According to the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) one in four women will experience severe depression at some point in life. 1 in 4! That’s a very high statistic. The world population stands at around 7,021,836,029 and 49.75% of that number are females. That means a little less than 50% of the World’s population is females. In the U.S. about 15 million people experience depression each year. The majority of them are women. Unfortunately, nearly two-thirds do not get the help they need. So 1 out of 4 women will experience depression at some point in their lives. Based on an Article in WebMD, depression is a serious and pervasive mood disorder. It causes feelings of sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, and worthlessness. Depression can be mild to moderate with symptoms of apathy, little appetite, difficulty sleeping, low self-esteem, and low-grade fatigue. Or it can be more severe.

I come from a Caribbean/Jamaican culture that has a stigma surrounding mental illness so a lot of people both men and women are unable to receive the treatment they so desperately need. They are made fun of, they are disparaged and so they shut up, shut down and suffer in silence because they have no one to talk to. I grew up on a lot of pomps and circumstance and the ingrained teachings that decent, proper people with class should not air their dirty laundry. You shouldn't bring shame to the family. However, that mentality and belief only serve to keep people more quiet. I recently read a report where it was discovered how many cases of mental illness existed in the people of the Caribbean. And there is many more, but because it is such a taboo subject wrapped up in layers of stigma, the number is not as accurate.

While I’m concerned about men and their depression, my main focus is women. I have experienced depression and anxiety and I remember and know firsthand the ridicule I went thru from women of all people and it made my heart heavy when I realize how many women go thru the same thing on a daily basis with no outlet. So they either go mad or they commit suicide. Hell to the No!! I can’t stand by and watch that continue to happen. Yes, I hated going thru depression, but it is nothing to be ashamed of and that is something I had to cloak myself in when others, especially women, were ridiculing me. Many times women tend to turn to other women who they think would be the perfect people to understand what they are going thru. Sadly, it is women who shut those women down. And then when you have men telling women that they are too emotional, guess what happens? The woman feels all alone and shuts down even further and sinks even deeper into depression.

Women need to be empowered. They need to be taught how to take back their own power and climb out of the abyss of anger, anxiety and depression. Many of what is happening in their Adult lives stemmed from their childhood. Yes that includes men too. While by Societies “approval” women are allowed to be emotional, men are supposed to be manly, don’t talk about stuff and be able to handle things and not show emotion. You can just imagine the amount of men that are walking around with depression and unhealed wounds.
The truth of the matter is we can’t afford to live our lives for the approval of Society or of our culture. A lot of what we were taught in our respective cultures is unhealthy and quite detrimental to our long term health. My healing took off exponentially when I removed myself from many aspects of my culture including the people. I dismantled the limiting, backward, archaic teachings that only served to hold us back from a healthy living. It holds us back from really taking control of our own healing, personal development and growth.

While I love my culture and my people, I love them from afar. I have been accused of being Americanized and I use to take umbrage at being called American. But I then said if being Americanized meant that I got to live my own life, be able to seek help when I need it instead of shutting down and hiding in the dark then so be it, I’m Americanized. If opening up about my illnesses in order to help others makes me Americanized then so be it. Too many ignorance’s keeps women and men suffering unnecessarily. And most of those ignorance’s are cultural.

Your mental health is very important and equally important is mental awareness. Mental health issues can be hereditary as well as it can stem from unresolved psychological issues. The important thing is to get people to open up and not be afraid of talking. Let them understand that they are in a safe place and no one is here to judge them. Many women were raped as children, were victims of incest, sexually abused/molested and if they didn’t suffer those atrocities then they grew up around emotionally unavailable parents who ignored their children’s emotional welfare. Then those issues followed those children into their adulthood and because they don’t realize that they have unhealed emotional wounds they bring their wounded self into every relationship and the cycle of abuse starts all over again.

People need others who can be a beacon of light, comfort and compassion for them to show them the way to healing. There is no reason for any woman to sit in silence, shame and depression. A book that has helped me immensely in my healing and a book that I recommend to women, who are experiencing depression, is by Lois P. Frankel, PhD, “Women, Anger & Depression, Strategies for Self-Empowerment”. Personally I have had issues with going to the Therapy, not because it is not invaluable, but because I always find myself giving therapy to the Therapist on my dime. There are a lot of Therapist who haven’t worked thru their issues so when I talk about my life, somehow they take it personal. Go figure. Anyhoo, I would advise any woman who is seeking therapy to shop around.

Not everyone is equipped to handle your problems, especially if it is over their heads. You need to connect with your Therapist on a deep Soul level. You don’t just need the mental head knowledge, you also need someone who has heart and Soul and is sincerely interested in your healing and not your demise. Someone who will make you feel comfortable, respected and nourished. You should always leave your Therapist feeling empowered not pissed off, angry and feel like you are the stupidest person on the planet. Yes, when a Therapist is threatened by you and they can be, they will make you feel like crap. So don’t be afraid to fire your Therapist. Afterall, this is about your well-being. It is possible to climb out of depression and start thriving in your life. You can go from being in deep depression where you feel disempowered to a wonderfully thriving life where you are fully empowered and you are now standing in and owning your own Power.


Author's Bio: 

Trudy-Ann helps Women to develop a better and stronger relationship with themselves so that they do not breakdown. With all the things women have on their shoulders, especially those placed on their shoulders by Society, they need a champion who is going to understand them, who has been thru it, someone who can be in their corner objectively and help them to become more Powerful in themselves.