Are you burying yourself in your work?
Have you found yourself pouring too many drinks, too often?
Does it feel like you can’t be around others without snapping at them or just wanting to get away somewhere by yourself?
What you’re dealing with doesn’t necessarily look like the picture of sad despondence that most people equate with female depression, but male depression is real and often deadly.
How does depression differ in men?
Men escape. While women may focus inward, ruminating on the situations and circumstances of their sadness. Men tend to focus outward, trying to out-run, out-work, or out-do their pain. Many men spend long hours at work or the gym, pushing their bodies and stress levels too high.
Men drink too much, smoke heavily, or worse. Depressed men tend to anesthetise their internal struggles with drugs or alcohol instead of seeking legitimate mental healthcare. This is very different from women who tend to self-medicate with food, friendships, or the pursuit of “love.” Male substance abuse may lead to addiction, which can add to their troubles and distract from the underlying emotional pain they’re suffering. Studies reveal that a significant number of alcoholic men are suffering from major depression.
Men get irritated. Inundated with negative thoughts, men and women generally diverge in their responses. Women internalise, blame themselves, and feel defeated or broken down by intrusive, depressive thinking and self-talk. Men endure a barrage of mental negativity as well. However, their response is generally irritation, blaming others, and outbursts of inappropriate or misplaced anger.
Men lash out. Women tend to avoid conflict. For men, depression is sometimes so unbearable that they feel pushed around by their emotions. They feel pushed around by feelings of inadequacy as their coworkers and loved ones attempt to draw them out. That sense of vulnerability or discomfort may inspire a strong desire to take control and push back. Many men react or overreact to triggers with aggression or hostility. Their ego seems inflated rather than deflated. Conflict becomes a regular part of their interactions. Men may even succumb to fits of violence, alienating their friends or family or running into trouble with the legal system.
Men lose sexual interest or ability. Depression steals the desire to participate in once pleasurable activities for both sexes. Yet for men, low libido and sexual dysfunction due to depression are markedly more significant. Unfortunately men are hesitant to admit they have a problem in this area and the upset they internalise simply feeds the growing depression.
Men end it all. Women attempt suicide more than men. But men are more likely to succeed in their attempts. Men tend to us more lethal means. Older men, struggling with health issues and concerns about their usefulness, have been shown to be the most at risk. The male tendency to refuse treatment, emotional talk, or any disclosure of their intent make prevention much more difficult.
Are you trudging through depression right now, undiagnosed and suffering terribly?
You may see your emotional state as a weakness or a product of your imagination.
You know you don’t want to struggle with depression.
You definitely don’t want to admit your struggle with depression.
But inside, you know you are hurting and coping unproductively.
Without help, you could be walking an ever-fraying tightrope.
Without help you are precariously headed for a catastrophic fall.
Acknowledgement and treatment can help restore and maintain the healthy emotional balance you need.
If you or a man you know is wrestling with depression, seek the help of a professional who can help dismantle the misery.
Call Neil Ward on 07970 860 711if you are interested in counselling for depression.
Sessions are available face-to-face in Glasgow, by telephone, and via Skype video.