In the past, society was incapable of dealing with mental illnesses. Even when pinning it on the paranormal and the religion was not the norm anymore, there wasn’t a clear scientific or medical consensus on what causes them or how they can be treated. And traditionally, society was more tolerant towards men with mental illness.
Women and Mental Illness Stigma
Women were ostracized as soon as they manifested the slightest deviation from the norm. Joe Kennedy, the father of John F. Kennedy, had his eldest daughter Rosemary Kennedy lobotomized. She displayed behavioral problems that impaired her academic and social abilities, along with affecting the family’s political status in society. That discrimination still exists.
This is furthered by the fact that women who are plagued by disorders of the mind have a hard time establishing healthy social connections. This happens in the case of many conditions, such as depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, to name but a few.
According to Schizlife, it isn’t common for those who struggle with the latter to build romantic relationships, or complex interactions of any kind. Nevertheless, depending on the person and her affliction, situations may vary. But mental illness is still something that leads to social isolation, which deepens the stigma.
How to Tackle the Situation
Thankfully, there are many things women can do to manage and cope with mental illnesses. Along with the standard steps, dreaming big is an essential part of your recovery. Practicality is how you achieve your objective. Dreaming is how you pick yourself up every time you encounter an obstacle.
Here are three amazing ways women can tackle mental illness:
1. Stick to a Strict Routine
Routine is as important when it comes to dealing with mental illness as seeking the help of a professional and following treatment. In our day and age, many women juggle between work, family and various house activities, and when kids come into the picture, it is very easy to lose focus. Maintaining a regular sleep cycle boosts concentration levels.
By extension, this halts the progression of the illness. Taking daily walks outside, away from the smartphone and deadlines at work and scheduling appropriate relaxation intervals is important. This doesn’t imply hiding all responsibilities under the rug. Moreover, the routine can be broken by random life events, so it’s best to prepare.
Researchers have discovered that women are twice as likely to suffer from mental illness than men. This fact is more encouraging than it seems because this means that society is taking a new approach towards this subject, especially when it comes to young, working women who are joining the workforce in higher numbers than ever.
J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, said in numerous interviews that she had depressive tendencies since she was young. They manifested most often and were at peak activity in her mid to late 20’s, when other social pressures were added to the equation, like marrying and having children.
She was a single mother of one young child who was living of off unemployment benefits. Stuck in an awful cycle of misery and self-doubt, Rowling began writing the first novel of the series.
She beat depression by doggedly building a great writing discipline slowly, over many years, and pursuing her dream of making a living out of her passion: literature and fantasy.
Sometimes, personal failure and emotional frustrations can inspire one to be extremely creative. She poured all of her energy, day and night, into creating a fictional universe that is beloved worldwide, by children and adults alike. Remember that pursuing your dream, whether personal or career-wise, is as important as sticking to the above-mentioned routine.
2. Reach Out for Support
Admittedly, some companies will wait a few months before pushing employees who are suffering from mental illness out of the company instead of outright firing them. Fortunately, nowadays that’s usually the exception, not the norm. When corporate circles fail to support young women in dealing with their problems, it’s best to seek help from friends and relatives.
Unfortunately, when it comes to romance, schizophrenia and relationships don’t go hand in hand. This is generally the case because the suffering women are part of a toxic relationship or the partner is emotionally overwhelmed by the situation.
But that’s no reason to give up on asking for help. Mara Wilson, the famous child actress who played the role of Matilda, has been from the start outspoken about her depression and OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), especially as an anxious young woman working into a field that’s been traditionally dominated by men.
According to her great memoir, titled Where Am I Now? she retired from acting because she thought her looks didn’t conform to Hollywood’s beauty standards. She doesn’t say that she overcame her issues fully, but only learned how to manage them and lead a perfectly balanced life.
She says that it is important to recognize you have a problem and approach it methodically, keeping it in check. Honesty to oneself and the people who love and care for you, communicating your needs and frustrations are vital, she said. What Mara Wilson speaks about is especially important now.
According to an article published in The Guardian, young women are now a high-risk group for mental illness. Find one special person, whether a colleague a close friend or your romantic partner who is emotionally strong and knows the ins and outs of your issue. Be transparent and don’t hide anything, no matter how small it might seem.
3. Seek Professional Help
Companies are taking a more progressive approach to mental health at work, but most millennial women are still afraid to report them and seek help, accord to this article. Having strong, supportive friends is good, but tackling the medical aspects of mental illness is as important as building a competent support network.
There’s a famous scene in Mad Men when Betty Draper’s psychiatrist was reporting every detail of their session directly to her husband. As appalling as that is, thankfully, things have changed now, and if you’re still concerned about your privacy, don’t worry.
Going on, it’s important to look for a psychiatrist that can tend to one’s particular needs. If you’re a working woman, for example, it’s best to look for a therapist that specializes in this demographic. If you feel like he’s not good for you, there’s no shame in switching.
Moreover, transparency is vital. Don’t be ashamed to disclose your most complex frustrations and thoughts, because, in order to be helped, the specialist needs a framework of your personality and specific issues. After a while, the illness will become manageable.
As more women are getting college degrees and entering the workforce, companies and scientists alike are taking a more progressive approach to treating career-driven women with mental illness.
We have come a long way in dealing and treating mental illness, especially when it comes to women. It’s important to find a work-life balance, build a strict routine, take regular relaxation breaks and seeking help from both friends and relatives and specialists.