Men and depression; why it’s okay to talk about it.
Men with depression is an important topic to discuss because some men are reluctant to talk about it, recognise they have depression or seek help. This unwillingness to talk about depression is sometimes because men believe depression is a sign of weakness, feeling sad, down or crying is not a ‘manly’ thing to do, ‘real men’ should just ‘suck it up‘ and don’t show emotions or let things bother them.
These ideas can cause men to focus more on the physical symptoms of depression such as being angry or irritated rather then being sad. Men are also less likely to reach out for support until their depression is severe, if at all. Untreated depression can negatively affect your job, relationships and can lead to alcohol or drug problems.
How to recognise if you or someone you love has depression.
Everyone feels sad every once and awhile, but this usually passes. If this sadness doesn’t pass after at least 2 weeks, then this may be depression. Depression affects the ability to feel, think, and handle daily activities. Both men and women get depression, but the symptoms may differ due to men being less likely to talk about it. Here are some common symptoms of men with depression;
- Aggressive, angry or irritable
- Feeling anxious or restless
- Lost of interest in work, family, friends
- Feeling empty or hopeless
- Los of sexual desire
- Sleeping a lot or not enough, feeling tired all of the time
- Overeating or not eating
- Thoughts of suicide
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Loss of concentration and memory
- Inability to meet the responsibilities of work, caring for family, or other important activities
NOTE: You don’t have to have all of these symptoms to have depression.
What causes depression?
Depression is very common in Australian men and can be caused by a combination of reasons including;
- Family history: Men with a family history of depression may be more likely to develop depression than those whose family members do not have the illness.
- Life stressors: financial problems, loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship, major life changes, work problems, stressful situations may trigger depression in some men.
- Medical Illness: There are some illnesses which make a person more susceptible to depression such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or Parkinson’s disease. Sometimes, medications taken for these illnesses may cause side effects that trigger or worsen depression.
What you can do if you think you have depression?
If you think that either yourself or a loved one has depression, then it is best to reach out for support early from a mental health or medical professional. There are also other things you can do that may help such as;
- Spending time with other people that are supportive and talk about how you are feeling.
- Increasing your level of physical activity.
- Don’t try to do too many things at once but take your time and do one thing at a time.
- Eat healthy
- Avoid using drugs or alcohol
- Never ignore thoughts about suicide and talk with a mental health professional or doctor
- Report any concerns about medications to your doctor
Depression can be treated and reaching out for support early on can reduce the symptoms of depression and the length of treatment.
How a man with depression turned his life around.
For some inspiring words from Dan Price who turned his vulnerability into his strength after a Sydney Harbour Bridge suicide attempt watch this short interview. https://youtu.be/2WlJxov1kfQ
Article written by: Kimberley Aguet – Counsellor