“People erroneously think having depression means they lack strength of character when, in fact, it is no more your fault for having depression than having seasonal allergies,” Delawalla said. “People feel far more ashamed of having a mental illness than they do physical illnesses, and it leads them to isolate or suffer in silence.”
“A conversation about depression does not have to be a formal discussion that leads to awkwardness,” Delawalla said. “Depression is one part of your story, but it does not define you.”
In addition to sadness, depression can also manifest itself in physical ways. For instance, people with depression may suffer from sleep and appetite disturbance, low energy, lethargy, difficulty concentrating, poor memory or low libido.
“Often these symptoms are misattributed to other illnesses and people suffer from undiagnosed and therefore untreated depression for years,” said Zainab Delawalla, a licensed clinical psychologist in Atlanta.
When you are anxious, stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are released, which can have an impact on the rest of your body. This puts your body into fight or flight mode. "For people with anxiety, this can sometimes translate to experiencing racing thoughts about the situation that provoked anxiety," licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Zainab Delawalla tells Bustle. "Because the brain is so consumed by the threatening stimulus, it is not able to spend resources on other things in the environment, which can be experienced as difficulty concentrating."
“A good therapist has probably established a niche and is most effective when serving clients who fit that niche,” explained Zainab Delawalla, a licensed clinical psychologist in Decatur, Georgia. “Look through a therapist’s website or Psychology Today profile where they describe their typical client and see if you fit this description. A therapist who says she treats depression but advertises that she typically helps men struggling with self-esteem issues might not be the best fit for a woman who is struggling with postpartum depression.”
In many cases, it boils down to the societal expectation for women to be perfect, said Dr. Zainab Delawalla, a licensed clinical psychologist who often works with high-achieving women in executive roles.
Women can struggle with underlings "not taking them as a legitimate boss and questioning their decisions, or talking down to them in a certain way, more so than they may with a male boss,” said Delawalla. “On top of those struggles, they feel they can't express this because they fear they will be seen as over emotional. When it comes to traditionally male jobs like heading a company, you have to lose your femininity to some degree. You can't be perceived as emotional or soft yet you also have to have certain feminine traits. It’s a hard line to straddle.”