Women are at a higher risk for depression than men. Many women have a reason to be depressed. They live in poverty, are abused, or were abused as young girls. This early life abuse can set them up for depression as an adult. Long ago, we laughed off Freud's "anatomy is destiny" that blamed our depression on penis envy. Today, women are overworked, struggling financially, and expected to do it all– no wonder women are depressed.
Why more women? Women's anatomy lurks in the picture somewhere. Some women have PMS. Some women become depressed after the birth of a child. Some women suffer mood swings while going through menopause. This menopausal mood swing roller coaster can damage even a long standing relationship. A midlife hormone shift along with other changes– adult children needing your help, financial problems, partners with their own emotional problems– can push you into a mood swing making an already bad situation worse.
When you're depressed, your life falls apart. You'll have, "disturbed sleep, loss of interest in food and sex, inability to experience pleasure, difficulty concentrating and thinking clearly, impaired short-term memory, self-blame, and inability to see alternatives." New evidence indicates, "Recurrent depression disrupts "the structure and function of brain cells...even killing brain cells."
Depression is not just in your head. It damages not only your zest for life, but digs into your heart and bones. If you have depression, it's likely you'll "develop heart disease ten years down the road...if you're 45, in perfect health, and depressed, you're somewhere between 50 percent and 100 percent more likely to have a heart attack than if you weren't depressed." Depression can accelerate osteoporosis. The National Institute of Health found. "Depressed premenopausal women develop bones as porous as those of post menopausal women. And the leeching of bone mineral persists, despite treatment with antidepressants."
Stress-related events may kick off 50% of all depression. We live in stressful times. Stress and depression go hand in hand. If you suffer from depression, you are not alone. After heart disease, depression is the "Western countries' second most disabling ailment." You are not just out of control or crazy. Don't pretend depression will go away. You whole body is sick and you need a proper diagnosis.
The above quotes come from" Depression: Beyond Serotonin." Your depression will not slip quietly into the night. You need to read as much as you can, find the right therapist– like lovers, not all are worth your time– then work with your therapist to find the treatment best for you.
Molly Brown, DMS
"Cleaning for a Reason" is on my other blog, Lyn's Circle.