Causes of mental health issues in women and how they impact their lives? Mental health itself is a very cornered topic of discussion in our society and when it collides with women, it gets dumped aside.
Men are presumed as the stronger species hence they are sometimes not allowed to express their emotions whereas women are supposed to manage things beautifully and perfectly in every phase of their life, where they don’t even get the safe space to acknowledge their strange and devasted feelings.
In this blog, let us talk about the leading causes of mental health issues in women.
Causes of Mental Health Issues In Women
Depression, anxiety, sexual violence, domestic violence, and abuse affect women to a greater extent than men across different countries and different settings.
What is mental health and how suddenly the whole world is talking about it now? Is it because of the rising number of deaths due to suicides or more and more people losing their minds amid this lockdown period which COVID 19 bought on us?
Whatever the reason is, one thing is for sure that till the time these things don’t hit someone personally, anyone care, they live in complete denial and stigmatize mental health in every way.
Mental health is equally as important as physical health. But just because it is not visible like a wound physically people don’t validate its existence. Sometimes even the sufferers don’t know what is happening to her/them.
We are not conditioned to share or express our feelings of disgust and are trained to attach shame in every such emotion which makes you a week person. This is how women fail to acknowledge the need for nurturing their mental health.
11 Leading Causes of Mental Health Issues In Women
When it comes to dealing with daily stress women are no less a victim of the stressful environment even if they are homemakers, sitting in the comfort of their house, always wearing that bright smile to keep the environment of the house peaceful and joyful. Women’s Health is often neglected.
Although Mental Stress affects Men and Women differently at different levels certain disorders like anxiety and depression are very common in women of all ages.
Causes of prolonged stress could be anything and everything right from a broken relationship, an unfulfilling career, an inferiority complex, troubling in-laws, financial stress, or any baggage of the past.
I will like to draw attention to a few very common mental health conditions almost every woman goes through once in her life and it is disheartening to say that it often goes unnoticed.
|1.) The pressure of being perfect|
|2.) Difficult in-laws|
|3.) Childhood trauma|
|4.) Financial Instability|
|5.) Non-supportive spouse|
|6.) No freedom to make choices|
|7.) Post-partum Depression|
|8.) Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder|
|9.) Hormonal Changes|
|10.) Work-life balance|
|11.) Lack of motivation|
1.) The pressure of being perfect
I don’t why women admire that picture of a multi-tasking woman with several hands, that’s where they portray an image that they can do everything. Ok, yes we can do everything says the borderline feminist in me, but what happens when this notion goes against us?
People take us for granted, we become mechanical for them, we can’t complain, we can’t get tired. All this leads to the pressure of being perfect and no one tells us that it is ok to imperfect and not have everything sorted at once. How will this not affect our mental health? I will bulge in anxiety.
2.) Difficult in-laws
One of the major causes of mental health issues in women is her toxic in-laws. Her disrespectful mother in law, jealous and competitive sister in law or a rude father in law. Women are hardly blessed with an evolved in-laws family. From day one she is expected to adjust, sacrifice, and keep quiet.
My heart aches when I see that even in 2020 daughters in law are burnt alive in the name of dowry. Only in-laws can do this and no one else. They hardly accept a daughter-in-law as their own family member, throughout her life she is treated as an outsider. How will it not take a toll on her mental health?
3.) Childhood Trauma
This is hardly spoken about but almost 25% of women go through childhood abuse and trauma in their life which leaves a long-lasting impression in their memory and also impacts their behavior and developmental pattern to a great extent.
Childhood trauma is such that when you actually go through something as a child you don’t really understand how it is affecting you and when you reach out to someone, no one takes you seriously. But when you grow up you realize how that one incident or experience has changed the way you look at life.
4.) Financial Instability
Financial stress is one of the leading causes of mental health issues in women. This is another level of challenge for women who are single, single mothers, and managing home single-handedly. Even if you are married and have a family, when the financial crisis hits the bottom rock you lose your mind.
I have seen pretty couples turning ugly once they hit the crisis and losing families over the financial mess. How will all this not cause stress and lead to an unhappy and unfulfilling life?
5.) Non-supportive spouse
Life-partner plays a very vital role in women’s life. Especially in India where we lack the freedom to explore our life, there is always this dependency on husbands for seeking approval, meaning validation and appreciation. In all this, she loses her charm as a married woman.
We literally see ourselves from their eyes and leave everything aside just to be loved and get their attention. But what happens when they don’t stand for us and support us when needed. Many women even go to domestic abuse, violence, and a lot of physical pain in their married life. It happens in almost every family leading to severe mental health stress in a woman going through it.
6.) No freedom to make choices
Without any access to decision-making and support in the family, a woman feels left-out. She feels dejected. Just because she is a WOMAN. We have always faced this gender discrimination and it has always affected our sense of freedom.
No freedom to make choices, no involvement in decision-making, and hiding things, leaves her too stressed and she finds herself in the self-doubting zone, where she blames herself for being incapable and incompatible for being a misfit. Which is not the fact.
7.) Post-partum Depression
Most of all the common causes of mental health issues in women are “Postpartum depression”. It is a mood disorder that occurs after the birth of a child. It certainly does not mean that a mother is not happy to deliver a baby, but it causes a lot of biological, physical, and emotional changes in the mother.
They feel extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that may make it difficult for them to complete daily care activities for themselves or for others. Disorders like such only cause self-harm, lack of self-care, and difficulty in managing the day to day activities in personal purview.
8.) Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
A very less thought about but a major aspect of causing stress in women. Premenstrual Dysphoric disorder is related to a woman’s menstrual cycle which leads to severe mood swings, anxiety, and negative thoughts present themselves in the week prior to the start of menstruation and dissipate once the menstrual period begins. It might disrupt normal daily functioning and could require medical attention in the long run.
9.) Hormonal Changes
Our bodies go through a lot of hormonal imbalance throughout our lives causing a lot of mood shifts which are easily labeled as being angry or irritated. It sometimes results in a milder form of depression wherein a woman feels low, weak, and fatigued all the time.
10.) Work-life balance
Another one, challenging and leading causes of mental health issues in women is striking the perfect work0life balance. You are expected to be perfect and keep everything in order, just because you are already doing it no one takes the effort to be a part of it and leaves everything on you.
This becomes too stressful and omen often find themselves worrying excessively leading to anxiety as their mind is always racing with thoughts of taking care of kids, home, work, cooking, laundry, next day meal etcetera.
11.) Lack of motivation
We all need motivation, don’t we? And just imagine that woman who is selflessly working for you like an unpaid caregiver, which can not even take a day off, won’t need motivation in the form of appreciation, love, care?
Now people argue that it’s her house, it’s her duty, but house belongs to both and duties can be divided and load can be shared if we really love our partner, after all, that’s what relationship is about, complementing each other and lifting each other. You won’t believe how much motivation a few words of appreciation could drive in your woman, try doing it.
So if you or someone you know is going through something similar situation, then it is time to talk and to listen. Sometimes these feelings are temporary and situational, sometimes it stays for a longer period and the ones who know us closely can easily identify the difference. If you spot a difference don’t complain but sit with the person and talk, try to understand, and give them a safe space to open up. Seek medical help if needed, trust me there is no shame in meeting a counselor.
Lots of love and gratitude
Priyanka Nair is the author of 26 Days 26 Ways for a Happier you and Ardhaviram. An NLP practitioner and Founder of Sanity Daily, helping you prioritize your mental health. Let’s build a happy community.