1 in 4

1 in 4 women take mental health meds. I find this completely and totally unsurprising. For so many reasons.

  • First, we've always thought women were crazy. Hurricanes were named after women because? Right, because they are crazy and unpredictable. Even if that isn't 100% true, certainly that's what the common collective thinks. Everyone knows Hysteria is craziness with the root hyster(o) coming from the Greek word, hystéra, which means womb. The misogyny goes on and on but that's enough examples for today lest we become more depressed than we already are.

    • Second, there's isolation we deal with. Today we do everything ourselves. Women have trouble breastfeeding. Why? Because they've never seen it done. Never seen a group of women of multiple generations showing how things work. Helping each other out. Helping new and old get through this time with support and love. And that's just the beginning of that baby's life. The start of millions of tiny and not-so-tiny decisions, each of which is the key to happiness and fulfillment (or so we think.) As soon as we make a decision, we're second guessed, by ourselves or others. Or some new technology or study emerges to tell us we've done it all wrong. AHHH!!!

      Then we each sit run around crazily in our houses and cook a meal for our family, with food we've each gone and purchased by ourselves, while out running errands that we all have to do but each of us does ourselves. How much easier would life be if the 10 families who lived around you all shared these tasks? You cooked 1 meal in 10. Someone took all the library books back. Two people did all the week's shopping together.

      But instead our family lives next to other families who we don't even know. If we need help, we rarely ask. When we do, it's seen as a sign of weakness. We are supposed to be able to do it all, do it all well, and be happy about it!

    • And media, of course, has done its part too. Objectification in the media is nothing new. We've added dismemberment to the mix more recently. An excerpt:

      Extensive research has demonstrated the negative results of female objectification in the media. Depression, appearance anxiety, body shame, sexual dysfunction, and eating disorders are only a few among the growing list of repercussions (Fredrickson & Noll, 1997). In addition to the objectification of women, the media commits another assault on the dignity of women. This assault is the dismemberment of women, and it has not received the attention it deserves (Kilbourne, 2002)

    • And do we even need to mention environmental toxins? They are within us and around us every day. From plastics to heavy metals to pesticides. And you can try to avoid them but how? Eat organic but the shopping center sprays their weeds. And you drove there in your car that uses gasoline, and you breathed those fumes as you filled it up. And that organic produce goes into a plastic bag. Maybe a reusable one, but still basically plastic. You went with cloth? Is it organic cotton? Unbleached? Without the chemical sizing that kept the fabric stiff for the initial sewing? How do they power the lights in that store? With sustainable practices or the general electricity that burns fossil fuels? And, of course, you have to have a job, and a good one, to afford to buy the more expensive produce. What kind of things are you exposed to there? And on the way there? I think it's basically impossible to avoid completely.

    So is it any wonder that we turn to drugs to help us cope?

    Now, all that said, I rely on my meds. I've written about this before but for those who don't know or didn't read that post, I have a chemical imbalance in my brain. Maybe that's triggered by the isolation, the pressure to be perfect, the environmental toxins or a million other things, but it is there. And to survive, yes, survive, I need to take medication. Drugs. Sad state of affairs? Maybe. Reality? Surely.

    So no, I don't find it surprising in the least that 1 in 4 women are on meds. I find it admirable that 75% of us are doing so well.


  • Fernanda | November 21, 2011 at 9:46 PM

    I can especially relate to the expectation that we have to do it all by ourselves and the horrible isolation that brings. I can also relate to the paranoid/despairing feeling that we live in some sick horror nightmare where the good things in our lives, like our food and even our high tech way of life, are also poisoning us and our precious children. Like you say, is it any wonder...?

    Something that has turned out to be transforming and actually quite helpful is recognizing that life isn't guaranteed or even supposed to be easy, painless and happy. Life involves suffering--real and deep suffering. When I came to accept that (as opposed to trying to deny it or escape from it) I began to find greater joy and meaning in my life, though I still have a long way to go.

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.