As often as I hear the words “I just feel so depressed” I want to tell you that there can be so many different components that are responsible. Here are a few…
–Life overload–We gals have so much “role strain” because of the conflicting and overwhelming responsibilities in our lives. And boy oh boy, we sure have so many plates we try to spin…mommy, wife, working woman, homework helper, chauffeur, cook, chief laundress, etc. No wonder we are vulnerable to role strain with big-time stress and depression!Those of us who don’t have family to help or who can’t afford household help as well as single moms are particularly at risk.
–Powerlessness–Lots of us feel that we are helpless with no control over our own status and position in our society. As my friend Ann Doyle has so brilliantly written about in her book “Powering Up: How America’s Women Achievers Become Leaders”, we now need to question the old, rigid paths to achievement. There is still plenty of discrimination in the workplace and underemployment or unemployment often lead to a greater risk of depression. Other contributing factors can be the old questions of are we young enough, pretty enough, and thin enough? These traits are so touted in the media that almost never a day goes by where we are not reminded that we fall short.
–Abuse–researchers have chimed in with evidence that many women who have been sexually or physically abused are at a much greater risk of severe depression. Although boys are also at risk, girls who have been raped or suffered other forms of physical abuse or sexual harassment are particularly vulnerable.
–Relationships–It is surprising to me that the benefits of marriage are greater for men than for women but the fact is that many women really feel frustrated in their partnership with guys. We feel the lack of intimacy as well as marital strife deeply and this can lead to insecurity and feelings of inadequacy.
Let’s also not forget that poverty is much more common for women than men. This is especially true for singe mothers and of course, chronic depression is a side effect that often follows. Why us (me), you may ask? We women ruminate and this makes depression worse. Men tend to distract themselves which can lower depression.
We also have a different physiology than our male counterparts. We produce more stress hormones and the female sex hormone progesterone prevents the stress hormone system from turning itself off as it does in guys. We see this glaring imbalance starting as early as adolescence!
Check out my next blog for some ideas to combat depression…
- Beverly Tobocman
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