Depression in Home-Makers
31 Mar 2015
Research suggests that “Working women derived considerably more satisfaction from their outside jobs than either they or the housewives did from their work in the home”. (Newberry et.al, 1979).
Kajal was a diligent school teacher. However, after she had her child, she had to quit her job to take care of her child. Everything was going great until it was time for Kajal’s daughter to go to school. Kajal started having frequent angerout bursts, slower response and apathy towards daily chores and activities (even the ones she used to like), negative thoughts,and feelings of sadness and was discontent most of the time. She would talk about her hopeless thoughts, her empty future and how everything around her was wrong. She started ignoring her personal hygiene, complained about severe backache or pain in other parts of her body and often refused to get out of bed. It became a huge concern for her family. She was diagnosed with moderate depression. She was referred for psychotherapy and some supplementing medication to speed up recovery . Now she regularly paints which is her hobby, goes for a morning walk with her friends or her dog and tutors children in the evening. Kajal’s family is of the opinion that the combination of counseling and medication has helped her get out of the depression a great deal. She too believes that she feels much better now as compared to a few months ago.
Do I have symptoms of depression?
If you experience perisistent low mood, it is likely that you will recognize many of the feelings, physical symptoms, thoughts and behavior patterns described below.
Irritable/low patience threshold
Increase or decrease in appetite
Lethargic/lacking in energy
Sleeping too much or too little
No-one likes me
I'm a waste of space
I'm no good
Things will never change
I'm a failure/I'm going to fail
I can't be bothered
It's not worth going on
Everything around me irritates and annoys me
Spending more and more time alone
Staying in bed longer than usual
Keeping to yourself
Stopped doing the things you enjoy
Crying or weeping
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This is not a formal test to diagnose depression but if you have experienced more than 50% of the symptoms above, it is possible that you may be experiencing symptoms of low mood or mild to moderate depression.
Let’s discuss some factors responsible for causing you this distressing experience:
The factors responsible for the symptoms listed above are:
1. Inadequate preparedness: Some new homemakers may not see the changes coming as a result of their taking up this new role. If you were working before and have had to quit your job , this shift between having a job and not having a job might plunge you into depression.
2. Lack of appreciation: A job always gives a sense of accomplishment in terms of appreciation and acknowledgement for the work done in addition to the salary and other perks. But even though a homemaker does a lot of work she never gets “paid” and is hardly appreciated for it.
3. Isolation: Being a Homemaker, makes the social interaction restricted leading to frustration and anger. They have to worker harder on the peer relationships than working married women.
4. Emotional negligence: Homemakers may often feel a sense of isolation or feel neglected because of being confined to the house. They might miss having a social circle or hesitate to be part of a new circle because of household restrictions or excessive responsibility.
Psychological Implications of Depression
If the depression goes undiagnosed or is not checked for a long time, it may lead to disability, complete social withdrawal and it can also affect your physiological health. Untreated depression may lead to Anemia or severe weight loss and fatigue.
Leaving depression behind: Self Help Tips
Here are a few tips to help yourself:
1. Take care of yourself: Whether you are working or not, it is important to take care of yourself anyway. Eat well, sleep well and be physically active. Proper nutrition (diet including omega fatty 3 acid which you will find in fish and vegetables). Exercise produces ‘happy hormones’ called endorphins which boost your mood and keep you happy. Maintain a schedule to monitor your daily routines oriented towards a healthy living can be very useful as well
2. Keep yourself busy, worthy and active: Engage yourself in activities that help you develop a more positive image of yourself. Make sure you pick up meaningful and outcome driven work that keeps you engaged for at least 2-3 hours a day. If due to family or other compulsions, you cannot work full time, there is a lot that you can still do! With technology and internet, you can take up hosts of part-time jobs online. There is a large online community waiting to hear from you!
3. Your Brain needs a Push-up too! : Concentration and memory problems can arise in homemakers because they are not regularly flexing up brain muscles. Just like ‘0’workout makes your body weak and lethargic, the same is true for your brain muscles. Yes, it is true that you accomplish so much of house work in a day and that is laudable! But your brain needs a bit more time from you.
Take up a book and start reading. This could be fiction/story book/non-fiction or anything that interests you. Reading and engaging with a book is an amazing brain activity that allows your brain to create an image/ a world of the words you read. Also, in the morning newspapers, you will find hosts of brain puzzles and activities like Crossword, Sudoku and spellathons. These are great brain workouts.
Along with this, next time you set the house budget, try and add up prices of things to be bought mentally and ditch that calculator.
You can even enroll for learning a new language. You will not only learn something new but also meet new people that will enhance your world as well as your perspective.
4. Don’t ditch your mirror: Let’s admit this! All women love to pamper themselves every once in a while but often when feelings of depression or lack of self-worth strike, women tend to ignore taking care of their looks. Not taking care of yourself will however only make you more sad and low. Make it a point to dress up every day in the morning just like you used to in your college days and when you got married. Before dressing up for him or for the world, dress up for yourself. Dressing up doesn’t mean putting loads of makeup rather it means that you are well groomed. Every time you will look in the mirror, it will make you feel happy and fresh.
5. Try and keep yourself involved with pleasure giving and achievement oriented activities Apart from your daily household activity, you must have other activities in your daily schedule that keep you on the move, mentally or physically. Spending a long time doing sedentary and passive activity like just lying on bed or watching TV may make you feel you haven’t done anything productive and eventually make you lethargic. Maintain a log of what you did the whole day; evaluate yourself at the end of entire day. This is a great key to keep track of your progress.
6. Get a hold on your thoughts: Automatic distressing thoughts are the most disturbing aspects of depression. Negative thoughts like thoughts of hopelessness, helplessness and anxiety may lead oneself to have a poor self-image and low self-esteem. Challenging these thoughts are important to get over depression.
Other than that, socialize with people that motivate you and most of all, avoid labeling yourself (“I am so stupid”; “I am such a loser”).
7. Practice relaxation techniques: There are a lot techniques available which you can do by yourself. For example, yoga, meditation, martial arts, deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation. If you are unable to keep up by yourself, you can schedule an appointment once or twice in a week with a professional relaxation therapist for aromatherapy, Ayurveda relaxation therapy or see a masseuse when you feel stressed.
8. Ask for support: Isolation aggravates depression. It is also helpful to seek company of another person, be it your spouse or children or any other confidante. It will keep your mind preoccupied and busy
9. Seek professional help: When you fail to cope with your current emotional state, you must find mental health professionals/counsellors to help you out.
At ePsyClinic, the click is a step away. If you could identify with the symptoms and reasons mentioned in this article, its time you seek help for yourself and your loved ones now!
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Tags: #depression #homemakers #worthlessness