There are many different things that can cause depression in women. Physical illness can cause depression, especially if it’s long-term.
The imbalances of hormones that are associated with the menstrual cycle can cause depression as well as physical pain. However, women have many external reasons for depression, too. For instance, women tend to be taken less seriously by their GP, and are frequently laughed at for being silly, imagining the illness or depression, etc. They are actually still often told that they just need to take a nap, go to a spa, or buy themselves something nice, as if they couldn’t possibly have any serious reason for being depressed. People can say things that are neither true nor kind, such as accusing her of just being “hormonal”. This points to another major cause of depression in women….the almost constant ridicule that comes at them in one form or another just for being a woman. Women get the message in a million different ways through the course of a day that they are less valuable as people than men are, in spite of the strides being made in crashing through that glass ceiling.
Women are under a great deal of pressure from society and the fashion industry to be a “perfect 10”. It’s long been established that the fashion industry has much to answer for in terms of the extreme body images that it promotes, using women who are dangerously thin. Malnutrition causes vital vitamins and nutrients to be missing from the body, which can result in depression. The pressure to live up to that impossible ideal leads to women being left feeling like fat, ugly failures. For women, depression can lead to comfort eating, excessive sleeping, and weight gain, which in turn leads further into reduced self-esteem. Women do cry more, mostly because they’re expected to. Women are under pressure to be the perfect partner, perfect mother, perfect lover, perfect 10, successful at work but still able to have a perfect home and cook the perfect meal. Since one would have to be at least four perfect people to reach that ideal, failure is guaranteed. Women already dealing with hormones that do more up-and-down swinging every month than a rollercoaster ride and the pressure to fit into that size 0 dress are dealt a further blow by a global, cultural idea that women only have enough braincells to figure out how to put on mascara, and that their main functions in life are sexually focused. Women are under a great deal of stress at work from bosses who look down on them and say/do inappropriate things, colleagues who do the same, and a culture that requires them to look amazing for 10 hours a day standing on high heels. They have stresses at home, where most of the domestic chores still fall to them, and where, if children are involved, they still take on most of the parenting, including time off for appointments and parent/teacher meetings. They also take on the bulk of any work involved in caring for elderly parents, including the in-laws. All of these demands leave them with little or no time to give to their own mental and physical well-being.
Women may physically have thinner skin than men do, but they have to be pretty thick-skinned to get through daily life as a woman. In spite of all of the many news articles, blogs, books and videos about how women are treated around the world, not much progress has been made in terms of the “subtle” kinds of disrespect and abuse that women have to put up with. One of the things that cause depression in women is actually the fact that they realise that on a global scale, they’re often viewed as little more than property. Violence against women and children is shocking in its global scale. Women still have far fewer rights than men do in many countries around the world, and due to the modern age of technology, women see more things in the news or on the internet that promote the attitudes behind that violence. The idea that no one in the world cares about you is part of deep depression. When that idea seems supported as fact by everything that a woman sees in her life and in the world around her, it becomes more so. Women who demand their rights are seen as pushy. Women who try to do things that they can do but which are usually considered a man’s thing are bullied and ridiculed, and if they stand up for themselves and stick it out, they get labelled as troublemakers. They aren’t expected to demand things for themselves the way men are expected to; but more to the point, they aren’t allowed to demand things for themselves the way that men are. This can reinforce a feeling of powerlessness that causes depression. Hopelessness, powerlessness, lack of a sense of value or worth, and a sense of being undesirable are some very significant causes of depression in women.