I read an interesting and disturbing article today. It seems women in midlife (ages 45-64) are taking their own lives 24% more often than in 1999. That is a very large jump – in the wrong direction.
I was also unaware that suicide is among the top ten leading causes of death for women.
Reasons? A few were suggested. Aging Baby Boomers are a large portion of these women – even from adolescence. Possibly, it is cultural with youth being celebrated and aging “getting a bad rap.” Social isolation is another explanation for possible midlife female suicides. Spouses die or divorce. Kids are grown with families of their own . . . busy and often living in other cities. A study showed that women who had strong social supports were less likely to have a premature death – by threefold. Another reason given was finances. With a lagging economy came more deaths. Finally, easy access to medications in the home didn’t help depressed situations. Pain killers can kill more than muscle or joint pain.
I’ve personally experienced seven years of Major Depressive Disorder and have medicated, changed my life (gotten rid of most stress), and introduced new friendships and activities to my days. I now have come through times of suicidal ideation and have a firmer grip on my emotions and behavior. Perimenopause isn’t helping much, though. Erratic hormones have turned me into a Jekyll and Hyde but I don’t give up, and I don’t give in.
We women of middle age are strong. We’re resourceful and wise enough to know how to change our circumstances. Fear will get in the way, though, if we aren’t constantly aware of our goals, and it will stall or even stop our progress toward mental and general health.
Remember Rosie the Riveter from the 1940s? We can do it!