Female and 40+, is it depression or is it the menopause?
Many women are attending their doctors with depression like symptoms, being put onto antidepressants and told they are depressed. If you are 40 or over you may be menopausal, unfortunately if you are under 50 doctors may be telling you you are too young to be going through the menopause. As a result many women in their 40's are suffering the menopause on their own. As a society we still do not talk openly about the menopause, how it affects us physically, emotionally and psychologically.
It can be a very difficult time for some women, they may think they are going mad or having a break down, not enough is written about the subject, what may happen or what to expect, what is considered to be 'normal'. Physical symptoms include irregular periods, changes in your period, heavy flooding, eventually stopped periods. Hot sweats, night sweats, dry skin facial and vaginal dryness, pain during sexual activity due to dryness. You may be experiencing more facial hair growth and more body hair growth. Your skin may change and you may discover your skin darkens. You may also be experiencing some muscle wastage, weight gain and changes to body shape - these are all normal and natural physical changes to the body due to menopause.
The emotional changes can be just as overwhelming, mood swings from sadness to extreme anger in seconds, uncontrollable weeping for no apparent reason. You may have irrational or unrealistic thoughts and feelings. You may be experiencing some memory loss, tiredness and fatigue yet not able to experience a good sleep patten. At times you may feel anxiety, palpitations and stress. You may have a sense of bereavement and loss. All these are normal signs of menopause.
All these issues can affect your relationships with your family and friends, they too will be wondering what is happening to you and why your behaviour has changed. Partners some times need help too to be able to support their partner through this difficult time. Counselling and psychotherapy is a good way to support the whole family through the menopause.
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About Jane Taylor
My professional background is in community health and social care where I have looked after people of all ages, abilities and from all backgrounds. I have been qualified and in private counselling practice for almost 20 years. I specialise in relationship counselling (including same sex couples) family therapy, stress, panic attacks and depression.