The symptoms of depression in men
I imagine that you've landed here looking for info on depression in men for one of two reasons:
You are the partner (or concerned individual) of a man who you suspect is suffering from depression, but who refuses to access help of any kind.
You are a man suffering from depression and you may not be keen to visit any healthcare provider.
I would not even be surprised if you've even switched on private browsing so that no one can find out that you've been looking for information on depression.
Of course, I'm making assumptions here - but I know that many men would much prefer to cope by themselves with whatever's bothering them rather than ask for advice.
Talking to a counsellor? That may feel like an even bigger step.
There's a chance you find it difficult to seek help for another reason. Perhaps you yourself have been less than sympathetic in the past towards people with mental health problems: "Burn-out? More likely swinging the lead! Depressed? Oh for goodness' sake - pull yourself together!"
That may have been your response even if you knew you were teetering on the brink of a breakdown yourself.
So, are you too living two different lives - the one your family and friends see and the one you're living inside of you...?
Are depression symptoms in men different than in women?
I'm a little hesitant to talk about how men and women differ, after all each one of us as unique as any star in the sky and I see gender as being on a continuum.
I rather like Prof Baron Cohen's assertion that you can have either a female brain or a male brain regardless of your gender (and that's a huge generalisation of course). Cohen asserts that the female brain expresses more empathy and the male brain looks for structure. And then there's everything in between!
Nevertheless, research shows that women are more at risk of suffering from depression than men. Yet...
These are the things many men (though women too, of course) worry about.
Specific signs of depression in men
Of course, many of the signs of depression in men are the same as in women, so do read my page: Warning signs of depression.
However, here are the signs more specific to many men who could be diagnosed with depression...
See the results of this study on MedicalExpress.com: Depression affects the brains of males and females differently.
Do you recognise these symptoms of depression?
It's unlikely that you woke up one morning thinking you were depressed. It's much more likely that you've been suffering from some physical and emotional 'niggles' which have become more and more bothersome over time:
Men are more likely to think about crashing into the back of a lorry or central reservation, not opening their parachute, faking an accident of any kind or hanging themselves. Incredibly sadly, many men go on to act on those thoughts.
Before you get to that stage - get help now! You can connect with a professional, licensed therapist - in confidence. It's very easy to set up an online session these days. For further information, see my page on online, professional counselling for depression.
A life spent making mistakes is not only honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing."
- George Bernard Shaw, Irish Playwright and co-founder of the London School of Economics
Suicide and depression in men
Thinking about death doesn't necessarily mean you're suicidal right now.
However, I really would like you to think carefully about the meaning of your thoughts.
You may have thought about suicide, though you know you wouldn't do it. Perhaps because of your children, your partner or some other reason that is meaningful to you.
However, the following points are particularly telling about your state of mind and of great concern:
Sadly men are three to four times more likely to commit suicide than women. This is because men are more likely to take action when they see no escape.
Therefore you could potentially very quickly shift from:
"I'm not going to kill myself, because..."
"I'm no good to anyone, they're much better off without me."
Postpartum depression in men
Postpartum depression is most commonly associated with women who’ve recently given birth. But, it’s not a condition exclusive to mums. Dads can suffer too.
Of course, you won’t have had the same physical experience of birth - but you’ll certainly have been riding the emotional roller coaster of pregnancy and birth with your partner. This can leave men just as susceptible to postpartum depression as women.
A new baby - whilst hopefully being a bundle of joy and happiness! - can bring chaos and exhaustion to your life, both physically and mentally:
- Sleep is often hard to come by - it can feel like the minute you drop off, the baby’s crying and it’s time to comfort/feed/change/settle them, again!
- There’s constant care and attention to be given - to the baby, and your partner
- If it’s your first child, there are all sorts of lessons to be learnt, and all straight away!
- If you’re the breadwinner, you may feel more pressure to provide financially for your family
- Paternity leave can often be very short, depending where in the world you are. So you might be back at work before you feel you’ve had time to properly bond, or you might feel guilty for ‘escaping’ the house every day and leaving your partner behind
- Of course, if you were already having relationship problems or you’ve separated from your partner, you’ll be dealing with a whole host of other emotions depending on how and when you can see your new baby, and how your partner’s coping too
Feelings of being unable to bond properly with your baby can be a sign of postpartum depression in men too. As can suffering from endless and debilitating anxieties about whether you’re ‘doing it right’ or if you’re ‘good enough’ to be a dad.
Becoming listless, disinterested and unmotivated, or feeling guilty, worried and permanently stressed can also indicate that you might be suffering from postpartum depression too.
There’s no shame in it. Just because it’s more commonly associated with women, it doesn’t mean the way you feel is ‘wrong’ or that you should just ‘man up’.
There’s help for men who suffer from postpartum depression too, if you need it. So never be afraid to ask.
Where to seek help
If you're suffering with depression, whether or not you're feeling suicidal, I would so like you to reach out to someone you trust:
- Talk to your partner - he or she might finally get to understand why you're not the person they fell in love with
- Find out if you have access to a workplace counselling service or if you can be referred to a counsellor, therapist or psychologist
- Visit your local health services as they should be well-versed in helping men who are suffering from depression
- Your church community and/or religious leader
- Connect with a professional, licensed therapist -online (click the link for further information)
If you really can't face seeking outside help right now, do have a look at my page about self-hypnosis. Self-hypnosis, with a download specific to your situation, is a powerful, easy and cost-effective way to start helping yourself... and all from the comfort and privacy of your own home.
Depression symptoms in men may include sexual problems
Recent research has shown that depression can lower testosterone levels. This is a change from the previous assertion that men are more likely to be depressed because of their testosterone levels being below par. So depression symptoms in men can include a low libido for example.
It can become a vicious circle of course. You don't fancy having sex - your partner complains - your relationship or marriage suffers - you become depressed - you really can't face having sex.
The good news is that actually having sex, stopping smoking and leading an active, healthy lifestyle are all likely to increase your testosterone levels. What are you waiting for?
Need a little inspiration?
Take a look at this video to see how you really can overcome depression, and move forwards into a happier more fulfilling future...
I would love you to start taking care of yourself, and stop shying away from seeking help with your depression. Why not start by reading the 'Related Articles' here on my site? I promise you, there is so much you can do to help yourself get better again, and my site is here to help you do just that.
Please know that...
- you don’t need to be competitive
- you don’t need to be fearless
- you don’t need to be able to provide
- you don’t have to impress anyone
... to prove that you’re a man
Also, as a man, you too…
… are allowed to cry
... are allowed to care and have feelings
… allowed to ask for support
… are allowed to enjoy close friendships
… can hug another man because you love him as a friend
… can care for the emotional well-being of others in your own unique way
Dare to be yourself! :-)
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