Men And Depression – Macho, Macho Man by: Phil Holleman
More than 6 million men in the United States will experience at least one episode of major depression each year. Yet, because of the idea that depression is a “woman" thing, men don’t always recognize the symptoms and seek treatment.
Suck It Up, Dude!
Men tend to believe that they must hold their feelings inside and not express them. We have to “buck up” and “be a man.” We’re not supposed to express our emotions. We must be “macho.”
What happens to this pent-up emotion? For the most part, it’s going to come out at some point. How? Growing anger, aggressiveness, and substance abuse. Or, we take up risk taking activities and addictive behaviors.
Men also fear the stigma of mental illness . We are afraid of how it may affect our careers. What is my family going to think? What are my friends going to think?
"It starts slowly and the only person you’re talking to is yourself. You’re lost. It’s dark, the pain is twenty-four seven…you just want it to end…I’d drink and…I tried to numb my head…but you have to deal with it. It doesn’t just go away." —Patrick McCathern First Sergeant, U.S. Air Force, Retired
You Can't Handle The Truth!
Although men may think these coping strategies are effective, they don’t get rid of the depression. Often, the result is suicide.
The Center for Disease Control reports that men in the United States are about four times more likely to commit suicide than women. Men are likely to:
use methods that are more deadly (guns)
act faster on suicidal thoughts
show fewer warning signs (such as talk of suicide)
Once I was diagnosed with depression, the stigma thing hit me very hard. As I have mentioned before, my self-esteem was already in the toilet. Adding depression to the list of inadequacies compounded the problem. I mean, I really am not much of a man, am I? I’ve been diagnosed with depression.
Those feelings have completely changed. It took a long time, however. We’re talking years. We’re talking serious counseling. Yes, counseling! It led me to make a choice.
I chose to take charge of my life. Notice the word “I.” I chose to stop letting other people be in charge of my life. I choose to make my own choices. I choose to deal with my weaknesses and my strengths.
It’s not easy to do that. But, if you don’t, things build up inside. Ultimately, there will be an “explosion.” Something has to give. That’s how I lost my friend, Chris !
Ladies and gentlemen, stop worrying about what other people think. Stop being afraid to ask for help. You don’t have to be diagnosed with depression to ask for help. As a matter of fact, asking for help will probably keep you from developing depression.
Talk to your spouse. If he or she isn’t willing to listen, go to your spiritual advisor. He or she should be willing to help and point you in the right direction for other assistance.
There is information on the Tools and Resources page which may be of some help. They continue to help me today. I wouldn’t be where I am without them.
Phil Holleman spent 10 years struggling with major depression. After realizing he had the knowledge and strength to rise above the illness and stigma associated with it, he created ABoldNewLife.com to help others who are recovering or desperately want to recover from depression. He hopes you will join him on the journey and use the inner strength to free yourself from the bondage.
What Did You Think?Let me know your thoughts on today's article. Post your comments below.Remember – share the knowledge…Are we connected onTwitter? | Come write on my Facebook wall!Website – More Posts