top of page

The Intersectionality of Black Women, Perimenopause, Menopause, and Depression

Navigating the Intersectionality of Black Women, Perimenopause, Menopause, and Depression (Part 1)

By: Lisa Brown

How Does Perimenopause Affect Your Mental Health?

First, let me state that I am not a professional. I am just a living servant of Mrs. Perimenopause. You are never going to be prepared for perimenopause. The symptoms are sometimes subtle; slowly building your body’s trust until you are unknowingly ensnared in its grips. Other times, you are hit by Mike Tyson and wake up in a full sweat lost and confused.

Perimenopause is a time of vulnerability in women, attention to signs and symptoms of depression may be required so that they may lead a more productive life.

Perimenopause is defined by the WHO as the 2–8 years preceding menopause and the 1-year period after final menses, resulting from the loss of follicular activity. During this period, production of the estrogen and progesterone becomes more irregular, with wide and unpredictable fluctuations in their levels; the levels of follicle-stimulating hormone increase until months after the last menstrual period leading to diminishing fertility and irregularity of menses.

During perimenopause many suffer from fatigue, headaches, weight changes, and a sense of loss of self due to all of these changes. Some women express sadness because they felt that they are losing a part of their womanhood; a part of their youth.

My personal experience with Perimenopause has been an emotional roller-coaster. Mostly, since I hadn’t even heard of perimenopause until a little over four years ago. I’m still discovering the effects of perimenopause and newer symptoms that seem all too excited to introduce themselves to my hormones. Let’s discover perimenopause together.

Average Age when menopause starts between 34 and 37. As early as 32.

Perimenopause begins about eight to 10 years before menopause.

Symptoms of perimenopause can be as follow:

Mood changes/swings

Changes in sexual desire

Trouble concentrating


Night sweats

Hot flashes

Vaginal dryness

Trouble with sleep

Joint and muscle aches

Heavy sweating

Frequent urination

PMS-like symptoms

Phantom cramps




Panic disorder recommends several options for treating perimenopause. The link to the full article is below. Check with your clinician to find out what works best for your symptoms.


Hormones: During reproductive years, most women become accustomed to their own hormonal rhythm. When this rhythm is disrupted during perimenopause, mood changes may result.


Timing: The timing of menopause may coincide with a multitude of midlife stresses like relationship issues, divorce or widowhood, care of young children, struggles with adolescents, return of grown children to the home, being childless, concerns about aging parents and caregiving responsibilities, as well as career and education issues.

Aging: Getting older in a society that values youth can be very demoralizing. Midlife women often experience changes in self-esteem and body image. Women may begin to consider their own mortality and dwell on the meaning or purpose of their lives.

Although achieving optimal mental and physical health requires individualized solutions, the following suggestions have been helpful for many women.

Create balance: When dividing time between work obligations and caring for family, women need to remember that taking care of their own needs is equally important. With the onset of new tensions, recognizing a problem can lead to understanding its causes and developing new coping mechanisms. Keeping a balance between self, family, friends, and work allows women to meet new challenges and maintain self-confidence.

Evaluate levels of depression: Women who have previously been diagnosed with depression when they were younger are vulnerable to recurrent depression during perimenopause. Women suffering from depression (which is associated with a chemical imbalance in the brain) report symptoms of prolonged tiredness, loss of interest in normal activities, weight loss, sadness, or irritability. Treatments range from prescription medications to talk therapy for various levels of depression.

Assess anxiety level: Physical and psychological changes as well as other midlife stressors can result in increased anxiety. Feelings of anticipation, dread, or fear are common and usually resolve without treatment. Frequent episodes of anxiety may be a warning sign of panic disorder. “Panic attack” symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, heart palpitations, or feelings of “going crazy” or feeling out of control. Sometimes the unsettling feelings that precede a hot flash can mimic or trigger such an attack. Treatments include relaxation or stress reduction techniques, counseling or psychotherapy, and/or prescription drugs.

Mind your memory: Many perimenopausal women report difficulty concentrating or short-term memory problems. These difficulties often frighten women, who may think they have early symptoms of Alzheimer disease. While this is rarely the case, studies suggest that remaining physically, socially, and mentally active may help prevent memory loss.


Seek support: Don’t try to diagnose and treat yourself; you shouldn’t feel embarrassed about reaching out for help. By evaluating symptoms as well as personal and family history, the appropriate health professional can provide expert relief recommendations. Remember, medication for depression is most effective when used in combination with counseling or psychotherapy.

If you start to experience any of the listed symptoms of perimenopause, please find a qualified clinician who works directly with women’s health care. You deserve answers, a proper diagnosis, and a list of treatment options. If you are seen by a doctor and they’re answers don’t work for you, get another opinion. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself or a loved one.

Yes, perimenopause is a part of life. Let’s educate ourselves so that we can minimize the suffering.



Loveli Brown


Healing Through Conversations Podcast

“Being able to articulate your feelings, wants, needs, and desires is the best way to advocate for yourself. This all starts with a conversation”. Loveli xoxo



bottom of page