Society portrays men to be tough. This is the reason men tend to put off getting any help as they think they are supposed to be self-reliant, take charge of situations, and manage pain. It makes it difficult for them to acknowledge their health problems, let alone a mental health condition.
Most men don’t like to talk about their emotions. They fear exposure. So, if your father, husband, brother, son, friend, or any other male loved one is suffering from depression they might not show it.
Suicide among males is higher in males than females by four times. Men fare worse than women when it comes to health issues. Men are more likely to get heart attacks, cancers, be diagnosed with alcohol abuse, and suffer from rage.
Despite the alarming facts, men with depression are less likely to receive proper medical treatment, majorly due to the perceived social pressures to be in control and strong.
Depression: Those who don’t have it don’t get it
Depression isn’t about feeling sad or frustrated. It is about feeling out of control to handle your emotions and the inability to find a way out. Though everyone feels low occasionally if someone has been moody, sad, unstable, angry, suffering from insomnia, or lack of concentration for more than two weeks and sometimes without any relevant reason, this hints towards depression.
Depression is a serious condition that affects your mental and physical health. It is much more than just a low mood. People who are suffering from depression or have suffered in the past have their way of describing it. Some describe it as “living in a black hole” or “a prison where you are both the prisoner & jailor” or having an intense feeling of emptiness, impending doom, and detachment. Men can feel restless and angry specifically.
Intense feelings of hopelessness and helplessness are symptoms of depression. You feel crying for no reason. Victims may seem normal when they sit among their loved ones but the moment they are left alone, they feel sadness.
Regardless of how helpless you feel you can always get better. Recognizing the cause, symptoms, and type of depression, you can feel better and overcome this mental evil.
Causes of Depression: Every 1 in 8 men suffers from it
Emotional ups and downs are part and parcel of normal life. However, in depression, the downs of life impact seriously, and don’t let you overcome them. None of you is immune to depression. Social, psychological, and biological factors can make you vulnerable to it.
Some of the common triggers are:
- Adverse childhood events
- Death of a loved one
- Personal history of alcohol or drug abuse
- Feeling lack of purpose
- Isolation due to aging
- Recent stressful life experiences- loss in business, unemployment, bereavement, etc.
- Marital or relationship problems
Signs of Depression: Not be ignored
Men have a different way to express that they are in a problem. Signs of depression can look completely different in men than in women making them difficult to diagnose and understand.
If your loved one seems moody, you need to check on him. Men disguise their problems by complaining about life’s petty nuisances. For instance, if he is rambling about a small issue such as weather, and you are suspecting him with some problem, it could be a sign that something is wrong deeply.
Most people don’t associate irritability or anger with depression. However, these emotional signs are not unfamiliar to those with the condition. Some men, instead of appearing sad display their hidden depression through suppressed anger, frustration, irritability, and aggression. Men fighting depression may feel restless, agitated, or even violent. They have short temper, show low tolerance, and everyone and everything gets on their nerves.
Loss of Concentration
When he loses his train of thought or trails off during conversations, it could be a sign of concentration or memory issues, which is one of the common signs of depression. This may impact your personal and work life badly making your relationships quite challenging. You face trouble while focusing, remembering things, and making decisions. Patients tend to go blank with their minds.
People refer to hidden depression as smiling depression as the men who hide them tend to put on happy faces among the company of others. It can be very hard to detect. It may seem like they don’t have any reason to be sad. They have a home, a nice job, or even children. They put on a mask for the outside world while seemingly living active and normal lives.
However, they feel down and hopeless inside and sometimes even have thoughts of ending it all. Smiling depression is the most dangerous one as it can make suffering men vulnerable to suicide.
Most of the men suffering from depression may use alcohol or drugs to cope up with their feelings of loneliness and sadness. More than 20% of men who are suffering from a mood disorder such as depression also have a substance use disorder. Besides, research has shown that men with a drinking problem are twice prone to depression as men who don’t drink. It’s a cultural bias. Men think they should be able to fix everything by themselves so uses what chemicals available to them to do it.
Help your loved one to fight depression
Men tend to be less proficient at identifying depression signs, honesty annealed with compassion is crucial. However, offering empathy and understanding to someone whose behavior is wrenching the relationship is challenging especially if they are men who feel it’s against their ego to accept help.
You don’t have to have all the answers or say anything clever, but you need to be there for them and listen to them. Sometimes it just takes to break the ice, start a conversation and simply ask if they are FINE!
Get your loved ones out of this social stigma of mental health concerns and show them the path of help. Early intervention leads to a quick recovery.