When a demanding and chaotic world is so overwhelming, and a woman’s role is somewhat confusing, the result is the ‘depressed housewife’. ‘Housewife’ is a term used loosely, since today’s women are much more than simple ‘housewives’, and their contribution to society is so often taken for granted. Most women are confused by their role in life. The feminist movement has empowered the woman to achieve corporate success, while the natural yearnings of her soul lead her toward the security, love, and tenderness of a family-life.
How does this confusion affect the average woman? When ten to twenty percent of the general population is depressed at some point in their lives, and this percentage is made up of twice as many women as men, the answer is so obvious that it hurts.
For the past thirty to forty years, women have been fighting for respect and recognition as more than just ‘housewives’. Women are now encouraged from childhood to put away their dolls and get an education. After the education is complete, a family is started and the woman is in pursuit of her career. She soon finds herself praised on one hand for her accomplishments, and persecuted on the other for neglecting her role as a dutiful housewife!
There is also found a handful of women who cannot ignore their desire to experience the traditionally accepted life of a woman. These are the women who devote their lives to nurturing a home and family. Their aspirations are no doubt cherished by their children, and perhaps even their husbands. However, equal disapproval is shot their way by those who view them as inferior, lacking ambition, and possibly even plain old lazy.
How, in the face of these conflicting opinions, is the woman expected to find her niche? How is her soul, the center of her being, expected to be at peace when it is torn so violently in different directions? How can the devastating reality of the ‘depressed housewife’ be overcome?
The first and most important step is one prescribed to most desperate situations: acceptance. In a busy society it is sometimes difficult to recognize the fact that a problem even exists. When people are faced with overwhelming events or circumstances it is easy to feel depressed and discouraged. However, when these feelings persist for weeks, months, or even years, there is a problem. Generally, this problem requires professional help, but considering only one out of every three people who are depressed seeks medical attention there is yet another issue to address.
Most people, particularly women, who are labelled by society as over-sensitive and somewhat dramatic, consider the involvement of medicine to be a sign of weakness. Some fear the inevitable judgement of their cruel society, and mingled with all of this is the concern that others may think they are overreacting or seeking attention. In response to this, women must ask themselves if they would concern themselves with these issues if they had a heart condition, or a cancer requiring medical attention.
Depression is a disease; a malfunction in the body that must be addressed and treated so that the body can continue to function correctly. Most women are more than willing to aggressively combat and correct other bodily malfunctions, and depression should be treated no less aggressively. It is the silent killer, causing many to, if not physically, mentally slip away and ultimately cease to exist. It should never be regarded as shameful, but rather as a legitimate medical condition to which the woman must react accordingly. Besides, she would be surprised to uncover the masses of other ‘housewives’ secretly popping the little yellow pill.
If medicine was the solution for complete bliss, life would be peachy. Unfortunately, it is not the solution to many of the day-to-day problems that the ‘depressed housewife’ must continue to face. It is, however, a giant leap in the right direction. Taking the initiative to seek medical aid for depression will help clear the smoke enough for her to find the strength she needs to push forward through the chaos and discover the simplicity in life (which does, despite much evidence to the contrary, still exist). It then becomes her responsibility to continue helping herself.