• The truth is, our bodies and minds can’t take as much as we expect them to.
• We recently commemorated International Mental Health Day.
Quick Question: What are the struggles women go through when it comes to mental health given the roles, responsibilities, and areas we juggle through daily for both entrepreneurs and working women professionals.
Mental health is one of the most underserved and undiagnosed illnesses. This is because most don’t know when we need help and even we don’t know we need help. We just take it all in and believe that since we are strong women, nothing can shake us and that we can face anything that life throws at us.
This is false.
The truth is, our bodies and minds can’t take as much as we expect them to.
We recently commemorated International Mental Health Day, and I want us to talk about some mental health struggles women face daily while wearing numerous hats at our workplaces and in businesses.
Some of the common mental health conditions include; depression, anxiety, bipolar, among others. However, I would like us to focus more on depression and some instances that might trigger it in women. No one is immune to depression, it happens more than you could expect.
Impact of the Pandemic: Last year I had serious anxiety that led to depression due to the impact of the pandemic on employment and my business as well. I didn’t know how I was going to pay salaries and some utility bills. During this period though, my friends were so supportive. We got to talk, and we then realized that we were worried about things that most women were worried about. We then decided the best way to support one another was to do regular check-ins on zoom since restaurants were closed.
Physical/Psychological/Emotional Abuse: Most of the time, women who experience abuse rarely talk about it due to the fear of stigmatization and victimization. So most choose to remain silent, internalize their hurt feelings, but they still show up at work and in their business establishments with brave faces. This, however, leads to mental health issues like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Postnatal: Research shows that 10-20% of women experience depression when pregnant or after giving birth. These types of depressions are postnatal and antenatal.
Economical Inequality: Women still face challenges when it comes to status, power, and positions. They have to work extra hard and put in more effort to prove themselves and be taken seriously. Growth has become a challenge, especially where inclusivity is not enforced. While we can now see more boards with women, women in power still have to work hard to be heard.
Domestic Responsibilities: As is evident, women are primary caregivers for children and it’s estimated they also provide 80% of caregiving to the elderly and the chronically ill. This can lead to stress that if not properly taken care of can also lead to depression.
Culture: Our culture and internalized self-stigma hinder many women from seeking treatment. Our culture poses women as strong beings with superpowers, placing the needs of their loved ones before their own.
Take Care of Your Mental Health
Women need to understand that when we pay attention to our mental health it improves our ability to take care of our loved ones and ourselves better. We should take any symptoms of mental conditions seriously and seek medication just as we do when we feel sick.
To help take good care of your mental health; eat a well-balanced diet, make time for exercise, find fun ways to relax, and also know your triggers. Learn to avoid and manage these triggers especially when it comes to anxiety and panic attacks. Remember self-care doesn’t end with vacations, salons, spas, and more but with proper mental care too.
Brenda Tuzu is a chemical engineer, an entrepreneur, mental health advocate, and the founder of Alika Naturals, a natural, premium, and sustainable grooming brand making use of plant-based ingredients like coconut oil to use as raw materials in the manufacture of these products. In mental health She champions awareness, ending the stigma associated with mental health, and increasing access to affordable mental health services. She is also a member of the WomenWork community.
You can reach her via email, [email protected]