As a I stated before in previous a post, everyone will experience a bout of depression throughout their lifetime. It’s more common for women to be diagnosed with depression than men. But mental illness doesn’t discriminate. Mental illness can occur regardless if you’re male or female.
It’s estimated that close to 5 million men are diagnosed with depression and many others go undiagnosed. The signs of depression between women and men are different. Women will experience more anxiety than sadness. But men, tend to use alcohol or drugs even become violent as per to women who are more likely to develop eating disorders. What’s even more alarming is that men are more likely to commit suicide than women. And another major difference between men and women, is that men tend to avoid talking about depression and also hide their emotions, let alone seek treatment.
Like women, men can experience depression at any age. Again, men and women react differently when it comes to medications. Because men and women’s bodies are different their response to treatment varies.
So how do you know if your husband, brother, relative or friend has depression? How can you get them to open up? It’s very difficult for men to admit they are depressed. If you notice that they’re: drinking more, contemplating suicide, stressed out, agitated and more hostile, then there’s a problem going on. Again, some men aren’t as open in talking about feelings as us women are. But all hope isn’t lost. Communication is the key. In any kind of relationship, one of the biggest components should be communication. There should an open platform for talking and there should be no secrets at all. Not communicating at all can damage a relationship very quickly. One of the deal breakers for me in relationships is open communication. There should be constant dialogue and absolutely, NO secrets, whatsoever.
My dad suffered from depression and didn’t talk about nor seek treatment when he lost his parents in the 2000’s. He lost his father in 2003 due to heart problems, and lost his mother in 2007 due to Alzheimer’s. I knew my father was struggling but he didn’t open up and talk about it. The upside is that he didn’t become violent or turn to alcohol. There really is no shame in confiding with someone who loves and trusts you. Talking is helpful is so many ways. It took him a while to get through his depression, but I really wished he would’ve told me about his struggles.
I know a couple of guys that I work with have depression. One of the guys lost his brother in a violent car accident and was very depressed because of this. Also both of the guys are gay (and proud), but when people found out that they were gay, they weren’t accepted by most people in our society. I fully support everyone’s decision including their sexual preferences, but don’t support people who think that being gay is wrong. Again, it’s their life and their choice. I remember I tried until I was blue in the face to get my co-workers to open up me in private because I know what depression is like. At first, they were reluctant, but eventually, I was their go-to person to talk. Remember, that mental illness is no joke. This happens to everyone and be supportive and non-judgmental to those people living with mental illness.
Here are some tips that I used to try to get men to open:
- Be the person that a man can completely trust and connect with on a private and intimate level
- Talk about what’s going on his life vs. just asking about his feelings (most men won’t share their feelings) (Typical male!)
- Listen to what he has to say and remember denial is always the first sign
- Be supportive! Men tend to cope with their feelings than us women by using drugs, alcohol, act out and display anger towards others and even sex to make them feel happy
- Get help if the talk becomes serious such as a man saying that he wants to end his suffering
Men, don’t be ashamed if you suffer from depression! Would you apologize if you had cancer or any other illness than mental illness? No. Why should admitting that you’re depressed be so hard? There’s always help out there and someone you can count on.