Men get depression
Like the rest of the population men get depression, yet they seem reluctant to step forward and get treatment. Do they feel weak or ashamed, embarrassed or that they feel emasculated. Recent research has suggested that as there are changes in society male depression is set to rise.
One reason for the incidence of male depression is often quoted as male inability to share emotions and feelings with friends and family but rather that they should be dealt with on your own. While this is changing, it is true that male bonding happens in a different way. Male social networks are often based around employment or sports. Thus if a man loses his job there is a knock on effect in terms of his chance to inter-act with others. This can lead to a sense of isolation and being cut off from friends with whom you can ease the stress.
Some of the key symptoms of male depression are
- Using alcohol or drugs to mask the symptoms
- Feelings of hopelessness, a low mood and worthlessness
- A lack of energy, often feeling tired all of the time
- A lack of interest in things generally, but particularly in previous hobbies and interests
- Sleep patterns and the ability to make decisions can be affected
- Often there is irritability and anger as part of the depression.
One of the first things in getting help for your depression is to realise that it is not a sign of weakness. You are no less of a man for getting help. If you had a fractured skull you would not think twice about treatment and getting help, so why the reluctance for what’s inside.
The social landscape of talking about depression and mental illness is changing. Effective campaigns have firmly put the spotlight on mental illness, with both celebrities like Stephen Fry and the man in the street talking openly about how it made them feel and how through treatment that they felt better about themselves and their health. When you seek help there are many options open for treatment of depression.
The first stop should be your GP, even though most men are strangers to their doctor, they will find that their GP has the resources and medicines that can make a difference. Often you will be referred to or may choose to see a counsellor. These talking therapies are offering a safe space to talk about how you feel about what is happening. They are safe in a number of ways. The confidentiality offered means that you can be honest about all aspects of your life, for none of what you say will be repeated, but in saying it you and the counsellor can gain perspective and look at different ways to solve the issues. Second counsellors do not seek to judge you so you won’t be seen as weak or stupid or anything else what is offered is support to get you through and back to the person that you would like to be.
It is also useful to let those around you know what is going on, they can offer support as you improve and make the journey easier. There is help out there and men are making a difference to their lives, so if you are worried about your mental health why not pick up the phone to your GP.
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About Graeme Orr
Graeme is a counsellor and author living and working on the south side of Glasgow. In his practice he sees a number of clients with emotional, anxiety and self-esteem that have relevance to us all. His articles are based on that experience and are offered as an opportunity to identify with, or to challenge you to make changes in your life.