Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Depression and Mid-Life

Women are twice as likely as men to develop depression, says an article in the Globe & Mail this morning, and this leads to serious risk of dementia further down the line.

What interests me in this article is the link they make between the caregiver role that women provide so often and depression: “Dr Khatri said women, especially those in mid-life, may be more prone to depression than their male counterparts because of the stresses and strains of juggling multiple roles in life, including working and acting as the primary family caregiver.”

No one ever said it was easy going through mid-life, but more and more often I hear stories of women juggling teens, and elderly parent care, on top of a full time job.  This is more than multi-tasking, it can be debilitating.

The women in a family are much more likely to take care of elderly parents: drop by for a quick visit, drive them to their medical appointments, listen to them talk on the phone, take time off from work to do all these things.  Add that to the emotional rollercoaster of menopause and hormonal disruption, lack of sleep and night sweats, and you have a woman in great need of time-out and self-care.

How to find the time is the question most women ask themselves.  My feeling is that we don't ask for help often enough. It may be in our nature, or we were brought up to be independent and learned early on to just buck up, Soldier On, keep on keeping on.  This attitude leads to burn-out and at best, extreme fatigue. Before you have a break down, take a break, ask for help, share the load.

You may find it counter intuitive, but I suggest you make time, and take the time for yourself. Whether it's a mini-retreat in your home where you unplug the phone for one hour and write in your journal, or a trip to the spa for a pedicure, treat yourself with tender loving care.  

"Your life is a sacred journey. And it is about change, growth, discovery movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way."  Caroline Adams from the Labryrinth website,

Remember that your life is sacred. Remember that to love one another as yourself, we must also love ourselves.


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