How Depression Impacts Women With a Daddy Wound
No one updates their Facebook status with the words, “I’m depressed.” Why would they? Our culture is constantly tempted to project an all-I-do-is-win-persona.
If you are discouraged, get over it.
If someone hurt you, get even.
If you experienced a setback, rise above it.
But what happens when you don’t, or can’t overcome? Days turn into months morphing into years, and you are left in a seemingly unending state of sadness. While everyone else leaps from one high to the next the natural tendency is to compare their green grass to our tan hue.
We are left with a nagging question in our brain, “What is wrong with me? Why am I not happy?” If we find ourselves immersed in despair for an extended amount of time, we could be struggling with depression.
According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, depressive disorders affect approximately 14.8 million adults. Of that staggering number, women are twice as more likely to experience depression than men (Journal of American Medical Association). When we consider painful circumstances experienced in between birth and death this statistic is not surprising.
Without notice or warning, trauma happens. In an instant, we relocate from thriving to surviving as we grapple with the events of our lives.
Though the causes are many, for the sake of this blog I want to focus in on the role depression plays in the lives of women who grew up without the love and affirmation of their biological fathers. In her book, “Whatever Happened to Daddy’s Little Girl?”, Jonetta Rose Barras describes 5 categories of the Fatherless Woman Syndrome. The 5th category is called the “The RAD Factor”, to encompass Rage, Anger, and Depression. Her perspective sheds new insight on how depression can manifest in a woman’s life.
“The fatherless daughter is a fount of unexplained anger and rage,” says Barras. Rage displays itself in, “drugs, alcohol, food, sex and (the drive for) success. Other times the anger takes the form of depression, which is nothing more than rage turned inward.”
Prior to reading Barras’ words I never saw the connection between rage and depression. However, after reading this truth, the relationship between the two made perfect sense. The inability to control a painful situation becomes fertile ground for anger. This anger, left alone, has the potential to evolve into depression.
Many daddy wounded women feel powerless to change their lot in life.
I can’t make my daddy love me.
I can’t force him to be a part of my life.
I can’t change the reality of my situation.
I may never have the father daughter relationship I desire.
Consequently, women find themselves swimming in a sea of impossibilities trying not to drown. And as I raise my hand to say, “Me too,” there is a tinge of shame in admitting that I too have struggled in this area. Why? Why is it so difficult to publicly say I’m hurting, I have a problem, or I am depressed.
I believe it is deeply rooted in fear. We are afraid to publicly expose our pain. Whether rooted in a concern for people’s opinion or the possibility of rejection, the fear of man will stifle our growth as women. We cannot become who we are destined to be while clinging to the fear of our neighbor’s view of us.
And so I have chosen to join the ranks of “me too women” in order to bring hope to the hurting. In doing so I have realize three things about depression:
It is common among women.
There is nothing to be ashamed of.
Great men and women of the Bible experienced depression.
With God it can be defeated.
Below are four steps that have been helpful to me in conquering depression.
# 1 Admit It
It is much easier to share our latest accomplishment, or vacation spot, but if we are going to experience genuine healing we must be willing to own our truth. If you think there is a possibility that you are depressed admit it.
# 2 Share It
If you are dealing with depression, take a risk and tell someone. In doing so, it is necessary that you ask God to direct you to someone who is trustworthy, wise, and filled with the love of God. If you do not know an individual like this, I would highly recommend Christian counseling. Additionally, know that I am praying for all of my readers and will pray for you personally if you need me to.
# 3 Pray About It
Prayer is one avenue God uses to change, encourage, and equip us.
We can freely talk to our creator without fear of judgement.
# 4 Praise God Through It
It seems paradoxical to thank God in difficult times, but this one act can shift the focus from our inability to His power. Thanking God for our pain precedes perspective, enabling us to see purpose in the midst of it.
If you find yourself depressed today, I am praying this will become your reality.