Many men deny they need help when they are struggling in life. They attempt to stay strong and be in control of their emotions.
However, when men tough it out, suck it up and go it alone emotional, physical and behavioural symptoms of depression worsen and their lives spiral out of control.
Depression is not a weakness; it’s a common emotional health problem with a variety of symptoms.
Unreported and undiagnosed
Some guys are unaware they have depression. Many men experience other symptoms or problems often associated with underlying and unresolved issues. They find themselves masking their depression.
The masking of depression includes:
- Substance Abuse
- Addiction incl. sex, porn, gambling drug and alcohol
- Self harm
- Reckless behaviour
- Family violence
- Relationship breakdown
The masking symptoms can have huge consequences legally, medically and socially. However the underlying issues can also go unrecognised or undiagnosed.
It’s vital men and all those in relationship with them can identify the signs.
Read Men and Depression – The 3 Common Signs to find out more.
How can others help?
Friends, family members and work colleagues often feel like helpless onlookers as they watch the man they know and love spiralling downhill.
Here are some suggestions to anyone who feels helpless.
- Offer him support, understanding, patience, and encouragement.
- Talk to him, and listen carefully.
- Don’t ignore comments about suicide. Report your concerns to his therapist, doctor or emergency services.
- Invite him out for a walk, on outings or other activities. If he resists, keep trying.
- Suggest he reports any concerns about medications to his health care provider.
- Ensure that he gets to his doctor’s appointments. Go with him if necessary.
- Remind him that with time and treatment, the depression will lift. Give him information about depression.
Carrying the weight
Many blokes have great hopes to be tough, emotionally strong, warm, loving, productive and able to provide for their families.
It can be a huge challenge to cope under this enormous weight of expectation.
Consequently, a man’s view of his strength and power becomes confused and threatened.
Male strength and power
Lots of guys hold on to traditional, possibly outdated masculine traits associated with strength and power.
I was fortunate to have participated in a TV Panel Discussion on Men and Depression. In the introduction to the show they encapsulated some of these male traits.
It described men’s strength and power as their ability:
- To overcome obstacles
- To be successful
- To look good
- To be a family man
- To man up and not be a wuss
Significantly, and more importantly, the show highlighted one of the most powerful questions for all men to consider.
What about a man’s strength to see what’s going on inside?
- To recognise when depression effects him
- To open up about how he is feeling
- To ask how he can deal with depression as a man
There is no need for men to suffer in silence or alone.
Men do recover with help in a combination of ways.
Counselling helps to deal with depression and support in finding new ways to cope. Counselling acts as a guide to:
- Identify the triggers for depression
- Develop skills and strategies to move forward
- Uncover and resolve the underlying issues
- Rebuild long-term emotional and physical wellbeing.
There are a number of lifestyle factors that greatly contribute towards managing depression including Exercise, Diet, Sleep, Managing stress and Social connectedness.
Medication can relieve symptoms of depression. However, there are always side effects and finding the right treatment is essential. Consulting with a medical professional is a first step. Medication doesn’t deal with the underlying issues contributing to the depression