Why do women suffer depression more than men? Put on a skirt and blouse and find out! Sorry, that's facetious.
First of all, let's refresh our memories by naming the three main depressive states.
There's Major, or Clinical, Depression, number one.
Dysthymia, number two and
Bipolar, number three.
Clinical Depression, sometimes known as unipolar, can occur several times in your life.
Dysthymia, same symptoms, but milder. However, it can last for two years, during which major depressive episodes may be experienced.
Then there's Manic Depression, or Bipolar. Not nearly as common as straight depression, but it involves cycles of major depressive symptoms, alternating with euphoria, irritable excitement and mania.
There's also a condition known as 're-active depression,' which occurs during or following a major crisis in one's life.
Now, until puberty, boys and girls suffer equally, indeed it's been found that boys may suffer depressive episodes just a little more than girls. Then puberty strikes, and the incidences of depression are greatly reversed.
To begin with, women's bodies are far more complex than men's, and re-act totally differently to stress than men. This is hardly surprising when you consider that they have to go through menstrual cycles, maternity and menopause.
Yes, we all know about male menopause, but this usually results in men rushing forth to what they think are greener pastures, or doing strange things.
The father of a friend of mine, a bank manager, decided to learn the trumpet. He was a man of staid and regular habits and his son, who was my best friend at the time, told me horror stories of the sounds emanating from the spare room his father had set up as what he euphemistically termed a 'music room.'
If his wife, a charming and very mentally stable lady, had been prone to depression, this would have been the final nail in the coffin of her sanity. In the event, she read him the riot act, threatened to leave, and the offending instrument was quietly sold.
Personally, I don't remember going through any sort of menopause. I was too busy being depressed at the time!
But the change in a woman's body at maternity must be shattering. Then she gives birth, having carried the child for nine back-breaking months, and it's up to her to look after him or her. True, there are a lot of husbands who genuinely do all they can to help. I know I did. I was too frightened of being yelled at!
But half the time, we don't have a clue what to do. Then, with another mouth to feed, the woman, if she hasn't done so already, finds a job and starts working outside the home. Now, she may thoroughly enjoy the experience. It takes her out of the house, she meets new people, makes new friends, etc., but always at the back of her mind she's thinking of baby.
Not only that, but is the day care centre good enough? If the husband's earning a good salary, then she might have the 'luxury' of staying at home. At least she should have time to prepare a meal for her husband when he returns home, but she's expected to greet him with a rose in her teeth and a diaphanous nightgown.
If she works, home she comes to find the king sprawling in front of the television, or a message from the great one to say he won't be in until midnight.
No, let's be fair. There are some first class husbands around, but later on we'll have a look at other reasons a woman is naturally more prone to depression and perhaps what she may be able to do about it.
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