Blue Monday (s) - dealing with low mood and depression in menopause.

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A marketing concept, the third Monday in January, so-called ‘Blue Monday’, is deemed to be the most depressing day of the year. Low morale and lack of motivation make this the day that people are most likely to take one look at Monday, pull the duvet up to their chins and call in sick. Weather, short days, the full realisation that the hotly-anticipated long Christmas holiday is most definitely behind us & mounting bills may be to blame. There’s even a formula:

[W + (D-d)] x T^Q} ÷ [M x N_a],

 ‘W’ = weather, ‘D’ = your debt, ‘d’ = your monthly salary, ‘M’ = motivational levels and ‘Na’ = the feeling of a need to take action.

Link between hormones, depression and menopause:

Formula's aside, this pseudo-science concept makes us think about the serious issue facing many women in their late 30s and beyond. Low mood and depressive symptoms are often the first symptoms of perimenopause and can mean ‘Blue’ Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays …and so the week continues. As perimenopause kicks in, fluctuating hormones cause other symptoms such as hot flushes, sleep problems and memory lapses. On top of this, serotonin (the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of happiness, relaxation, and self-confidence) levels drop, potentially contributing to feelings of loneliness and depression. Any surprise that women feel blue?

Our personality can change as negative feelings engulf us, not feeling like ourselves but not quite able to pinpoint what feels different. Emotions may not be far from the surface and we can feel disconnected, tearful and/or irrational. It really is a mocktail of hormonal confusion.

Hormonal depression can go unrecognized. Many women don’t realise they are perimenopausal, so don’t make the hormone connection, nor do their GP. Women struggling with low moods, tiredness and focus, may therefore be prescribed anti-depressants as the possibility of perimenopause is not discussed. Guidelines on menopause from The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) say, ‘It has not been shown that antidepressant drugs called SSRIs and SNRIs can help with low mood during menopause if you haven't been diagnosed with depression.’ 

Women need to be alert to the possibility their hormones are playing up, disconcerting as this can be, especially for those in late 30s or early 40s. Please do visit our symptoms page for some friendly advice and tips on how to manage mood-swings and depression in menopause.