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Mental Health And Women: Why Women Are Mental

Mental illness is associated with a lot of factors including genetics, life challenges, marriage issues, hormones, loss of a loved one or property and many more.

Mental illness is more common in women; in fact, depression is the most common mental illness in women. Women are also more prone to having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and anxiety due to the prevalence of sexual assaults and domestic violence.

Gender bias and discrimination, inferiority complex, oppression, emotional abuse, humiliation and a sense of loss also contributes to why more women are prone to being depressed than men according to the World Health Organisation.

Rape victim shaming has led to a high number of suicide. Many people in this society have still not come to terms with the fact that a rape victim should be treated as such no matter what- an attitude that leads to stigma and abandonment. Many rape cases go unreported.

Now merge these facts with a society that does not recognize mental ill health, oppresses and stigmatizes the depressed and prefers to look the other way when the symptoms manifest. Little wonder women in Nigeria are in the forefront of spousal killings, stepchildren maiming, co-wives burning and other negative acts borne of pure frustration and depression.

When the majority of the populace are ignorant of the psychological disorders ravaging the nations very core, it is no surprise that it will only keep growing in multiples like a Hydra tackled by an ignorant swordsman.

From early teenage years, hormonal changes and growth wreaks havoc on the senses and teenagers often get misunderstood for acting and reacting in a certain way when in reality, they cannot help but react that way because of the changes occurring in them. And for some, when puberty is backed up by sexual assault and oppression in the home front such as early marriage and gender bias, they can end up being depressed at a very early age.

People take mood swings attributed to monthly cycles for granted but every month, women have a shift in their hormones and that not only lowers their immunity, it makes them moody to the point of being temporarily depressed, anxious and irritable. Those may be because of the monthly cycle, but it may also be a warning to a greater problem.

Pregnancy is the major cause of hormonal turbulence and it is not uncommon for a woman to be depressed and have mood swings throughout that pregnancy. 

Post-partum depression or baby blues occurs after birth (usually first birth) and it can be so serious it can make a woman homicidal to the point of killing the baby or suicidal. Some women especially those who conceived through rape tend to blame the baby and have a certain enmity towards it.

All these, apart from puberty are unique to women therefore it is the duty of fellow women to lookout for each other during these times. And the first step you can take is to get this message out there, inform others, offer help and generally be supportive all through.

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