In comparison to other times in Western history, modern women have more life style choices and personal freedom than ever, yet it appears that those choices and freedoms have come at a price.
While pre-20th century women certainly had issues to deal with and obstacles to overcome, their role in society, while quite restricted, was not as complex as that of present-day women. It is little wonder, then, that Women’s Emotional Well Being is increasingly coming under pressure as women strive to fulfil the multiple roles their life style choices and personal freedoms have allowed them to access.
These multiple roles have multiple demands that magnify the stresses associated with parenting if applicable, career advancement and responsibility for family finances. The pressure of relationships, conflicts within certain cultures regarding women’s roles, maintenance of personal health and fitness, and responding to the expectations of others are all balls that modern women juggle daily.
Is it any wonder that demand for counselling services is escalating? Body image is a prime example. For years, most media pictures of women features young, slim women with stunning figures, lips that look like a swarm of bees have landed and skin airbrushed to perfection. These images are everywhere, and lead to the average woman feeling dissatisfied with how she looks, even though all these images are totally unrealistic.
While these same women are developing anxieties about their looks, they are working long hours both in and outside of the household, conscious of not spending time with family and friends, worrying because their house isn’t spotless and generally trying to be Superwoman. Why?
Because their self-esteem will crumble under negative comments, which in turn will lead to either further frenzied effort, or possibly a depressive episode when their anxiety overwhelms them. For Women’s Emotional Well Being to be supported, these unrealistic and dangerous attitudes must change. People must become more flexible, and women be allowed the time to build the support of strong relationships, to take part in activities they enjoy for themselves, develop creative outlets and have the mind space to unwind and de-stress.
With depression and anxiety increasingly taking its toll on women in their prime years, it is up to everyone to recognise any changes in behaviour or habits of the women in their lives, and encourage them to firstly talk about how they feel with trusted friends or family, or to visit a Psychologist for more intensive and personal treatment.
There will always be sudden and unexpected traumas in life, but women’s emotional well being is too important to the smooth running of modern society to be left to chance. While it is essential to have the resilience to recover from the unexpected, it is also vital to manage the day-to-day. If women can remain mentally and physically healthy, refreshed and optimistic, we will achieve that.
Clinical Psychologist Annabelle Young has extensive experience in working with people with depression, anxiety (including panic), adjustment difficulties, stress, trauma, PTSD, bipolar disorder, low self-esteem, grief and loss, interpersonal difficulties, as well as alcohol and drug use issues.