This is a guest post by Wade Lang. Wade is an essayist at We Do Essay He incorporates nature’s beauty in his writing. Besides excellence, he puts his lovely wife and two kids at the center of his craft. He is fond of physical contact sports and considers South America as a haven for tourists. Here he writes about depression in men and what they can do about it. Enjoy.
Depression is one of the most incapacitating illnesses in the world. In 2013, it is reported that of the 41,000 reported cases of completed suicide, nearly 80% were men.
Men, by cultural norms, are expected to be strong-willed. However, just like any individual, they aren’t immune to mental illnesses like depression. Believe me when I say that even the most happy and outgoing personality (at least on the surface) can be hit by it. Just take Robin Williams as an example.
The following are the most prominent prejudices people have against men and depression, and the things men can do to alleviate anxiety caused by it.
False Premise #1: Men don’t get depressed; it’s just the normal blues.
Women are twice more likely to be hit by the depression bug than men according to Healthline Network’s published infographic. In connection with that, saying that men don’t get depressed is like saying Hillary Clinton never got a vote in the U.S. election.
Symptoms of depression in men vary. For instance, when my quality of sleep is breached and my surroundings appear less zestful, I know that my depression has been triggered.
What to do: If your mood has been consistently low for a period of at least 2 weeks, it may be time to consider seeing a physician for underlying medical conditions. If your physical examination results are all normal, you may be referred to a psychiatrist.
False Premise #2: Men can shrug off depression easier than women.
Depression’s intensity and length vary for everyone. However, that does not mean that men, in general, have that ‘invincibility cloak’ when it comes to depression.
While most women openly talk about depression and manifest it through different actions (e.g, frequent crying, not going out for days, seeking reassurance that everything will be ‘okay,’ etc.), men may not exhibit depressive symptoms and are likely to suppress it themselves. This, in turn, leads to innumerable cases of untold stories of sorrow and grief.
What to do: Be more vocal about your condition. It’s especially hard to open the issue when you’re dealing with it for the first time, but muster the courage to. You don’t need to tell the world; a handful of confidants who genuinely understand are enough.
False Premise #3: They simply ‘carry on.’
Since most men don’t like appearing vulnerable, they may mask their loneliness and fake their joy when depressed.
My recent major depression episode happened 3 months ago. Back then, all tasks, even the most mundane ones like climbing the stairs or getting dressed, took a lot of effort. When I gazed the mirror, all I saw was an alone person who’ll never have a bright future.
Ignoring and just going on with life – those were the two actions I thought were antidotes to depression, but eventually proved to be poisons. Doing these dragged me into a deeper hole. Why? It’s because I knew deep inside that I was faking it. Nothing seemed real to me that time.
What to do: Faking depression all the time is “soul-destroying.” There are times it’s better off to scream your lungs out and sulk in sadness (don’t do this on public though). Once you let it all out, you’ll feel lighter. Whatever it may be, choose something that doesn’t harm anyone (including yourself).
False Premise #4: Men’s lives have less drama.
This is the worst thing that you can say to a depressed man. Yes, men don’t fret about frizzy hair or red days, but there are other, innumerable things that play on their heads as a result of depression.
In fact, body dysmophic disorder, a type of depressive disorder that makes someone obsessed about their perceived flaws, is equally rampant on both males and females. You can really never tell if a man’s living through hell or just getting by with life because of depression.
What to do: Accept depression – that’s what all depressed men (and women) need to do. If you have diabetes or cancer, would you be ashamed to have regular check-ups with the doctor?
Though it’s easier said than done, consider depression as a manageable adversity. These are some of depression’s gifts:
- You’ll be able to relate to other’s feelings better.
- You’ll appreciate and value life much better post-depression.
- You know how hard it is to be helpless. This enables you to empathize better when others are hit hard in life.
- You get emotionally stronger after each depressive episode.
False Premise #5: Men can just snap out of it in an instant if they “want to.”
This is yet another misconception in depression, particularly in men. It’s not something that disappears hours after you take Zoloft or other SSRI antidepressant meds. Its spell usually takes a considerable amount of time to disappear. Others claim that they’ve overcame depression with sheer willpower, but those are very rare occasions.
If left untreated, depression can lead to suicide or other acts of personal harm.
What to do: Give yourself time to heal. When I say this, don’t see depression as a personal inadequacy. If you’re not in the best mood to work, reconsider your thoughts. If you can’t really go outside and be productive, understand that it’s depression speaking, not you.
To end this post, men’s mental health is of utmost importance too just like how they’re trying to get fit. Men tend to be sturdy amidst all personal mishaps, but once the limits of depression are reached, it may prove to be very harmful. Nevertheless, social support, medication, and psychotherapy are all aimed at making depression more bearable.
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