It’s AlI in Her Head is a dynamic collection of finely crafted, stigma-busting stories by a diverse group of women who have struggled with a range of mental challenges, from mild dysthymia to full-blown schizophrenia.
The statistics are alarming: one in six American adults suffers from a diagnosable mental illness such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD, phobia, PTSD, eating disorders, or addiction. Half of all Americans struggle with some form of mental illness at some time in their lives. Many millions more face the challenges of less-clinical, still-problematic conditions, such as worry, pessimism, and self-criticism. Doubly alarming is the underreported fact that most of these people are women.
On an epidemiological level, women are 2-3 times more likely to suffer depression and anxiety than men; women are 3 times more likely to attempt suicide than men; women constitute 90% of people with eating disorders. Furthermore, studies show that women of color are over-represented in mental health statistics, and frequently receive sub-standard care.
Leaving aside the question of whether and/or how gender disparities in mental health are attributable to biological differences in the brains of women and men, certainly cultural factors are partly to blame. Women’s emotions and ideas are frequently invalidated; our status in the workplace is undervalued; we are socialized against prioritizing ourselves and our health; and we are expected to remain cheerful despite all these things. Culturally, we are encouraged to distance ourselves from, distrust, and discount our emotions and our thoughts, which can exacerbate mood disorders and other psychological difficulties.
Still, an enormous number of women have found ways to cope with their challenges and lead productive, creative, intellectually and emotionally satisfying lives. They’ve ferreted out helpful treatments, medications, practices, habits, and other mechanisms that enable them to make peace with their troubled minds.
How have they done it? How have you done it? It’s All in Her Head strives to provide readers with a glimpse into the successful strategies exercised by women whose persistent mental difficulties were met head on with something else in her head: resiliency, resourcefulness, intelligence, determination, and strength. Essays also include the powerful part played by supportive partners, health care providers, peers, family and friends.
Please consider adding your voice to this collection. There are far too many women who are in need of help. The involvement of talented writers will catapult this project into a realm that will have the most reach and influence, to those who need its wisdom most.