COVID-19 has utterly wrecked people’s lives. I don’t need to get into the details since we can look outside and witness the devastation for businesses, families, and so many others.
Although the pandemic touches individuals from all backgrounds, the impact on women has been significant. Global News reports that women are facing more violence amid the coronavirus pandemic. Indeed, isolation has enabled abusers to perpetuate their crimes even further, and the ramifications are endless.
That is why today’s post is about mental health among women.
Despite being a global issue, women and girls are still forced to endure their mental health challenges in silence. Callous imagery in the media, combined with ignorant folks’ chatter, has hindered them from speaking up due to fear of being labelled and stigmatized – watch Dexter or Monk, and you will understand what I mean. Even glamorized movies such as the Black Swan breed a victimizing culture and shaming that increases mental health incidences among females.
Perhaps as you read this post, you can recall a time when someone was put down and talked about because of her struggles? It usually consists of calling them crazy, boiling down women’s issues to PMS, mood swings, and menopause. Given such nasty behaviour, it makes sense why individuals would shy away from vocalizing their trauma. I cannot even imagine the mind-blowing peer pressure young girls in high school face. Without a doubt, this is not the moment to trivialize the matter.
Statistics show that people openly seek cancer treatment, but not for their mental health (Abrams, 2017). Usually, what prevents women from seeking help is the misconception that mental health only affects “crazies.” However, some of the “prettiest,” most affluent people suffer yet go unnoticed because their condition is “invisible.” Of course, a person’s symptoms may be reactive, but if they choose to hide it, they can. For example, depression is often masked as tiredness, stress, and sadness; and as she bottles up her feelings, the severity of the disease increases, including drugs, alcohol, sex or even suicide to alleviate the pain.
While mental health is considered a “dirty word” – consider how on edge people get when the topic is mentioned – it doesn’t necessarily equate to a disorder. It could mean feeling grief after the death of a loved one or a divorce. Maybe anxiety due to problems at home or work.
At the age of 27, I felt stressed because my life was the opposite of everything I expected. I thought I would be married with two children. Instead, I was single, and my dream job hadn’t materialized. I remember feeling purposeless for well over a year until I spoke with a psychotherapist. It was the best decision I made on the path to self-care.
Beautiful lady, you may be in a dark place and too scared to reach out for support. You’ve heard the comments that you shouldn’t be depressed, stressed, or anxious. They say you need to change your thinking and stop feeling sorry for yourself. I’m here to tell you to forget about them and seek the help you need. A lot of people love to give out advice. But there’s no cookie-cutter fix. So, stop listening to negative folks because not everyone should have a say in your journey.
My hope for you is to be courageous. Find someone trusted to navigate the road to wellness. Develop a healthy lifestyle, eat right, and eliminate stress. Most of all, be happy. Even if this post doesn’t apply to you, be an advocate rather than the problem. As Jonathon Harnisch says, “the strongest people are not those who show strength in front of the world but those who fight and win battles that others do not know anything about.”
*If you or someone you know is struggling; please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-8255.