Peeps, stay-at-home depression is real! Here’s expert advice on how to fight it
By NCVC Staff | Published on Oct 12, 2023
Staying at home might seem like a dream come true, but the reality is far from it. The loss of identity and the toll it takes on a woman’s mental health is often overlooked. As a stay-at-home wife myself, I understand this depression all too well. To shed light on this issue, I spoke to mental health experts who provided valuable insights on combating stay-at-home depression.
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To Begin with, the Problem is Real
Dr. Divya Parashar, Head of the Department of Rehabilitation Psychology at the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre in New Delhi, emphasizes that stay-at-home mom depression is a real and significant concern. Unfortunately, mental health issues, particularly those faced by Indian women, are not given much attention. International statistics, however, highlight the prevalence of this problem.
According to a survey conducted by Gallup, a global analytics and advice firm, 41% of stay-at-home moms admitted to experiencing worry, 26% felt sadness, 50% reported stress, and 28% were depressed. These numbers clearly show that the rate of depression and anxiety among stay-at-home moms is higher compared to working moms who balance personal goals with raising children.
Why Can You Get Depressed at Home?
The role of a domesticated woman is often thankless, with frustrations from spouses and children being directed towards her. Over time, this can lead to dissatisfaction and even depression, as pointed out by Dr. Amoolya Seth, a consultant psychiatrist. This situation worsens for women who were once working and had to give up their careers abruptly.
The transition from having an identity as an individual and a career woman to suddenly becoming a full-time caregiver can trigger sadness or depression. The lack of goals and sense of achievement adds to the complexity of emotions, leading to anger, sadness, confusion, loneliness, and an identity crisis.
Are You Suffering from Stay-at-Home Depression?
You might not even be aware that you are experiencing stay-at-home depression. Look out for these symptoms, as suggested by Dr. Seth:
- Losing interest in day-to-day activities
- Short temper/irritability
- Overthinking and constantly being lost in your thoughts
Additionally, Dr. Parashar adds that you should be cautious if you observe symptoms commonly associated with clinical depression:
- Low self-worth
- Existential crises
- Inability to enjoy activities that once brought you joy
- Being self-critical
- Feeling guilty about life choices
- Difficulty sleeping and eating
- Neglecting self-care due to prioritizing others
- Social isolation
- Feeling of helplessness
Expert Advice on How to Fight the Problem
Dr. Parashar suggests that for women who were once working, the best solution is to return to their careers if possible. If that’s not feasible, finding a part-time job or indulging in an enjoyable activity can make a significant difference. Engaging in physical activity and practicing self-care are also highly recommended for overall well-being.
Furthermore, it is crucial for Stay-at-Home Moms (SAHMs) to find something that brings them a sense of fulfillment, such as meditation or an interesting hobby. The key is to prioritize activities that make you feel good about yourself. Join a book club, meet up with friends, write a journal, volunteer at an NGO, or pursue a course that interests you. Discover what brings you joy and make time for it, focusing on your own happiness.
Dr. Seth suggests maintaining a personal diary to jot down your feelings. If needed, seek guidance from a counselor who can analyze your diary for further assistance. Remember, this situation is sensitive and requires careful handling.
In conclusion, stay-at-home depression is a real issue that deserves attention. Acknowledge your emotions, seek support, and take proactive steps to prioritize your mental well-being.