As human beings, we experience a myriad of emotions each day whether at home or work. Some days we are happy & on other days we’re not. Not all days go the same & it’s totally ok to feel low on some long days. But if you’re perpetually sad, angry or tired & have lost the zeal for life then, you should be alarmed for your mental health.
After pouring over the statistical records and white papers, it is noticed that women suffer more from anxiety and stress related complications and often succumb to depression. Despite that, women are more hesitant to come out of their shells and seek medical attention. The social structure has been responsible for demotivating women about their own needs and wants. Things become bleaker when some societies outrightly reject even the mere existence of mental stigmas among women. That’s one of the chief reasons of the rise of depression among the South-Asian women.
Mental health has always been a hush-hush issue in South-Asian culture especially for women talking about mental health has been termed as a taboo. Yes, you read that right: a TABOO! In fact paradoxically in contemporary times discussions about women’s mental health are not encouraged even among the psychologists’ community. Often questions are popped –
- Why do we want to discuss women mental health?
- Our women are stronger and they are not like their western counterparts, we don’t need this, do we?
- All these are side-effects of westernization, we told you, didn’t we?
Everything is in your head?
South-Asian women suffer more because they don’t have anyone to listen to their plight even if they are willing to open up. The elderly women in traditional societies are expected to counsel the younger generation almost on all the matters and the elderly women often dismiss mental health topics as-
“Everything is in your head, we never had these in our era.”
Maybe they are partially right because the society was not this complicated in their time. They had clearly defined roles for men and women. Whereas, women today are expected to excel in academics, earn, bear and rear children and also perform the household chores after they have attended all the conference calls from work. Apart from that, peer pressure, cultural and social pressure have worsened their mental as well as physical health.
However, things are not as dim as they used to be. At least the urban women are not only talking about stress and anxiety but are ready to seek professional help. Still most of them are unable to assess their own mental condition. Most of the times, severe issues like anxiety and stress are refuted as fatigue.
Find it out yourself:-
If you’re reading this and are confused with your recurring “fatigue” as well as about your status as a potential anxiety patient. Then go through this quiz and and answer as honestly as you can:-
Yay or Nay:-
Perpetual grief or irritation can be a precursor to “depression”. But the roots lie in ANXIETY. Take a break & think about it, make yourself answer these questions-
- Are you unhappy with your job/family/relationship?
- Have you recently shifted your base to an alien land?
- Do you feel uneasy over trivial issues?
- Do you think too much like- a lot of your productive time is consumed thinking about past incidences or future problems ?
- Do you keep on comparing yourself with others?
- Do you feel pressed with the workload?
- Do you say NO?
- Do you often feel stiffness in neck or any other body part?
- Do you always plan to “escape” from your job/home/problems?
You are “anxious”:-
If most of the answers you thought are “YAY” then you can be a potential anxiety disorder victim.
Anxiety disorder is a mental condition where a person tends to develop a panic about the things he/she cannot control. The sufferer develops extreme fears & worries about trivial things like missing a bus to work. Sometimes he/ she gets frequent panic attacks.
Why are you “anxious”?
Anxiety can be caused by a number of social, cultural and other reasons. However, some of the common reasons of anxiety especially among women are the Utopian societal expectations and their incapability to shrug them off.
In traditional societies like the South Asian society the women are encouraged to follow the tried and tested path without questioning the contradictions.
Though more than one reason can contribute in the deterioration of mental health, some of the prime reasons are highlighted below:-
Social & Peer pressure: leads to anxiety?
The most common cause of anxiety is identified as SOCIAL and PEER PRESSURE which paves the path for “overthinking”. South Asian women feel burdened with the social and peer pressure like getting married before 30s and advises like- “have a child as soon as you finish your honeymoon.” Usually, anxiety starts with feeling low & dejected. The inability to cope with the pressure & constant comparison with others make them focus more on their failures & shortcomings. This ignites the brain to believe that they’re NOT successful.
Therefore, women become unhappy & paranoid about the tiniest things which they may think can cause FAILURE.
The workload is too much?
“Earning more money is actually being successful” -make most of us obsessed with finding & keeping the highest paying jobs. The constant rat race of a promotion, unending deadlines & office politics fuels anxiety disorders. In fact, the workload is one of the chief causes of anxiety-related disorders.
And women feel more pressed because they have other “womanly” tasks awaiting them when they reach home. They are expected to cook, clean and take care of the family in addition to helping the kids with their lessons and much more.
How to change yourself?
If you are identifying your life situation with one or all of the above mentioned causes then don’t be apprehensive about it.
The best way to deal with these blues is to start accepting few facts of life.
- Always remember the saying- “if you try to please everyone, you can please no one” and this goes true for the social and peer pressure. Live your life as it pleases you and don’t let your mind linger on the social commentary.
- Don’t compare yourself with your peers because everyone has their own share of pros and cons. Focus on your own talents and keep on honing your skills. This will also help in building self-esteem.
- If you’re anxious because you have immigrated into a foreign country and are haunted by linguistic isolation, search help on social media. Find people from your own community or linguistic background and start getting involved in online chats and group activities.
If you think you are just on the verge of becoming a case of anxiety related disorder then don’t worry. You can nip it in the bud with the following tips and live a better life.
Tips to overcome anxiety:-
- Don’t sit idle. Keep yourself engaged in some activity like- taking your pet for a walk, watching TV or reading.
- If you’re at your workplace then reach out to your favorite colleague or workplace friend to share your anxiety or sadness rather than shunning yourself from society.
- Try to develop a creative hobby like cooking or sketching or even writing. Being creative makes us feel happier as it releases dopamine, the hormone responsible for happiness.
- Creativity also helps us to explore our talents which in the long run help to become better individuals.
- Exercise regularly, dress-up nicely & practice breathing exercises. This will calm your mind & help you to build self-esteem.
- You can also install meditative app on your smartphone to help you explore your mental condition and guide you through the process of shedding apprehensive thoughts.
- Try to help others or involve yourself in some charity. The sense of helping others and making them smile boosts inner strength.
- Make social media friends to beat the blues of linguistic boundaries or learn the new language online.
However, if the things keep on getting worse don’t hesitate to seek medical advice.
TAKE CARE. STAY SAFE and HEALTHY!