Understanding Depression: Why It Affects Women And How Can One Overcome

Studies reveal that women have an elevated level of internalising disorders whereas men have an elevated level of externalising disorders. Here are a few strategies that can help one deal with depression and walk the road to recovery

Kriti Asthana
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Let us begin with understanding ' DEPRESSION '. There has been no explicit definition of 'Depression’. But, in general terms we can say a person who has been going through a depressed phase might face some difficulties in understanding their own emotions, it makes you part numb, emotionally unavailable and fatigued. 

In Indian society, gender is one factor that acts as a critical measurement scale which determines the psychological patterns of the two existing genders. However, study reveals that women have an elevated level of internalising disorders whereas men have an elevated level of externalising disorders. The psychological distress patterns in both men and women differ from each other. 

Most commonly, in women depression can take place from a very young age depending upon the situations they have been bred into. It can be the scarcity of love, care and attention that has been missing in their life from their parent’s end, being mentally harassed at the workplace, being married at an early age, encountering domestic violence, or being sexually abused by someone close. These experiences leave a woman scarred for life. Nothing in the world can eradicate that emotion or feeling a woman has endured at that time. These are some of the causes which land a woman into a state of ">mental illness. A place where she is sequestered, surrounded by scepticism, and fear, and becomes apathetic and numb. It’s a hard fact that ‘women never heal, they conceal all their hardships and move on with their life. It’s like a constant grapple within themselves. 

Understanding depression; causes that lead to depression among women:

    1. Abuse- Abuse of any sort, at any age can make a person vulnerable. Whether it be physical, emotional or mental, it later reflects upon the life of the victim.
    2. Age- Age is another prominent factor which leads towards a depressed state. To exemplify, leaving our loved ones alone for a longer duration, develops a fear of loneliness in them. Especially, a young child who needs nothing but the presence of their parents around develops a state of loneliness. 
    3. Parenting style- The type of parenting approach used on a girl child affects a lot on her brain. If the style is authoritative in nature, the child is likely to be submissive, and unassertive in nature. Which later makes the consequences unbearable.
    4. Domestic violence- It can be either faced within the family (mother) or in a relationship. The scars on her body might fade but the scars left on her mind, and soul damages her from within.
    5. Conflict – Having an internal conflict within herself, with her own thoughts or having conflicting opinions with the family members leads to a lack of clarity in things, showing a lack of confidence 

Since every problem has a solution tagged along. Similarly, there is light ahead of darkness. When going through a depressed phase, it’s not just that you snap your fingers together and boom!! ‘ you are out of it’. It depends upon the intensity of what you are going through. Although, there are a few strategies that can help one deal with depression and walk the road to recovery.

  1. Stay connected- Look out for people whom you can trust and share what you are feeling. A person going through a depressed phase often tends to isolate themselves and withdraw when it comes to maintaining healthy relationships with people.
  2. Initiate being a part of social activities: Sounds a bit difficult right? A person who is dealing with trust issues with people often retreats into a shell. But, here becoming a part of a social activity refers to engaging in group therapy or open mics. Where you can find a cohort with similar behaviour. Being around people who are going through a similar phase or maybe much worse can actually help one in opening up about their issues.
  3. Allow yourself some alone time: Go on long walks all by yourself. Talk to yourself. That is your alone time. Do not let anyone intrude on that. Breathe in some fresh air.
  4. Do things which make you happy: To overcome depression, one must incline towards those activities which make you happy, relaxed and satiated. For example, going on early morning jogs, exercising, joining a dance class, learning a skill, and cooking for yourself.
  5. Take complete 8 hours of sleep: Do yourself a favour and let your mind and body free. In a depressed state, a person can either suffer from sleep deprivation or will sleep a lot. In both cases, the mood suffers. One must try to keep a track of sleep patterns by developing a schedule and learning healthy sleeping habits.
  6. Start maintaining a healthy diet: What we eat also has a strong impact on our body and mind. Switching to a healthy diet and not skipping meals can help in improving one’s mood. Reduce the intake of caffeine, and intoxicated substances and also make sure that you avoid overeating foods which are high in sugars, and trans fats.

These are a few self-help initiatives that have helped me transform my life- from a depressed phase to a happier one. But, if there is a need for professional help, do not step back. Or think about 'LOG KYA KHENGE’. It’s your life, your happiness and your mental health that needs care and if it requires the help of an outsider, there is nothing wrong with that.


Views expressed are the author's own.

Kriti Asthana is a content writer who has dealt with mental health issues.

Suggested Reading: Why Is It Imperative To Beat The Stigma Around Mental Health?


Depression women and mental health