Depression in women

3 05 2010

Depression in Women

I’ve just been reading this article ,by the columnist Allison Pearson, from about the rising cases of depression in women these days which not only made me wonder about many things but also felt very vulnerable.

I am still in the hangover of The Nine Rooms of Happiness (see my previous post) and am still ruminating on all those pearls of wisdom so thoughtfully provided by the authors and about all the stress and issues faced by women in day-to-day life.

I feel like every woman goes into depression at least once in her life. The media and commercialism is a major culprit in setting the standards way too high. In fact, being and doing the best is the motto: not just in one thing or role but in everything.

The author of the above article said it right that a woman is undergoing a lot of stress these days owing to sometimes unreasonable demands. One has to be a wonderful mom, look good, excellent homemaker, and also have a great (at least good enough) career. Perfectionism has become the standard. It seems obviously ludicrous to anyone when it is put in this way, but lot of women are experiencing it in reality.

I’ve always wondered that why such perfect standards do not apply to or affect men!

Allison Pearson says that having the man in the house to share chores helps, but it is only one side of it. I’m lucky enough to have a spouse who shares my work at home – both household chores and parenting (touch wood), but I still feel burdened by the urge to meet the standard (aka perfectionism).

What’s actually required is, women have to change their perception. Good enough, and not being perfect,is the goal. It is effective only when ‘we’ believe it ourselves from within and it’s not such an easy task given the suggestions we perpetually get from the rest of the world. But, if we have to protect our sanity, we must be less and less susceptible to such harmful stereotypes.

On the other hand, getting back to the kitchen isn’t the solution.  In fact, another reason for this depression is “being at home”. If you are a home maker, you often don’t have a sense of purpose and achievement in your life other than raising kids and managing the house. In this case, you entirely depend on others for your happiness, which, in my opinion, is a mantra for doomness. Anyone who has read The Feminine Mystique, and of course many others who can reflect on this a bit honestly, would agree with me readily that in such circumstances, the woman tries to live her life through the spouse and kids and unwittingly pressurize them. Her dependence on her family members reaches to such an obscene level that it not only affects the relationships but also her whole identity. Well, this really sounds horrible. But I can give any number of examples right off the top of my head. It is imperative that one has to be cognizant about this process in order not to fall into the trap.



6 responses

3 05 2010

I completely relate–being a Stay at home mom. It’s even worse that my children are school-age and I’m left alone with my own punishing mind. I struggle on a daily basis to figure out what i want to do when i “grow up” and have come to the conclusion I need to work part-time, mostly for myself. It will only make me a better mother, wife, and role model for my children. thanks for sharing.

4 05 2010

Yes, that’s true. All the best.
I’ve read somewhere that another book Feminine Mistake by Leslie Bennetts talks about this – why sacrificing a career to be a stay-at-home parent and the resulting economical dependency is not always a good idea.
The trick is to have a balance and not being too ambitious to handle everything perfectly.

4 05 2010

You’re right.. Didnt think much about this yet.

4 05 2010

a great read to me… balance is what is the toughest one isnt it?

26 05 2010

I agree with you. I also believe that men too go through depression….. think about it.

26 05 2010

I never meant that depression affects only women. Of course, men become depressed too. But because of different reasons. Stress in work life, failure, inferiority complex, loss of a dear one, or other psychological issues might be the culprits. These are not gender-biased. But these issues impact and effect differently for men and women. Stress in work is not the same for both men and women because universally women are expected to be good at house-keeping and parenting more than men. And this contributes to the additional stress to a working woman, not just the work-related stress. This is just one aspect. Moreover, men and women have different emotional needs. As John Gray said in his best-seller – Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus -, A man’s sense of self is defined through his ability to achieve results; A woman’s sense of self is defined through her feelings and the quality of her relationships.

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