New data documents that the suicide rate in the United States has surged to the highest level in nearly thirty years, with increases in every age group except older adults, and “the rise was particularly steep for women.”
Why Are Women’s Suicide Rates Up?
Here are the more obvious answers to what is stressing women:
- More women in the workplace
- Divorce has increased
- More women are single heads of households
- More working women as single heads of households
- Women continue to make less than men in the same fields creating economic hardship
But those answers don’t tell the full story.
Depressing Girly Thoughts
The list above is not complete. To fully understand what is making women feel defeated, we need to add that the very image of the Perfect Woman has changed:
- Marilyn Monroe was a size 10–12; today’s models are a size 2
- Everything is photoshopped, resulting in a corporate image of beauty
where models don’t resemble real women, in fact they may not even look like themselves.
- Women have responded, and plastic surgery is becoming more of a norm
And this image of the perfect woman is relentlessly brought to you everywhere via digital media to remind you of who you “should” be . . .
None of us can control what comes into our minds. Daily—even hourly—we all receive reminders of how we are not meeting societal standards for our looks and actions. And how can we not respond to this media flood and internalize this into our own toxic mix?
It’s no wonder we think thoughts—I’ve named them girly thoughts—that aren’t helpful to feeling good about ourselves, and can even cause us to hate ourselves.
You control how long your girly thoughts stay around. You do not have to allow them to live in your mind rent free, taking up space and making your feel depressed.
Five Ways Get Off the Merry-Go-Round.
Want to stop the vicious cycle that makes you feel bad about yourself? Try this:
- Identify sources of girly thoughts that cause you to doubt yourself.
- Ignore what is triggering you to think in this way.
- Challenge yourself every time you are thinking a girly thought. Tell this thought to get lost; say, “You’re not helpful”; think a positive thought instead.
- Speak to your girlfriends about girly thoughts so you have support in challenging them and some fun at laughing together at how they are everywhere.
- And if you find yourself feeling depressed, seek professional help from a mental health professional.
No, you do not need to let these societal messages tear you apart. You deserve better!
Remember, you’ll find more ideas for getting rid of your negative self-talk in my two latest books, The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power and The Resilient Woman: Mastering The 7 Steps to Personal Power.
Patricia A. O'Gorman, Ph.D., is a psychologist in private practice. She is noted for her work on women, trauma, and substance abuse and for her warm, inspiring, and amusing presentations that make complex issues accessible and even fun. She has served as a consultant to organizations across the country in preventative and clinical strategic planning. Dr. O'Gorman is a cofounder of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics, and she has held positions ranging from director of a rape crisis center to clinical director of a child welfare agency, and director of the division of prevention for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). She is a veteran of numerous television appearances, including Good Morning America, Today, and AM Sunday and is the author of eight books including: The Girly Thoughts 10 Day Detox Plan (2014), The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power (2013), and Healing Trauma Through Self-Parenting (2012) 12 Steps to Self-Parenting.