It can be hard to tell the difference between clinical depression and the depression-like symptoms that accompany perimenopause or menopause. If you’ve never experienced depression before, and these negative feelings suddenly begin in your 40s, they’re more likely to be related to the menopause.
While the symptoms of clinical depression can overlap with menopausal symptoms, clinical depression tends to be more intense. You may feel so overwhelmed with feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness that you’re unable to live your life normally. Some women may even feel suicidal.
If you’re struggling with feelings of depression and aren’t sure whether it’s due to the menopause, then it’s important to speak to a health professional as soon as you can. You might want to think about booking a menopause consultation with a specialist – or alternatively, you may want to speak to your GP.
However, there are plenty of lifestyle changes you can make to help improve your quality of life and alleviate feelings of depression. Exercise, diet, and nutrition are really important, and reducing or cutting out alcohol can also help with certain symptoms.
Practising self-calming skills like yoga, meditation, and mindfulness can also be really beneficial – and it’s important to keep socialising with friends and family, and to feel connected to other people. To find out more about the best ways to cope with the menopause, you might want to read our article on managing your menopause journey.
Above all, it’s crucial to be kind to yourself. Menopause can sometimes trigger concerns about getting older, so if you feel worried or sad about that, try to frame your thoughts more positively. Remember that menopause is just a natural part of life – and although it’s normal to feel sad about losing your childbearing years, try to also feel excited about the freedom that lies ahead.