According to the Mayo Clinic about twice as many women as men experience depression. Let's examine a few factors that increase a woman's risk of depression.
Puberty:emerging sexuality and identity issues; parental conflicts; school pressures
Premenstrual problems: cyclical hormones changes disrupts brain chemicals that control moods.
Pregnancy:hormonal changes affect moods; mixed feelings about pregnancy; relationship issues
Postpartum depression: anxiety, inability to care for baby, thoughts of suicide
Perimenopause and menopause: erratically fluctuating hormone levels
Aside from hormone and chemical imbalances, all too often we allow life situations and culture to send us into anxiety and depression. When life isn't going our way we may throw an emotional temper tantrum because God isn't doing things our way. In time the anger takes root and grows into depression.
As Christian women, how can we overcome anxiety and depression?
Give up the illusion of control.
We must realize only God has the power to control how our lives play out.
Let your emotions lead you to ask questions.
Rather than ignore the depression, face your feelings and ask, "What's going on? Why do I feel this way?"
Turn worries into prayers.
When anxiety hits, pray! Unlike worry, prayer accomplishes something positive.
Discipline your mind.
Think about what you're thinking about! Instead of problems focus on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. (Phil.4:8) You can't be depressed and do this!
Don't blame illness when the problem is poor choices.
Half our problems we bring on ourselves by bad decisions we've made. Taking responsibility for our attitudes and actions leads to maturity and healing.
Exercise discernment considering medication.
Pray for wisdom to discern emotional stress from a true medical condition.
Check to see if physical symptoms are tied to feelings.
Are you sleeping, have stomach problems, headaches, etc... See a doctor if physical symptoms continue.
Let go of what you cant change, change what you can.
Stop trying to change things that are out of your control. Let go and let God!
Look for meaning in your suffering.
Ask God to help you learn what He wants you to learn in your time of trouble, so that you can help others in the future.
Pray for the right perspective.
Ask God to show you His perspective on the situations that are troubling you. This will help you make better choices.
Forget about suicide!
More than anything else, if you are considering suicide, PLEASE TALK TO SOMEONE! Know that there is always hope. Turn to God and trust Him with your life. Things will get better.
Make time for rest and relaxation.
Overwork, lack of sleep can cause a great deal of anxiety and depression. Take time to enjoy life, play games, soak in a hot bath, walk the dogs... Whatever can help you relax... Do it!
Change the way you talk to yourself.
We must recognize the negative recordings that play in our head. To change them, find scriptures that you can write into declarations and speak them over your life. If you don't know any, email me and I'll send you some!
Tap into the power of forgiveness.
Often we can forgive others, but can't forgive ourselves. Ask God to show you any area where you need help with forgiveness.
Draw strength from Scripture.
Most importantly, let the Truth of God's Word refresh your mind and soul. Read, study and meditate on Scripture daily. It will make you glad!
Take a few moments and relax with this video of Darlene Zschech singing "Made Me Glad"
**Excerpts from Crosswalk.com "Overcome Anxiety and Depression" by Whitney Hopler;
MayoClinic.com "Depression in Women: Understanding the gender gap"