Has depression gotten the best of you? Coping With Depression: A Woman’s Guide

We All Get Depressed at Times….

It is common to feel sad or depressed after something negative has happened to you (i.e. the death of a loved one, loss of a job, end of a relationship).

Recent life transitions, such as having a new baby, or having difficulty getting pregnant, can also bring about depressive episodes.

If you feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and unhappy much of the time, and lack the energy to get up in the morning to get to work, or take your kids to school, you may be experiencing depression.

Depression can also affect your relationship with your partner and your children.  Your work-life and your feelings about your self may suffer too.

Symptoms of Depression in Women

  • guilt and feelings of worthlessness
  • excessive sleeping
  •  increased food intake and weight-gain; or decreased food intake and weight-loss
  •  lack of energy and fatigue; loss of  will to do anything
  • difficulty concentrating

Depression in women is very common.

The childbearing years are when women are at highest risk for depression.

Specific Triggers of Depression in Women:

  • Hormonal fluctuation during menstrual cycles (PMS)
  • Infertility
  • Pregnancy
  • Miscarriage
  • Postpartum adjustment / Postpartum depression
  • Menopause
  • Overwhelming responsibilities (e.g. managing profession and motherhood)
  • Parenting problems
  • History of sexual or physical abuse
  • Relationship problems / lack of intimacy

Women’s depression is often related to the fact that they have overwhelming responsibilities that men often do not.  Caring for children, doing housework and holding a paying job can be draining.  Some women may even be “sandwiched” between caring for both their children and aging parents.

If your relationship with your partner is strained and you are under a lot of stress, you may, over time, become depressed.

There are no quick-fixes or instant cures for depression, but if you are willing to work on yourself and follow these suggestions, you will find yourself overcoming depression sooner than you thought:

1. Identify your stressors

Try to figure out what causes the most stress and unhappiness in your life:  Your work?  An unsupportive spouse?  Taking on too much?  Once you have identified the stressors, you can see how much control you have over them and have a better sense of how to overcome them.

2. Ask for help

You do not have to be a “superwoman” or “supermom”. Find help with childcare, household chores, or get help at work.  Ask your partner, friends, and family to help you.  You may have to let go of some of your control and rely on other people to assist you.

3. Take care of yourself

Eat healthy and do not skip meals.  Aim for eight hours of sleep every night.  Get regular exercise.  There is scientific evidence that exercise is a potent antidepressant, suggesting that physical activity increases mood-enhancing neurotransmitters.

You have to take care of yourself in order to take care of others who depend on you.  Take time off from work and family.  Find ways to relax and enjoy yourself.

4. Say no and set boundaries

When you are stressed and overwhelmed with the demands being placed on you, you are more likely to get depressed.  Setting boundaries in close relationships (such as with your partner and children), and at work, can help you feel more in control.  Say “no” to others when you need to take care of yourself.  Take time off from work and family regularly.

5. Reach-out and build relationships

Cultivate supportive relationships with family and friends.  Isolation and loneliness can make depression even worse.  Go out with girlfriends.  Ask your partner or a friend to watch the children while you are out.  Do something that you enjoy with others.

6. Do not rely on medication alone for overcoming depression

Although medication has been shown to successfully relieve symptoms of depression, studies show that psychotherapy outperforms the effectiveness of medication in the long-run.  Patients feel better about themselves when they are taking action on their own behalf and learning ways to prevent future episodes of depression.

7. Seek professional help if you need it

Do not be afraid to seek professional support if you cannot beat depression on your own.  Counseling has been proven to successfully reduce depression and anxiety.  Through counseling, you can resolve some of the stress that comes with being a mother, a wife, and a working woman all in one!

Even the most severe depression is treatable.

With the right psychological help and support, you can feel better again.

Many women have experienced and conquered depression and so can you.  Yes, you can overcome feeling miserable even if you do not feel like it right now.

If you are having difficulty coping with depression and/or anxiety, you do not have to struggle alone.

If you could use the help of a therapist, call me at (281) 267-1742 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation, or e-mail me at Irena@permalink.com.

Dr. Irena Milentijevic is a licensed psychologist in private practice  who specializes in helping moms and mom wannabes.  Her focuses are pregnancy-related issues, pregnancy loss, depression, post-partum depression, and parenting of young children.  Her number one priority is to help women feel better about themselves and feel empowered about their choices. Dr.Irena’s offices are located in the Woodlands and in the Houston Medical Center.

 

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