Living with Mental Disorders as a Woman
Is mental disorder different for women? If so, Why? And what can we, as women, do?
Being diagnosed with a mental disorder already comes with a lot of baggage and challenges. Not only that but most of the times the illness is caused by trauma either in childhood or adulthood, if not genetic. It doesn't matter how, when or to who, dealing with a mental disorder is always hard. There is so much about mental disorders that goes unspoken and so much that needs to change, not to mention that it is still treated as a taboo in most places and a fantasy in others, But I'm only going to answer three questions for today.
Are mental disorders harder for women?
Simple answer yes and no. Why? Even though we live in the "awareness era" and we have different campaigns, blogs, influencers, and even famous voices talking about mental health, that doesn't miraculously change the way our family, friends, and coworkers think. The sad truth is that we live in a world filled with feminism and with that comes the pressure from, not just men but other women as well, to be strong and to pretend we can do more than what our mental health can handle. Why do I say this? I say this because mental disorders are portrayed as weakness and people without one think that they are not real, and some people go to the extent to say that you are either faking or using it as an excuse. We have to say that when it comes from a man it can sound misogynist but, what do you call it when it comes from a woman?
I am not saying that it is easier for men like I previously said a mental disorder is hard for everyone. Even though each disorder acts differently for each person just for the simple fact that everyone is different, the process of accepting it, understanding it and how to improve your life is harder if you are a woman. As women, we are always fighting to be taken seriously and with respect, we want to be seen as strong and independent, but because a mental disorder is for weak people, we end up trying to avoid being treated or even looking for help that we need. On the other hand, depending on your diagnosis and your symptoms, there are people who think is hormonal or your period or PMS or ( and this one cracks me up) you aren't getting any (if you know what I mean), and then we are back to not being taken seriously.
Is there something we can do?
Yes, there is, but unfortunately, we can't change the way people think and their opinions but we can do I lot more for yourself. Doing this will improve your life immensely.
If you feel that you have a mental disorder seek help. There is nothing wrong or shameful about it, mental health is just like physical health. If you have diabetes you need to get treated and you also need to change your lifestyle and have regular checks, right? If you have already been diagnosed continue seeking help, and try to have a therapist, counselor or psychologist to see you more often. This will help you get everything out and it would also help go through your healing process more smoothly.
Not everyone needs to know about your mental health, if you don't feel right or you need time to get away to breath, you can tell people just that. there's no need to go into details and this will help lower the changes people get to the wrong conclusions or just make you feel bad. If you must let someone know, like your boss, you don't have to let them know you're diagnosed and all the details, just tell them that you were diagnosed with a mental disorder, that is getting treated and you are just letting them know for the reason you think that might be.
Tell the closest and most trusting people in your life. By the way, is not a contradiction to the one before. Here is the thing not everyone needs to know but the people who you spend the most time with should. The reason behind this is that they care about you and these people can and will help you, they won't give you a hard time or judge. But I think I made pretty clear what type of people you should let know. Also don't feel bad if that small group of people does not include a family member, sometimes is better to leave it that way, and hey, you get to choose your family.
Stay away as much as possible from toxic everything, people, family, and environment. Change your lifestyle, eat better, exercise more this is not only going to better your mental health but also will make you feel amazing.
You won't feel great immediately but your life your slowly change for better. keep at it girl! Surround yourself with good and supportive people and you will see the change. And remember there’s nothing wrong with taking time for you when you aren’t feeling so good. Is not a sign of weakness is sign of strength.