Women have had to fight for equality for many years now, and continue doing so in certain ways. There is an image in our culture that we all need to weigh a certain amount, dress a certain way, and act a certain way. More emphasis is based upon how we look, opposed to how intelligent we are and what we are capable of bringing to society.
I recently read an article about women and physical disability that was somewhat discouraging. I decided to write about it here because I want to get all of us women to really think about how important we are, and why we should take care of ourselves. Statistics show that women with physical disabilities show significantly higher rates of depression than women in the general population. Also, women with physical disabilities are twice as likely to experience depression as men who are also disabled.
More than a quarter of women with disabilities live below the poverty level. Compared to men with disabilities, women tend to be more impoverished. Also compared to men, women report higher levels of perceived stress.
On the other hand, women who utilize active lifestyles report reduced levels of depression. A healthy diet has also been shown to alleviate symptoms of depression. Studies have found that women with more nutritionally healthy diets report better overall states of mental health, more vitality, and higher levels of emotional role functioning.
For the women out there reading this, what are your thoughts? Society holds us to a standard, but how much do we let that standard influence who we believe we are? Just because we have physical disabilities does not mean we have no value. We can still be beautiful, sophisticated, successful, and beneficial to society. All we have to do is believe we have meaning and purpose. We may not be seen in the traditional sense of what beauty is in our culture, however, that does not mean that perception cannot be changed. If we take care of ourselves on a regular basis, work out if and when possible, eat right, and take pride in who we are as individuals, negative perceptions can absolutely be overturned.
Depression can be challenging, especially for those of us who let societal standards get to us. The bottom line here is to be confident in who we are, believe we have much to offer, and refuse to allow anything or anyone to take these beliefs from us.
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.