According to the article by Gilman titled "Why I...
Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" is based on the author's own experiences with a faulty system for people who suffer from psychological conditions; a system devoid of knowledge about the true needs of female mental health sufferers.
According to the article by Gilman titled "Why I Wrote the Yellow Wallpaper," she once visited a physician who advised her, upon learning of her issues with depression, to abandon all intellectual activity
[...] a noted specialist in nervous diseases[...] put me to bed and applied the rest cure, [...] and sent me home with solemn advice to "live as domestic a life as far as possible," to "have but two hours' intellectual life a day," and "never to touch pen, brush, or pencil again" as long as I lived....
The result of this treatment was that Gilman completely broke down, reverting to one of the worst depressive episodes of her life. Hence, she wrote "The Yellow Wallpaper," in her own words,
to save people from being driven crazy, and it worked
This being said, let's explore how many different examples of oppression, all of which Gilman experienced in her own skin, we can find in the story:
1. "He does not believe that I am sick"
Jane, the narrator, explains that her husband is a physician but that he does not believe in the reality of her feelings.
If [...] one's own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression—a slight hysterical tendency—what is one to do?
The oppression here is caused by the utter disregard to the needs of this woman. She has been sending signals that she needs help, and she continues to be ignored, even by her own husband. The oppression comes in the form of pushing onto her the belief that "she is OK."
2. Jane's brother is also a physician who agrees with Jane's husband that there is nothing wrong with her. They both advise that she stops working—that her stimulation is taken away to rest. Still, she senses that there is something very wrong with that.
Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good. But what is one to do?
Again, she feels helpless: "What is one to do?" The oppression from the men in her life comes from demanding that she stops finding succor in work. They are also downplaying her emotions in the process. She is not free to be herself or to apply the treatment that she feels is needed.
3. John, the husband, seems to want to take away everything that causes any inspiration in Jane. He closed the window of her room when he decided for Jane that something she felt was a draught. As a result, she became angry with him. Still, she doubts her right to be mad.
I get unreasonably angry with John sometimes. I'm sure I never used to be so sensitive. I think it is due to this nervous condition. But John says if I feel so, I shall neglect proper self-control; so I take pains to control myself—before him, at least, and that makes me very tired.
She is trying too hard to comply with whatever her husband tells her to do. She does not realize that she is neglecting her own needs during a very delicate time and that her condition is truly serious.
4. John, the husband, is so overbearing that she is starting to confuse his meddling with "caring." He is oppressing her to the point of causing her hide her writing from him. He is driving her crazy.
There comes John, and I must put this away,—he hates to have me write a word.
5. John's disregard makes her feel unimportant. He refers to his other patients as "serious cases." That is a form of oppression because it shows that he is imposing upon her a false label of "wellness."
John does not know how much I really suffer. He knows there is no REASON to suffer, and that satisfies him.
6. Not only does John disregard his wife, but he also pushes her to snap out of her current state with the threat of sending her to a doctor that deals with cases of nervous breakdowns. She is scared, so she is forced to hide her condition even more.
John says if I don't pick up faster he shall send me to Weir Mitchell in the fall.
But I don't want to go there at all. I had a friend who was in his hands once, and she says he is just like John and my brother, only more so!
It is no wonder that she starts seeing a woman in the yellow wallpaper of the room, and it is no surprise that she breaks down completely trying to "liberate" the woman.