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Strong Women In Literature Who Defy Stereotypes of Anxiety and Depression

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Anxiety and depression in women is a prevalent topic these days.  You can’t turn on the television without coming across a news story, a drama, or a sitcom that deals with anxiety or depression.  The fact is, we all experience these emotions.  They are natural and common – who hasn’t felt anxious on the first day of a new job or the prospect of a new opportunity?  Who hasn’t felt depressed after the loss of a loved one or a missed chance at happiness?  Unfortunately, many women are unable to find healthy ways to cope with these feelings and suffer from anxiety disorders and depression.

Through the years, authors have tried to grapple with anxiety and depression in women, writing characters that are frail, unwilling, or unable to break from their psychosis and live healthy lives.  Many of these women have tragic endings – after all, it is fiction – but there are also some wonderful examples of female characters that learn to cope with these disorders, the tragedy that befalls them, and live lives full of joy, happiness and satisfaction.

Strong Women In Fiction Defying Stereotypes

Jane Eyre

We can’t talk about strong female leads and forget about Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.  Although she goes through some pretty terrible abuse at the hands of her family, and later finds oppression in the hands of her school headmistress, Jane eventually finds a way to let her heart forgive and take the reins of her life.  While the book could focus on the anxiety and depression in women so prevalent in other books of the time, Jane is instead built as a character that always gets back on her feet.  Jane is one of the first feminist characters in modern literature that opens up about her personal feelings, society expectations, and her conflict to stay true to herself.

See also  Depression in Women (Part 1 of 3)

Hermione Granger

You probably don’t think of Hermione has a heroine, but with her wits and brains she gets her friends out of trouble time and time again.  She’s the leader of the pack, proving that “girls rule”.  On the other hand, Hermione gives up her family for magic, erasing herself from their memory so that they never think of her again.  With a strong independent spirit and a solid work ethic, Hermione is a role model.

Jo March

Although Little Women is overflowing with stereotypical portrayals of women, including anxiety and depression in women, Jo March stands out amongst the crowd as a woman who gets things done.  What happens in the March house can only be described as a sweet depiction of what can be done when women put their boots together and get things done.  Sure, she could bemoan the loss of her sister Beth, or the wickedness of her sister Amy, but instead, Jo lives as an independent thinker and a woman of strength.

Anxiety and depression in women is a serious issue that many families face.  If you or a woman you love is in need of help for an anxiety disorder or depression, please call us today. We have a women’s program designed to treat the unique needs of women who suffer from substance abuse and mental health disorders. Destination Hope is a full-service alcohol abuse, drug addiction and health treatment facility in Florida for men and women who suffer from substance abuse and co-occurring disorders.

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