone how I was feeling.

It turns out I am perimenopausal.  Basically my body is preparing for menopause.  Only problem is the perimenopause can last years.  My wonderful Doctor also diagnosed me as mildly depressed as a result of my messed up endocrinology.  However, now I know the symptoms of depression, I’m pretty sure I have suffered from it on and off all my life – especially after the birth of Poppy.  Alone, away from home, and with a new baby I convinced myself I was fine – how could happy go-lucky, extroverted, chatty Joanna ever be depressed?

My point is if you feel sad and lonely talk to someone about it.  Many of us have experienced it.  In fact since the sad death of Robin Williams my Facebook wall has been full of fellow sufferers revealing themselves.  These days I am happier than ever and feel relieved that my endocrine and neurochemical imbalances can be rectified by 2 pills a day.  Drugs are there for a reason – many of us need them!



Don’t worry I’ll be back with frivolous clothes tomorrow:)



13 thoughts on “Perimenopause and depression

  1. brigette dusack

    I have only had one very dark day in my life. It was 7 years ago and the strangest thing but it was the one time I could relate and it was the day my Perimenopause kicked in. I don’t take anything for it. I have neck issues and adult acne that turn my attention elsewhere but that one day I could truly identify or at least I could with the darkness and man oh man I will never again take depression for granted. Thanks for sharing your story! xo Brigette

  2. Fiona Blake

    I don’t know a single person that hasn’t felt at some point in their life ‘down’ or ‘depressed’.
    Here’s hoping that the more we all talk about it the more of us who need to get help will feel comfortable in reaching out for some

  3. deadlysims

    I was diagnosed with depression in 2010, and spent a year doing day sessions at the Priory. At the end of 2011, I felt well enough to come off of medication, but last year I found myself on another downward spiral, so I’m back on them. I have good and bad days still, and suspect I will be on medication for life. Nobody can fully understand depression unless they have been there – there is a huge difference between feeling a bit sad, and feeling depressed. I still have days when I question whether life is really worth the hassle. I am very open about my condition, but so many people still attach so such stigma to mental illness. If anything good can come from the death of Robin Williams, I hope it’s that people can learn that depression is far deeper than “pulling yourself together”.

  4. sara veroni

    Thanks for the inspirational post. I’ve been feeling like my hormones are not the same since I had a baby, too. Hence I’m not the same. I need to do more research into that. It’s a complicated process, isn’t it? And the frivolous posts really help to keep things light and focus on what is pleasant in life. They are really so much more than frivolous. Glad to hear you were able to find the right solution for your problem!

  5. Sue

    Hi Joanna, thank you for writing this excellent post. I am hopefully emerging from a 2 year period of crippling depression it’s a subject that should be talked about more. Strangely one of the things that have helped me over the last year has been blogging, it gave me a focus, and I am forever grateful to my dear friend who encouraged me to start
    Sue x

  6. tmorris

    This is so timely – just this week I have discovered that the way I have been feeling over the past few months is because I am perimenopausal (I had had no idea) – hormonal rages, muddle headedness, sobbing in the street when I couldn’t park my car very well, inability to concentrate and focus at work (or at home) and fatigue. So I am off to see my doctor – and thanks for sharing!

  7. Sarah @ Fortytherapy

    I’m so glad you wrote this post. Last year at the age of 38 I had it confirmed that I was perimenopausal. It didn’t come as a huge shock as it runs in my mum’s side of the family but I’ve had the grimmest 18 months! The sudden hot flushes, some months have them, some not, excruciating periods, sometimes twice in a month, sometimes not for months on end. The mood swings I’ve found really difficult to cope with however & have swung between absolutely raging over nothing & hysterically sobbing – again over nothing!

    Having had great skin all of my life, I’m now getting adult hormonal acne, which I’m REALLY struggling to cope with. My hair is thinning, my waistline is spreading & spiky hairs are sprouting on my chin – I know, I’m painting such a great picture, lol!! But I really am thankful that I haven’t been in that much of a dark place that I feel that suicide is the only way out – I really cannot begin to comprehend the blackness that some people live with day in, day out 😦

  8. LL

    Thank you for sharing your story. At some point there will not be shame or embarrassment attached to depression. You are not alone.


    Just by talking about this, will make many many people realise that depression is so common within our daily lives….Too many people suffer in silence, and the more people talk, and discuss it, will help everyone to understand it! xx

  10. Jody Brettkelly

    Great post and I love your honesty. I don’t think there is a person in the world who hasn’t felt depressed at some stage of their life and for some of my friends they face the “black dog” habitually and it really is something that haunts them.

  11. Pingback: What girl doesn't need new shoes? | Poppy's Style

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