Gender disparities are observed when it comes to experiencing mental health issues. Women are psychologically more vulnerable to queer situations of the mind.
Study by APA’s Journal of Abnormal Psychology
APA’s Journal of Abnormal Psychology published a research study which evaluated the causative for this. Women are conditioned genetically, to internalize their emotions, which means they always try to hide their grievances and ponder on them in the mind; expression finds lesser importance in daily activities.
They try to deal with their problems and difficulties within themselves, to appear more sociable and well accommodated and this leads to suppression, which can be the cause for future anxiety and depression.
Men on the other hand are boisterous, outgoing and tend to externalize their emotions with a don’t care attitude which releases all charged up sentiments and pacifies the negativity inside the brain.
Biologically, a difference in hormone between the two sexes is also a reason for disparity between stress levels. Both male and female has testosterone and estrogen in varied quantities based on age, health and physical built.
In women, due to the difference in the levels of these hormones, less serotonin is secreted, which is the prime nerve relaxant in the body. Hence women are more prone to stress factors.
Women are subjects of trauma.
They're twice as likely to develop PTSD, with about 10% of women developing the condition after a traumatic event, compared to just 4% of men. Most women are likely to have faced some form of traumatic event due to domestic violence, abuse, social discrimination, sexual harassment, accident or death of loved ones. Their natural tendency to preserve the memories make them vulnerable to later mental health issues.
Gendered wage-gap can be a very important factor in blowing women’s self-esteem and confidence.
Also socially, women are burdened with greater responsibilities. Pregnancy, birth, parenting, are often endorsed by women. The role of a mother is emphasized on, by the society. Automatically, a woman is conditioned to believe that she is more responsible towards the child.
A recent debate on our forum referred to an article by Chetan Bhagat, which tried to navigate the causatives for Indian women being the most stressed out beings on earth. Additionally, Indian married women have to adjust in a new home, new environment and new people which is already stressful.
The level of acceptance is low; their actions are often judged and criticized and many-a-times, her ideologies clash with others and her opinion is rejected, which can be the reason for anxiety.
Work life balance for Women
The swing of work-life balance is also critical for Indian working women. She is socially conditioned to be guilty for neglecting her family while she is working in an office.
She never challenges or fights her belief, instead, tries to accommodate and balance her roles between home and work, which is kind of an impossible task accomplished, and at the end of the day, she is completely stressed out, over-burdened, doesn’t have time for herself and also doesn’t have time to relax her mind.
Work life balance for Men
On the other hand, a man is more focused on his career and office, and homely responsibilities come second to him.
He is conditioned to believe that way. If he chooses to help in household chores he will do it wilfully, however, for an Indian woman the choice is quite limited in this case. Sometimes, the unequal treatments of the genders can create frustration in women, which leads to additional stress.
Diagnosis of mental health issues
Further, it is disheartening, how the treatment counsel uses their personal biases in diagnosis of mental health issues. Whenever a woman reports of mental health issue, for e.g. depression, the doctor renders it as something ‘emotional’, may be a temporary reaction, however, a man reporting stress is treated more seriously and suggested to therapy.
If women’s stressful situations are not addressed properly, that can lead to genuine mental health issues. Neglect has also been studied as a secondary factor for deterioration of mental health in women.
What can you do?
This is an advice to all women.
- Try to keep yourself calm in all situations.
- Do not compare or compete with others of your gender. Believe that you are the best and try to do everything with your 100%
- Work-life balance is an art; however, spare yourself the horror of being guilt-ridden all the time you return home from office. That is not the right attitude.
- Stress factors will always be there around you. You cannot control your environment. Create a world of yourself; be in it; spend time reading and watching good movies.
- Exercise is a must. Meditate regularly to control your emotions and the mind.
- Eat healthy; use lots of greens, fish oil and lean protein to encourage the flow of serotonin in your brain, which will keep you calm.
- Be yourself.