In Adults Only, Being Female

First, the mundane: I dropped to 215 this morning from the 217 plateau. That means, at 17 pounds lost, I’m 21% of the way to my goal of 80; I’m 6 pounds shy of losing 10% of my starting body weight.

Now, the hilarious: a Facebook friend posted a link to a Wall Street Journal article about the hypothesis that mental illness—specifically, depression—is exactly the diagnosis that has made certain leaders most effective in difficult times. The examples offered are Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

OK, so that part isn’t what is hilarious.

A sidebar to the article mentions dysthymic disorder, the technical diagnosis for someone who is chronically “a little bit” depressed. As I do whenever confronted with something that might be the answer to my questions about my own self, I turned to the Mayo Clinic’s description. Here’s where the hilarious comes in. I actually laughed out loud when I read this on the risk factors page:

Although the precise cause of dysthymia isn’t known, certain factors appear to increase the risk of developing or triggering dysthymia, including:

  • Having biological relatives with depression
  • Having biological relatives with dysthymia
  • Stressful life events
  • In adults only, being female

In adults only, being female. How sad, funny, discouraging, and ridiculous is it all at once to realize that simply being female puts you at risk. But only as an adult. I guess that’s because most girls are still full of hope, optimism, and the fortunate illusion of youth that the world really is completely on your side.

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