Women today are anxious and frazzled, depressed and burnt out. Our mood and libido are at rock bottom, our energy drained as we struggle to keep up with work, family demands and hundreds of ‘friends’ online.
We blame ourselves for how bad we feel — for the times we’re grumpy and snap at our families, thinking we should be able to handle it all.
But women were never designed to be even-tempered and in control the whole time. Emotionally, we are designed by nature to be constantly changing, cyclical and, yes, moody. ‘Moody bitches’ might sound like an insult, but what most women don’t realise is that moodiness is our strength, not our weakness.
Unlike men, who have stable hormone levels throughout most of their lives, women’s hormones ebb and flow over a month-long cycle and wax and wane throughout decades of fertility.
But we have evolved this way for good reasons; our hormonal fluctuations are the basis for a sensitivity that allows us to be responsive to our environment, and empathetic and intuitive to our children’s and our partner’s needs. This makes us flexible and adaptable. Being fixed and rigid does not lend itself to survival. In nature, you adapt or die. Moodiness — being sensitive, caring deeply, and occasionally being acutely dissatisfied — is our natural source of power.
Yet, more than ever, we are being invited to medicate away our emotions. The number of antidepressants dispensed annually in England rose from 15 million in 1998 to 40 million in 2012, a study last year revealed, with around two-thirds of all NHS antidepressants prescribed to women.