Effects of Mental Illness on Women

She seems happy at school. She talks to her friends, eats her lunch, and does her work.

Unfortunately, it all changes as soon as she opens her front door to return home.

She starts to take off all her makeup, then just stares at herself in the mirror. She sighs and walks to her room, where she just sits on her bed. She has a feeling she is about to cry, but no tears come out.

Instead, she just sits there, staring into the nothingness she lives every day.

This is a normal day for sophomore Riley Brown, who suffers from anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and depression.

“It feels like when you’re outside on the icy ground and you slip, but you catch yourself, except it keeps happening and it never actually stops,” says Brown. “The medicine helps. Instead of worrying 24/7, (now) it’s more like 12/7.

According to mentalhealthamerica.net, one of the nation’s leading websites on mental health, around 12 million (roughly one-in-eight) women experience some form of clinical depression every year.

Compared to their gender counterparts, women seem to experience depression at twice the rate of men. Specifically, girls aged 14-18 years have higher rates of depression than males around this age.

“Men often display their depression with anger and overworking, while women suffer in silence,” says Allison Puckett, a former Wellstone Hospital employee. “They do, however, seem to experience more support.”

According to Puckett, someone who shows signs of depression may just need someone to open up to.

“It’s really important to talk about depression. You won’t cause someone to commit suicide just by asking if they’re okay,” Puckett said. “If the signs are there, you should ask. People need to know to never give up. There’s always hope.”

Signs of depression include increased feeling of tiredness or insomnia, overeating or loss of appetite, excessive crying, loss of interest in activities, and outbreaks of anger.

“I encourage someone who is having negative thoughts to go to a trusted adult, coach, or counselor,” says Jeffersonville High School counselor Tyler Colyer. “If someone is showing signs, be supportive, aware, and tell a trusted adult.”

Now that Riley has started taking her medication she seems happier and less anxious. When she recognized the symptoms she confided in someone she knew cared about her.

That changed her life.

“I promise things do get better,” Brown says. “It might just take some time.”

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