Caught in a trap of depression

A reader’s struggle with her health is feeding her tiredness and depression.


I am in my 50s going through menopause. I feel constantly fatigued. My doctor knows and just says that I have been fatigued for a long time. I exercise every day, go to the gym three to four times a week, and do a Zumba class once a week. I am still fat and depressed. I am on antidepressants and other medication. I have trouble sleeping. Sleep apnoea, and restless leg syndrome (I take valium for that).

My counsellor once said if I had six months to live, how would I feel? I said I didn’t care. Sometimes when I am driving and I see a truck coming the other way, for a second I have the urge to drive into it.  

With all the things happening in the world, who wouldn’t be depressed?


Many of the problems in your letter could be causing your fatigue. The most pressing problem is your depression. If you are having suicidal thoughts the panel strongly recommends you ask your doctor to refer you urgently to a psychiatrist for further treatment. It could be that your present medication is either not the right one for you or the dose is not high enough.

The valium you are taking may also cause or increase your depression, as well as causing fatigue.

Your fatigue can also be related to the depression as can menopause.

If you are suffering from sleep apnoea ask your GP for a referral to a sleep clinic. It needs to be treated as it is a cause of fatigue.

Referral to a dietician would help with weight loss, which in turn will help with the fatigue, sleep apnoea and depression.

Restless leg syndrome can cause a poor sleep pattern. This may lead to fatigue and depression. New and better treatments for restless legs are now available. If your doctor is unable to help with the new treatments a referral to a neurologist would be a good idea.

If you or someone you know may be at risk of suicide, contact Lifeline (13 11 14), Beyond Blue (1300 224 636) or Salvo Care Line (1300 363 622).

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Relationships Australia (SA) appoints panels of general practitioners, medical specialists, lawyers, therapeutic and financial counsellors to discuss each letter before the appropriate professional answers it.