depression help online

Thoughts & Feelings area

It seems that feelings of isolation can take hold if we don't feel heard, seen, and valued.

This page provides information to support the Thoughts & Feelings section on the SHIFT-Depression®Inventory which you can access here if you haven't yet completed it.

Having completed the Inventory, you will understand why this area, more than any of the others, is associated with women's feelings of sadness or depression.

These issues or questions, just like all of the others, were identified by women in the original research.

Society determines that women sacrifice their own care for the care of others

Because there is a strong societal expectation that women put others first, usually the care of children and other family members (or it may be their work), and put themselves last, the majority of women fall into becoming the selfless superwoman or 'good woman', who puts her own needs on the back burner and cares for everyone else first or has to work harder in her job just to keep it.

There's the hope that there'll be time left at the end of the day to do what she needs for herself. Unfortunately, that spare time usually doesn't eventuate. What does happen is that women become exhausted and overwhelmed trying to meet the needs of everyone else and in the end don't know what they want for themselves any more. Not being able to identify what they want or need is simply because it's been so long since they had any time for themselves, the self-sacrificing has become a habit.

Most women are aware that this is going on and know they're in a double bind. They may have tried to change things so that there is a bit more time for themselves, only to find that the expectations of others always win out.

This can lead to women feeling resentful, unhappy being stuck in an unfair situation and feeling defeated by something which they cannot change. What's needed is more reciprocal caring, or a rebalancing so that a woman can self-care more. But the rules say that women do the caring so there's no one to care for her.

It's important that women don't blame themselves if this situation has happened and realise that the unspoken rules of society which commits them to self-sacrificing, whilst caring for everyone else first, are very strong.

So having a high score on the Inventory in this area shows the link between what women think and tell themselves about how they should act which is interlinked with how society determines women should behave.

Women who try to be different and self-care, run the risk of being called selfish or worse.

There was a very strong link between all of the questions in this area and depression for those women in the research.

In other words, being a 'good woman' in our society is not good for your health!

Women in paid work outside the home

There are also women who may not necessarily be investing all of their time caring for other people, but are working very hard in a career or profession because they feel a real pressure to do so if they are to keep the job or to progress. They could also be experiencing the effects of what is called the 'gender gap' where women earn roughly 80% of what men earn for the same work, especially in the private sector in Australia.

As well there are many women who try to combine both roles, who are totally exhausted managing the household as well as paid work outside of the home. Managing the household is traditionally seen as a woman's job even when she has paid work outside of the home.

Can you change anything?

So if you have a high score on the Inventory in this area, it is reasonable to assume that you are caught up in being the 'good woman' and self-sacrificing your own needs, just like women in our society are expected to do.

Can you do anything about it?

Before you think of changing anything, you need to realise that there are strong forces that will try to pull you back into self-sacrificing ways.

Others who benefit from your caring ways, won't be happy if you make changes and decide to take some time for yourself.

Once again, in this area, you may need to find yourself a supportive counsellor or psychologist to talk with and help you work out if there is anything you can change.

This area naturally interacts with the Relationships area as well as the Community area.

All of the areas interact together to make up the combined map of your sadness or depression. Depression for women is as much socially constructed (by rules society imposes) as it is connected to the physical, the relationships and the community areas.

home | background | termsofservice| copyright | community| relationships| thoughts&feelings | physical| links | contact|

Women’s Comments after using the SHIFT-Depression® Inventory

‘It stares you in the face, the reasons …why you became depressed!’

‘The questions are very clear. You go ‘Oh wow! …I’d forgotten about that (issue).’

‘Oh, I didn’t realise that was such an issue for me!’

‘That helps me understand some things now.’

‘It covers so many areas and connects things.’

‘It feels positive to think about what things could help me and gives me some direction.’

‘I feel more optimistic after focusing on what things might help to alleviate my depression.’


SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend