Depression in women – it is a real deal

how to overcome stress and depression

Women take on serious diverse roles when it comes to everyday life. Daughter, sister, wife, mother, etc. These are the most basic of the avatars of a woman to which she is equally held responsible. This gets complex and is multitasked every day which definitely does cause ups and downs throughout her lifetime.

These downs are brief and they can bounce back to feeling better in a few days. But there are ‘downs’ that don’t happen to change or go away and interferes with the different roles she is playing. This is probably when you start seeing that ‘depression’ is setting in.

Depression is more likely to affect women than men because of the varied roles they are placed in. These changes are also contributed by body image, puberty, before and after pregnancy, and menopause.

Some of the common types of depression in women are:

  • Major Depression
  • Postpartum Depression
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Depression in women may occur earlier, last longer, be more likely to recur, more likely to be associated with stressful life events, and be more sensitive to seasonal changes.

Women are more likely to experience guilty feelings and attempt suicide, although they actually commit suicide less often than men. Depression in women is also more likely to be associated with anxiety disorder, especially panic and phobic symptoms, and eating disorder hence co-occurring with other health issues.

Symptoms of depression

●     Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood

●     Loss of interest or pleasure in activities, including sex

●     Restlessness, irritability, or excessive crying

●     Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, hopelessness, pessimism

●     Sleeping too much or too little, early-morning waking

●     Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain

●     Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling “slowed down”

●     Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts

●     Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions

●     Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain

General causes of depression can include:

  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Lack of social support
  • Recent stressful life experiences
  • A family history of depression
  • Marital or relationship problems
  • Financial strain
  • Early childhood trauma or abuse
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Unemployment or underemployment
  • Health problems or chronic pain

Women’s Attitude Toward Depression:

1. More than one-half of women believe it is “normal” for a woman to be depressed during menopause and that treatment is not necessary.

2. More than one-half of women believe depression is a “normal part of aging.”

3. More than one-half believe it is normal for a mother to feel depressed for at least two weeks after giving birth.

4. More than one-half of women cited denial as a barrier to treatment while 41% of women surveyed cited embarrassment or shame as barriers to treatment.

5. In general, over one-half of the women said they think they “know” more about depression than men do.

6. Depression in women is misdiagnosed approximately 30 to 50 percent of the time.

7. Fewer than half of the women who experience clinical depression will ever seek care.

Here are some tips to keep in mind while going through depression

Reach out

Maybe you have heard this way too many times but this is an essential step, sometimes the intensity of depression in women makes it impossible to go out and talk which is okay. But, asking for help through these times will make all the difference it can.

A trusted friend, mother, partner, or a well-wisher. Talk to them about how you feel.  If you are the well-wisher, your job is to listen attentively. There is no need to fix anything – just listen.

Keep your health in check

Check on your sleeping habits which plays a big role in your well being. Sleep for a good 8 hours. You may find it difficult to develop healthy sleeping habits because of your depression. Hence practice relaxation techniques and exercise, both of which induce better sleep.

Yoga, music or meditation helps in this process. A well-rested body will help aid in the process of coping with depression.

Eating healthy is also a part of keeping your health in check. Avoid unhealthy food and never skip meals. Eating food with omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon and also getting enough iron-rich food will help boost your mood. These little things will enable to manage yourself better.

Develop a checklist

Write down all the things that you can do to boost your mood. Things you enjoy doing now or the things you enjoyed doing in the past. Try doing it day after day. It could be a walk in the evening, reading a book, watching movies, hot baths, girls day out or just do something spontaneous. It may be difficult but try to find the things you enjoyed doing. These activities will allow you to relax and reflect on your the aspects of life that is not overshadowed by depression.

Get professional help if needed

Yes, this yet again might scare you but don’t stop yourself. If you recognize that you need help from a better-equipped person then go for it. It’s normal to get help and the priority is to make you feel the best of yourself.

With professional help, you will either have to through therapy, prescribed medication or sometimes a combination of both.

Antidepressants will allow relieving some of the symptoms but it has to be closely monitored. Therapy will allow for detecting the underlying issue of your depression and ways to combat it in an effective way.

We see that depression in women is much more complex but it can be dealt best with awareness and acceptance. We very often consider it to be normal and pay no heed to it. It is important that women take themselves seriously and not be overwhelmed with their complexity. It is ‘you’ first before others.

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About the author

Keran Job is a budding Developmental Psychologist who has finished her masters from the prestigious Lancaster University, U.K., with her research in social and communication skills with autistic adults. She has worked alongside in special schools and children with special needs. Having finished her psychological counselling diploma with training in special trauma counseling with CCC and CMC, Vellore, she believes that there is always a way out to mental ailments and the first step to betterment is by accepting it.


Keran

Keran Job is a budding Developmental Psychologist who has finished her masters from the prestigious Lancaster University, U.K., with her research in social and communication skills with autistic adults. She has worked alongside in special schools and children with special needs. Having finished her psychological counselling diploma with training in special trauma counseling with CCC and CMC, Vellore, she believes that there is always a way out to mental ailments and the first step to betterment is by accepting it.

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