How many times have you felt the blues, felt that horrible sickening feeling in your gut when you got out of bed in the morning, but instead, put up a smile the moment you woke up your partner or picked your child up in your arms to get them ready for school?
How many times have you felt that stress is just a nagging nothing and will go away eventually, and that giving it a second thought would mean a waste of time when you would rather do so many other things?
Have you ever felt down and out, yet stopped the tears before they overflowed and hidden it all away with a smile?
If you said yes to any of the above, chances are you are suffering from depression, and maybe, even ‘smiling depression.’
Most people think of depression as a condition where the person is always sad and quiet and has troubles getting out of bed and doing regular everyday things.
The fact is, not every person reacts to depression the same way and in fact, while a larger number of people do show the above symptoms, there are many who display the exact opposite behaviour traits when they are depressed. You can also suffer from depression and keep up a smiling face.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the frequency of depression is 50 percent higher in women than in men. This alone has a lot to say about the pressures that women are putting on their mental health. And the sad part is, not many women choose to talk about it, let alone ask for professional help.
If that was not bad enough, the report also goes on to say that Indians have some of the highest cases of depression.
Why Are You At Risk As A Woman?
Because there are certain types of depression that are unique only to women.
1. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, or PDD, is a type of serious mental health condition that is a severe and far more dangerous form of premenstrual syndrome, or PMS. The condition can make it difficult for you to carry on with everyday routine and cause severe pain in your joints, lead to changes in the appetite, make you feel bloated, make you feel sad and angry and create strong suicidal thoughts.
2. Perimenopausal Depression
Perimenopausal Depression is the depression that affects you during the pre-menopause stage, which is a transitional change to menopause. At this time, your body will go through severe hormonal changes and you will notice changes in your periods, have severe mood swings and sleep issues and can go from feeling very sad to very anxious, angry or irritated.
3. Perinatal Depression
Perinatal Depression is the type of depression that affects you during your pregnancy or soon after your baby is born. It can be a severe condition that takes over your days and nights, and causes you to exhibit severe mood swings. This is a very serious condition, as many women have strong thoughts of self-harm as well as harming the new born.
You may feel that as a woman and as the main caregiver of the family, it is your responsibility to take care of everyone at home. You may be a homemaker who looks after the needs of everyone, or you may also be working outside the home and are juggling a multitude of responsibilities. Whatever the case, understand that unless you are absolutely happy and stress-free, you will not be able to give your hundred percent to those you care for. And unless you give yourself the care and attention you deserve, you will soon reach that burnout phase.
It is alright to ask for help, it is important to understand your emotions and your symptoms and get them treated, just as you would take care of a fever or a stomach bug or something that is more regular.
Talk to a friend, talk to your partner, visit a therapist, tell your doctor that you want to take care of depression. Care for yourself first, and then continue to be the amazing bundle of care that you are for your loved ones.