If you're someone who has suffered during menopause, both from emotional and/or physical symptoms, there's nothing more frustrating than reading about women who feel "liberated" after menopause, who're enjoying life and sex more than ever, while you are left wondering who you really are. Menopause is an individual experience for every woman, and your response to menopause is just as valid as that of anyone else.
You Are Not Alone
Many women experience periods of stress and depression at this stage of life. Some women are content to deal with it in their own way, while others feel they need professional help. The important thing is that you do talk to someone, whether a spouse, a friend or a counselor, about how you're feeling. And if you're not coping - if you feel you're on the brink of real despair - reach out for help.
If You Have The Blues
If you're feeling pretty glum but don't think you need to turn to a professional for guidance, there are a number of ways to cope with menopausal depression. For example:
Maintain your social life with friends and family - sticking to old routines (provided that you always enjoyed them) will help provide a sense of continuity, as opposed to rupture, in your life.
Talk to other women who have been through the same thing - the support of "sisters" united by the menopause experience can be invaluable.
Explain your feelings to your spouse - if he doesn't have the information, how can he support you? Tell him why you don't feel like making love, or why the things he normally jokes about are suddenly setting you off in floods of tears.
Define your life goals - making a positive list of the things you want to do and achieve in the future will help you focus on what you're moving on to as opposed to what has been left behind. Visualize yourself achieving these goals, and the positive emotions that that will give you. As a cautionary note - try to do this particular exercise at a time when you are not feeling so down. This is supposed to help you focus on good things to come - not the things that you wanted to do in the past but haven't managed yet.
Get enough rest - sleeping is notoriously difficult during menopause. That's why it's a good idea to get into and stick to a regular routine. You need to go to bed, as far possible, at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning (but that's not to say that exceptions can't be made for social occasions and things that you enjoy doing). Exercise early in the day can give you a sense of physical as opposed to mental tiredness when the time comes to go to bed - this is conducive to a satisfying sleep.
For you, things may be more serious than a case of the "blues." If you feel tearful all the time, if you have no desire to interact with other people, if you feel like you have no reason to get out of bed in the morning, then you may be suffering from a more serious depression. For this, you must get professional, medical help - especially if you are having thoughts about hurting yourself in any way. You doctor will be able to get you counseling and may prescribe anti-depressant medication. Anti-depressants not only make you feel better, but they can help to alleviate hot flashes too.
Whatever your situation, do not suffer in silence.