Thursday, Oct 22nd

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Depression and Black Women

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Black women are at high risk for depression. According to Psychotherapist and Author Julia Bond, one out of every five black women is depressed.  Often it is because they play numerous roles in the family, community and in the workplace.  They are conditioned to take care of others at the expense of their own needs. 

I was reading an editorial in the newspaper about how feminism has made women increasingly unhappy over the last 30 years.  Despite being wealthier, healthier and better educated than they were a generation ago, women in post-feminist America are not as happy as they used to be.  The article suggested this might have something to do with the number of women “stuck raising kids alone,” a “depressing” lifestyle that is much more common among women in the lower socioeconomic class.  The writer suggested that women’s unhappiness may have something to do with their politics — maybe women “prefer egalitarian, low-risk societies, and the cowboy capitalism of the Reagan era, had an anxiety-inducing effect on the American female,” he writes.

In a world — and economic climate — when so much is out of our hands, American women enjoy unprecedented control over their own fertility, as well as the freedom to collaborate with whomever they choose.  In addition, if they never want to partner with anyone or have children at all, they are free to make that choice as well.  So why are so many women ending up in marriages and partnerships that suck the life out of them?  In an age when women have careers outside the home, many women choose to stay in relationships that continue to foster the archaic ideas about a woman’s role in the home.

I was having lunch with a friend, who is a 28-year-old wife and mother of two young children.  She works outside the home, while her husband takes care of the children full-time.  She complains that even while working a “demanding and tiring job,” she still has to do most of the housework when she gets home while her husband farts around on the computer.  Married for six years, she wed when she was 22; an age that some might argue is that way too young to marry.  Now let us rewind. What if she had gotten some solo life experience first?  What if she had fully experienced the responsibility of a “demanding and tiring job” before taking on the demanding and tiring role of wife and mother?  Maybe she would have made some different choices — choices that may have led to a happier home life down the road.

The thing is, while women have unprecedented opportunities outside the home and fought so long for equality in the workplace, many lack models inside the home.  While taking advantage of more options than your mothers and grandmothers ever had, women continue to make the same kinds of choices when it comes to their relationships.  No wonder you cannot balance it all.  If you are ever going to have true happiness, you have to start taking responsibility in what you are choosing.  Moreover, you have to pass that responsibility on to your children — your daughters and our sons.


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