Monday, 3 May 2010

Why Are So Many Women Unhappy?

In today's society, why are so many women who outwardly 'have it all' so desperately unhappy and depressed?  Quite often these women have a successful career, a good marriage, happy, healthy children and lots of friends.  So guilt as to how they can be depressed when they feel they have so much, just adds to the depression.

According to this newspaper article, people are ten times more likely to be depressed now than they would have been in 1945,  with women and adolescent girls being twice as likely to suffer from depression than men. Experts predict that if the rates of depression continue growing at the current rates, that by 2020 depression will be one of the most disabling conditions in the world, only being beaten by heart disease.

So why are the women of today more unhappy than their mothers and grandmothers?  Is it all down to chemical imbalances in the brain, or are the ways we live our lives today innately more stressful, although physically less demanding?  Humans evolved as social primates, so we have a need to live in a community and interact with other humans.  Is this great wave of depression partially caused by the fact that so many more of us live alone or in small family units, sometimes hundreds of miles away from our extended families?

Or is this increase in depression down to the raising of expectations?  Our mothers and grandmothers never expected to have it all.  They were happy if there was money coming into the house and everyone in the family was healthy and either working or getting an education.  We are perhaps the first generation of women who have been brought up to think that we could have it all and, crucially, have it all with no effort and always looking like a supermodel.  So modern women juggle high-powered jobs with housework, child care, their relationship with their partner, friends, hobbies and caring for elderly parents.  In the media, they are constantly being presented with images of 'A' List women floating around looking gorgeous, holding down glamorous jobs, with designer-clad cute kids, and are given the message that this is the way a modern woman should be.

With the pressure on to always be happy, successful and looking good, is it any wonder that so many women today are beginning to unravel?  So is the current epidemic of depression really down to chemicals in the brain going haywire or a sign that there is really something wrong at the heart of Western society?

Find out more in the newspaper article on the depression epidemic

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