DEPRESSION, AN EMOTIONAL CHALLENGE FACED BY WOMEN IN BUSINESS
Depression affects both men and women, but more women than men are likely to be diagnosed with depression in any given year. Depression is not a “normal part of being a woman” nor is it a “female weakness.” Many women with depression never seek treatment. But most women, even those with the most severe depression, can get better with treatment.
Depression is one of the emotional challenges women in business do face. It cuts across all communities, races, social classes, religions, etc. About 15% of women of childbearing age filled prescriptions for antidepressants at least once a year. Women between the ages of 35 and 44 years made up the largest share of those filling an antidepressant prescription.
What is depression?
Life is full of ups and downs. But when the down times last for weeks or months at a time or keep you from your regular activities, you may be suffering from depression. It is a medical illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts. Depression is a mental illness, not an emotion.
There are several types of depression and they are: –
Major depressive disorder. Also called major depression, this is a combination of symptoms that hurt a person’s ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy hobbies.
Dysthymic (diss-TIME-ic) disorder. Also called dysthymia, this kind of depression lasts for a long time (two years or longer). The symptoms are less severe than major depression but can prevent you from living normally or feeling well.
Psychotic depression, which occurs when a severe depressive illness happens with some form of psychosis, such as a break with reality, hallucinations and delusions
Postpartum depression, which is diagnosed if a new mother has a major depressive episode within one month after delivery.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is a depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight.
There is no single cause of depression but certain things can raise a woman’s risk for depression:
Genetics (family history); Chemical imbalance; Hormonal factors Stress; Medical illness; Environmental factors such as insecurity; Other stressful life events such as the death of spouse, unemployment, business not going as planned etc.
Not all people with depression have the same symptoms. Some people might only have a few, and others a lot. How often symptoms occur, and how long they last, is different for each person. Symptoms of depression include:
Feeling sad, anxious, or “empty”; Feeling hopeless; Loss of interest in hobbies and activities that you once enjoyed; Decreased energy; Difficulty staying focused, remembering, making decisions; Sleeplessness, early morning awakening, or oversleeping and not wanting to get up; No desire to eat and weight loss or eating to “feel better” and weight gain; Thoughts of hurting yourself; Thoughts of death or suicide; Easily annoyed, bothered, or angered; Constant physical symptoms that do not get better with treatment, such as headaches, upset stomach, and pain that doesn’t go away
Help should be sought when you or someone you know is depressed. Here are some people and places that can help you get treatment.
Family doctor; Counselors or social workers; Family service, social service agencies, or clergy person; Employee assistance programs (EAP); Psychologists and Psychiatrists
People with depression may think about hurting themselves or suicide. They may see hurting themselves as a means to:
Take away emotional pain and distress; Avoid, distract from, or hold back strong feelings; Try to feel better; Stop a painful memory or thought; Release or express anger that you’re afraid to express to others.
You may feel exhausted, helpless, and hopeless. It may be very hard to do anything to help yourself. But it is important to realize that these feelings are part of the depression and do not reflect real life. As you understand depression and begin treatment, negative thinking will fade.
In the meantime: Engage in mild activity or exercise. Go to a movie, a ballgame, or another event or activity that you once enjoyed. Participate in religious, social, or other activities.
Set realistic goals for yourself. Break up large tasks into small ones, set some priorities and do what you can as you can. Try to spend time with other people and confide in a trusted friend or relative. Try not to isolate yourself, and let others help you. Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately. Do not expect to suddenly “snap out of” your depression. Often during treatment for depression, sleep and appetite will begin to improve before your depressed mood lifts. Postpone important decisions, such as getting married or divorced or changing jobs, until you feel better. Discuss decisions with others who know you well and have a more objective view of your situation. Be confident that positive thinking will replace negative thoughts as your depression responds to treatment. If the depression was a result of business, take some time of the business to think about why you started and how, pinpoint places and decisions you can change to make things better, ask yourself is it what you love, do you derive pleasure from it, if it is NO then stop.
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