Happy Women’s History Month! Women get a bad rep for being overly emotional, but I hope the world is learning that perhaps women had it right all along. Stay with me here; I will not tell you that girls rule and boys drool (but hey, if the shoe fits 😉 ). However, the world has seen the benefit of communicating how we feel instead of letting it bottle up, fester, and ultimately boil over. When we take the time to identify how we feel, put that into words, and communicate it to others, we do ourselves an excellent service instead of dis-service. People are not mind-readers, and when we hold others accountable for that, it creates a genuinely unfair resentment.
Depression, Anxiety, & Eating Disorders
Gender and sexual orientation differences affect mental health more than people give it credit for. Though there are genetic differences between men and women that may impact mental health, worldview discrepancies between men and women can influence the development of mental health issues. The most prevalent mental health issue in women is depression. Studies have found women are twice as likely to experience depression as men. Many elements can contribute to the development of depression in teenagers, specifically girls. Problems with self-image, friend drama, bullying, school, and extracurricular pressures can all lead to depression in young kids.
Additionally, twice as many women experience generalized anxiety during their lives as men. Teenagers are under enormous stress to overperform in school, extracurriculars, and overall life. Hormone production ebbs and flows, which affects a person’s brain chemistry and can lead to anxiety. Actually, teenage frontal lobes are still developing, which can contribute to the onset of anxiety. Similarly, eating disorders are more prevalent in young women than in men. (This is not to say men do not suffer from depression, anxiety, or eating disorders because, of course, they do too.) Women are held to unobtainable beauty norms through the media. Genetics can also contribute to the beginning of an eating disorder.
The Uterus & The Brain: A Delicate Dance
The female reproductive system can also majorly affect mental health. Due to hormone changes, many women experience Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) symptoms the week before their period. It is important to note that the symptoms of depression and anxiety can overlap with PMS. It can worsen before or during menstruation. Additionally, women may be diagnosed with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) if PMS symptoms are extreme. PMDD can have a worse emotional impact than PMS. This can include drastic mood swings, stress, irritability, and severe depression. PMDD can frequently be so intense that it impacts a female’s daily life and can affect personal relationships. After a woman gives birth, it is normal to have some emotional discord and hormonal fluctuations. If symptoms of depression persist for over two weeks post birth, the mother is usually diagnosed with postpartum depression.
But yes, please keep telling women that they are being overdramatic – it’s not like there is scientific proof of our emotional fluctuations, or anything *eye roll*. As you can see, there are biological differences that can contribute to female mental health conditions. Perhaps women did have it right all along. Plus the world could stand to be a little kinder to women and quit calling us crazy – it doesn’t help anything. Thank you for reading! 🙂
Statistics On Women’s Mental Health
Postpartum Support International
National Domestic Violence Hotline