To Every Woman Out There, ‘Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself’

Posted on April 23, 2016 in Mental Health, Society

By Madhavi Jadhav:

I recently read an article on women and their rising stress levels. It stated that depression could be one of the reasons for the rising number of suicides in the world. Studies have revealed that women are more depressed than men; the reasons could be many – social, personal or biological.

Women undergo hormonal changes during menopause, menstruation, postpartum and pregnancy. Besides, various social pressures, such as bias, discrimination, and misogyny make life thoroughly difficult for them. Women need to fight constantly and adjust with all kinds of pressures. They try hard balancing their personal and professional lives and for many, every day, turns into a bitter battle between a being a mother and a corporate decision-maker, since society makes you believe you can only be either at a time.

Recently, TV star Pratyusha Banerjee committed suicide. Investigations have dug up many tragic events in her life. So, was she depressed? This isn’t the first case of suicide due to depression in the Indian entertainment industry.

It was also mentioned in the article that amongst all the women in the world, those in developing nations like India are the most stressed out. For some, shopping, texting and ice-cream might help beat the stress, however, what earnestly helps us bounce back is our support system.

Parents, I feel form the most important part of our lives reminding us how good we are, accepting us the way we are. I remember I cleared my engineering with distinction and the first question my dad asked was, have you cleared all the subjects? He never expected me to score good marks; he was even happy with the pass marks. He always trusted me, whether it was choosing a career, a job or a car. If we have such parents (I know quite a few of us don’t) then we need to reach out to them to bust the stress. If they don’t live with you, remember they are just a phone call away.

Har ek friend zaroori hota hain (Each and every friend is important)! They are the next most important part of our support system. There are friends who you can call early in the morning and they will be at your door step to help; friends in office to share professional grievances with; in the local transport to share food and recipes; friend with whom you can share your room, your feelings, your sorrows and sometimes even your comb!

But as a woman, I think we still need to start changing the way we think, to make our lives a little easier:

Get out of the guilt: Women are so busy role-playing – be it as an employee, a mother, a wife, a daughter or whatever else they choose – that they forget to focus on themselves. These relationships are important but not as much as the relationship that we have with ourselves. We have a habit to constantly think about what we are not able to do. Many women working in the corporate world worry about the family they think they have left behind, and homemakers frequently think about the careers they feel they had to give up. Ladies, don’t be so hard on yourselves, be a little selfish. It’s great to take out time for yourselves and do what you have always wanted to do.

Be more ambitious: Living under the pressures of patriarchy, most Indian women are not encouraged to be as ambitious as men are. Many, not-so-willingly, quit their jobs after getting married, to raise kids or to accompany the husband in case he relocates. Ladies, our parents spent money to raise and educate us, to make us independent. High aspirations and ambitions to do well in your life is our birth right too and let no one ever make you feel otherwise.

Outsource (whenever and whatever you can): In India it’s easier for us to outsource household chores, unlike in developed countries. Yet, I have seen some who constantly try to be superwoman doing everything on their own without the help of the husband or any domestic aid. Please, stop doing this. Learn to share your load because running a house is not just your responsibility but also of your partner.

Raise your voice: Raise your voice against domestic violence, against dowry system, against sexual harassment in the office. It’s not bad to ask “Why not me?” (or “Why me?”). Don’t adjust just because you are afraid of the society.

To all the brave and courageous women out there – Be heard, Be visible, Be you!