A recent New York Times article called “Medicating Women’s Feelings” offered some startling statistics. One in four women in the U.S. takes a psychiatric (anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, etc.) drug compared to one in seven men. In addition, women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression or anxiety than men.
The author of this article—as well as a book called “Moody Bitches: The Truth About the Drugs You’re Taking, the Sleep You’re Missing, the Sex You’re Not Having, and What’s Really Making You Crazy”—is Julie Holland, MD, a New York psychiatrist in practice for 20 years. She concedes that psychiatric drugs are needed by some to live normal lives, but for many women, these medications simply aren’t necessary.
Here’s what she points out in her article: “When we are overmedicated, our emotions become synthetic….What we need is more empathy, compassion, receptivity, emotionality, and vulnerability, not less.” When we lose touch with our feelings, our ability to perceive injustices and immoral activities is deadened, she notes. And changing our world for the better happens when we become angry and upset about the problems that harm us and our fellow human beings.
Dr. Holland says, “We need to stop labeling our sadness and anxiety as uncomfortable symptoms and to appreciate them as a healthy, adaptive part of our biology.” I absolutely agree.
So the next time you feel overwhelmed, depressed, or anxious, call a friend and take a walk in nature. Talk about your feelings with a close friend or therapist. Write in a journal. Cook a nice meal. Go ahead and cry. Don’t reach for a quick-fix pill to numb your emotions. Celebrate your feelings. They are what make you feel alive!