Kathryn was in peri-menopause and suffering migraines at frequent intervals… she also had depression but didn’t know it at the time. Here, she shares an extract from a diary kept through the darkest days. Click on each date to reveal her journey.

Swollen glands; head, neck, shoulders down to shoulder blades. Overall pain unbearable, took ibuprofen, just needed one to keep it at bay (500mg).

As Tues, but add on migraine and sickness  – one ibuprofen did the trick.

Thought it would ease off today, family dinner tonight; got progressively worse, took 3 x 600mg ibuprofen over period of the day. Was well enough in the evening to enjoy family and dinner (and champagne!) but did feel strange. Hardly surprising, really.

Started off OK but symptoms still persisted and got progressively worse. Feel weakness in muscles in upper arms as well as all the other stuff. Ibuprofen not having any effect today. Went to bed early.

Up early today (6am!) – show jumping to get to (11 year old daughter competing), and it’s Mother’s Day! After about an hour, my glands began to let me know that I was in for a painful day. Popped another 600mg ibuprofen – did the trick. A very long day and by the evening, a feeling of depression had set in and such fatigue. When will this end? When will I get back to normal?

Felt like something the cat dragged in when I woke up this morning. Husband took child to school – couldn’t face that. Tried to analyse last week. Backtracked ten days. It all started with a feeling of euphoria, which has its own problems and you ask yourself ‘why do I feel like this, this is not me?’ This was followed by feelings of anxiety. Then the glands kicked in, then the migraine, closely followed by the body deciding that ‘it’s time to menstruate’ – back ache, belly ache, muscle ache. Took me till lunchtime today to feel as if I was back on this planet.

They say that part of menopause is mourning a death – the death of the womb. This is too profound a thought for a lot of people. It certainly never crossed my mind. The symptoms I have been experiencing are so strong, it leaves no room to even consider grief. I did not even grieve the recent death of my 84-year-old father (that’s a totally random association, isn’t it?). I think if I gave in to grief, I wouldn’t stop crying for months.


Who’d have thought … there was I blaming HRT for not doing everything it predicted (resolving issues of anxiety) and it turns out I’m suffering from depression! I’ve seen a psychiatrist and now I’m seeing a therapist. Early days yet, but lots to think about. Already my back and muscle problems feel less troublesome. Depression is a nasty thing – it creeps up on you unexpectedly and all but destroys your life, and those around you.

My psychiatrist said there is more than one way to commit suicide. Blimey! What he meant was destruction of the family as a result of depression. You lose your self-esteem, your confidence, you’re in a box and you can’t find your way out. What I have learned, though, is that sometimes the catalyst to change is an inner crisis. Inevitably, each of us will reach a moment when the place we are most comfortable in becomes so uncomfortable that we feel we are suffocating. The opportunity to ‘know’ ourselves often scares us but by failing to find this knowledge, we fail to heal ourselves properly. Drugs just lead you to la la land but complementary treatments rely on our conscious participation in order to achieve success.