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Depression In Midlife Women Has No Face

Women between the ages of 40 & 59 have the highest rate of depression. The golden years may be the toughest for midlife women. It is in this stage, women go through menopause and during this phase of our life, we experience hormonal fluctuations and decline in estrogen levels. Low estrogen levels will bring forth among others, weak bones, hot flashes, urinary tract infection, weight gain, depression. Depression, as described by Wikipedia, is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person's thoughts, behavior, tendencies, feelings, and sense of well-being.

There are several factors that lead to depression in midlife women. Knowledge of what causes depression to midlife women can help their families and friends understand what storms they are battling through and that their changed behavior, actions or moods are silent cries for help.

These are some reasons why midlife women go through depression:

1. Death of a loved one
2. Work-related stress
3. Raising children/family
4. Children leaving home either to marry, start a family or live independently
5. Taking care of ill or ageing parents
6. Financial concerns
7. Menopause

When a woman becomes irrational or displays mood swings, it is a common remark to say "nag memenopause na yan" (she's in the stage of menopause). How easy for other mortals not on the same stage to say things like that without considering or understanding what that person is undergoing through. Most of the time, we associate the state of depression with women in the various stage of menopause because sometimes they are melancholic without reason, irritable, moody, irrational. Or most of the time we are not sympathetic or can not empathize with them because of the rationale that depression is just a state of mind. We would read in the news that this known celebrity or figure in a society committed suicide and the reason is depression. We wondered aloud, why they are depressed considering, they are famous, with big houses, luxurious cars, and lots of money. Then we see the other side of the fence where poor people are happy, enjoying their life with the little they have. We have the notion that depression is being sad. It is not, depression they say is a very real and very serious mental health disorder that can affect anyone. It is also the most treatable mental health condition.

Midlife women wore different hats, that of a daughter, wife, mother, grandparent. It is no wonder that these roles with accompanying responsibilities will eventually take a toll on us. Many midlife women are juggling not only work and running a home but also of caring for children, ailing or ageing husband and parents. Even children leaving home and suddenly coming home to an empty nest can be very stressful for midlife women. Children who are either working abroad, living abroad or living independently should try their best to have time for their mothers. A call or a text means a lot to them, maybe in our busyness, we don't recognize that our mothers are missing us so much.

For midlife women who feel that they are anxious, melancholic, often tired, has mood swings, feels helpless, hopeless, worthless, please help yourselves. Here are the things you can do as self-help:

1. Exercise - even light exercises, such as stretching, dancing, biking can help you.      When we exercise, our body releases the chemicals endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that trigger happy feelings, being in love with life and self.
2. Start a hobby - whatever hobby you like, it may be gardening, baking, painting. A hobby will add zest to your life because learning new things will lead you to discover your other talents and take a new interest in life.
3. Connect, reconnect with friends, relatives even immediate family members - we are maybe isolating ourselves, using working, taking care of the family as an excuse to distance ourselves from our family and friends. Be kind to yourself, what's an hour or two even for once a week to go out with your girlfriends. Maybe you had a misunderstanding with your loved ones, why not bury it under the rug and just let go, let God. Life is too short, we don't have another 50 years to live.
4. Pray - lift to the Lord all your hurts, worries, anxieties and fears. "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crush in spirit. The righteous may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all. - Psalms 35:18-19".

For the loved ones, family and friends of midlife women experiencing depression, love, understand, empathize with them more. This is the time you're unconditional love is needed. If it needs be, help them, by bringing them to a doctor, who can assess their mental and physical health. There might be a physical condition that is the cause of their depression like being sick with diabetes or cancer. They can be treated by a psychologist or a psychiatrist. A psychologist administers counselling and/or mental health therapy. They are not able to write a prescription but may recommend the person to be seen by a psychiatrist. On the other hand, a psychiatrist is focused primarily on disorders such as chemical imbalance.

Depression is not only being sad, remember Robin Williams, he looks happy, he made people happy, but because of depression, he took his life. Chester Bennington was shown laughing in a family video just hours before his suicide. Depression has no face, just because midlife women are expected to keep the family together, bring food on the table, handle myriads of responsibilities, they put on a mask of being in control but they are not. The people around them should be sensitive towards their feelings. Love, respect, understanding and familial support are keys to battle depression.

Share this post. A midlife woman might be silently shouting for help.

Middle life is beautiful.

Till next time, God bless.



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