“There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.” —Michelle Obama
Female empowerment is the movement to empower women to become more involved in the social, political, economical and health sectors. Because of this female empowerment is often associated with the workplace. There are a lot of pressures placed on women to pursue high-powered careers. Unfortunately for myself, and many others, mental health prevents me from following my chosen career. I suffer with anxiety and depression. I have tried to pursue a career, however in doing so I watched my mental health continue to deteriorate. In the spring of 2018 I was forced to quit my job. I felt like a failure to both female empowerment and myself. However, I believe that female empowerment is more than a career; it is about being strong and achieving. I’m not giving up; I’m just refocusing my contribution to female empowerment.
My mental health has been a significant struggle for many years. At the age of eleven, I began to realise that my fear of school and discomfort in public areas was due to the manifestation of my anxiety disorder. More specifically, I suffer from Emetophobia, the fear of vomiting. I eventually withdrew from public school and was home schooled. This seclusion made my condition worse, evolving into a fear of food and leaving my house. Slowly, I built myself back up. With a lot of determination and strength I attended college, received my A-Levels and then went on to study at university. I achieved my undergraduate and Master’s degree. At the time I did not realise the contribution I was making to female empowerment. I was a strong female making accomplishments.
I studied law at university. The profession is highly male dominated and so this alone was furthering female empowerment. During my Masters my mental health began to deteriorate – I found my panic attacks creeping up on me and I skipped classes to avoid confronting my anxiety. Somehow, I completed my Masters but it had taken its toll on my mental health. At this point I began to realise that I did not want to live the rest of my life fighting against my mental health in a career that made me unhappy.
To a certain extent, I was left feeling like female empowerment had passed me by. I am unable to be a successful career woman so what else do I have to offer? However, I now know that I was wrong. Female empowerment has not passed me by. I am a strong woman who gets up every day to fight another day. I am trying to use my time and my voice to encourage others who are suffering, to let them know that we are more than just our mental health and we are strong.
Female empowerment is to accomplish in areas women have previously been denied. It is clear from literature that historically women suffering from mental health problems were considered to be insane. Mental health is part of all of us and women should be allowed to talk about theirs, without fear of judgement. Female empowerment is more than just following career paths; it is about supporting and encouraging other women in all aspects of life. I talk about my mental health to support and encourage others. Female empowerment can be achieved in many different forms of accomplishments.
By Liz Holland
Liz Holland is the founder of a mental health and lifestyle blog Anxiety and Liz, after quitting a job that was making her anxiety and depression worse. She focuses on sharing and documenting her experiences with anxiety, depression and emetophobia.