This week is my third and final installation (for a while) about menopause and depression. If you missed the first one click here. It’s almost Christmas and I think time to move on to a little holiday cheer. But, boy is this post relevant to me this week. I struggled as I learned that I’ve moved from an insulin resistant diagnosis to pre-diabetes. Talk about a downer.
I’ll write more about the diagnosis next week and what it means for me and millions of other women. But, today I’m going to share some tips about how to diagnosis depression and share a great list written by a nationally known menopause-focused physician that outlines specific things menopausal women can do to treat symptoms.
First (just as a reminder), if your menopause seems to be affecting your mental health, talk openly about it with your doctor. But, here are a few things to consider before you have that conversation:
- Were you depressed before menopause? Could this be part of an ongoing problem that just got worse?
- Are too many wrinkles and too little energy making you feel old and negative about yourself and lowering your self-esteem?
- Is your life under increased stress?
- Are you suffering from severe menopausal symptoms that are bringing you down?
- Are you socially isolated — no relationship, friends or family for support?
- Are you having financial problems that limit your happiness?
- Are you sad because you don’t have kids or can’t have any more kids?
Macha Seibel, MD, founder of My Menopause magazine and DoctorSeibel.com recently shared some helpful ways to help you feel better:
- Talk about menopause with your doctor. Consider estrogen and find out if it is a good choice for you or if not, what the alternatives are.
- Consider talk therapy with a mental health professional or someone trained to deal with mental health issues and menopause. I treat many women who are in or near menopause and need guidance through this window of transition. Talking with friends or others who have similar problems can also help.
- Discuss prescription medication options with your doctor to find out if this treatment would be helpful for you.
- Get enough sleep. As Shakespeare said, “sleep knits the raveled sleeve of care.” Click here for a free sleep diary to see if you are getting enough sleep.
- Get physical — start to exercise (walk, garden or go dancing) for at least 30 minutes at least four days a week.
- Look for ways to de-stress — listen to relaxing music, read a book or try relaxation techniques. Click here for a free relaxing songDr. Seibel wrote called “Summer Day.” Breathe in and out slowly while listening to the song.
- Use positive affirmations such as “I attract only healthy relationships,” “I am capable and deserve success,” or “I believe in myself and others believe in me too.” Positive self-talk works.
My favorite suggestion is the song he wrote – Summer Day. Make sure you check it out. The sleep diary is kind of cool, too. Bottom-line – don’t take your mental health for granted during menopause (or any other time of your life). This is the time to be even more in tune with your body. Most of us have a lot of physical changes going on, but be sure not to ignore your mental changes. You’re not alone and there are sometimes some simple changes you can make to feel good as you age. Menopause can equal happiness? You betcha!