Depression is a difficult place to live. Statistically speaking, more women than men will deal with depression over the course of a lifetime, yet we know that millions of men will face this difficulty, too.
So why is it so much harder for men to seek professional help when they’re struggling with the debilitating symptoms of depression?
For many men, admitting that things aren’t exactly right – especially when there’s nothing visibly wrong – may feel like exposing a weakness. However, since depression can trigger behaviors that harm and even end relationships with friends, spouses, employers and others, seeking the help of an individual therapist is actually a power move for any man dealing with this issue.
How can I tell if I’m depressed?
The signs of depression include:
- An irritable or sad mood that lingers for at least 2 weeks
- Trouble concentrating
- Noticeable change in appetite and energy
- Feelings of guilt, hopelessness or worthlessness
- Lack of interest in life
- Sleeping much more or much less than usual for you
- Suicidal thoughts
If you are thinking of ending your life, even casually, there is no doubt that you should reach out for professional help. In fact, if you are experiencing one or more symptoms of depression, it’s unlikely you’re going to just “snap out of it.” Most people need medical treatment and extensive social support to overcome depression, and the sooner you begin, the sooner you’ll begin to feel like yourself again.
Men and women may deal with depression differently
Unlike women, men who are depressed may not cry. They may not talk about their feelings or admit that they are considering suicide. They may also be more likely to isolate themselves – for example, refusing to go out with friends or attend family events than usual.
If you’re experiencing depression but trying hard to hide what’s happening, this may lead to angry, aggressive behavior. You may also be masking your feelings by using alcohol or drugs.
None of these approaches is bound to be helpful – and, in fact, by denying what’s happening, you are likely lengthening the time spent locked in depression’s grip.
What’s really going on with me?
Depression is not simply a bad mood that hangs around for a while. It’s a biological state that keeps you feeling down, even despondent, for weeks, months, possibly even years if left untreated.
Many men experience depression in response to a life trauma such as divorce, a death in the family or the loss of a job or business. Others live with a permanent diagnosis known as Major Depressive Disorder, which means they have a lifelong tendency to lapse into periods of depression.
Men who are grappling with depression often develop what is known as a dual diagnosis. For example, they may have been dealing with depression for so long that they’ve also developed a substance abuse problem. For either condition to be eased, both need to be treated together.
What’s my first step?
Finding out more about the roots of your depressed feelings is key. Schedule an appointment with an individual therapist whose office is close to your home or work. You’re more likely to continue counseling if you choose a therapist located in a convenient spot.
If it helps, take an understanding friend along who can give you a ride and offer encouragement. Getting to that first appointment can be tough, especially if you’ve never tried therapy before – but it’s the most powerful thing you can do to help yourself move forward.
Work with a caring individual therapist in the Phoenix area
If you’re a man suffering from depression, or you’re close someone who is, get in touch with Janae Munday, LCSW. Janae has worked with hundreds of men and women to break free of the grip that depression has on their lives.
Call Janae now for a private conversation at a time that’s convenient for you.