Male depression is a taboo topic which has come to the public’s attention for good reasons this year. Social media are playing a role in this, as men suffering with depression are finding a medium to express themselves through. The courage of some individuals is bringing change since they are not only leading by example but are also informing people of a condition that is very real and dangerous to your mental and physical health. Groups are forming in which men can discuss how depression is affecting their lives and what they are doing to deal with it.
By discussing a condition like depression, more and more men are feeling encouraged to either find a solution by following other’s advice or to see a specialist.
Why is male depression a taboo?
Society doesn’t raise men to show weakness, this is a strong statement but in many cases it is true. Men are encouraged from a young age to be strong and “control their emotions”. Although parents or teachers don’t intend to encourage a kid to close themselves in and lock their emotions, certain assumptions and expectations could lead young men or boys to feel this way.
Society has changed a lot in the last half century and this is largely due to the balance of rights and responsibilities between men and women. These changes will likely change the evolution of humans as the roles of men and women are becoming more common and similar than ever before. But mechanisms in our traits and genes still tell us to do things differently. Cultural habits, traditions and even stories from the elderly in combination with these genes and mechanisms create a profile that men think they have to fit. The profile of the protector and “strong”one who rarely expresses his feelings.
The sum of these expectations and behavioral teachings lead men to mask their depression and its symptoms sometimes. Leaving the condition un-diagnosed and with potentially disastrous results in the long run.
What are the symptoms of depression in men?
- Feeling empty, not finding a purpose to do things
- Fatigue, feeling tired
- Things you enjoyed doing in the past no longer excite you
- Bi-polar behavior, sudden inexplicable anger
- Substance abuse, ie. Alcohol, Drugs
- Eating too much or too little
- Escaping responsibilities
Getting help when you need it
If you suspect you are suffering of depression its reason enough to discuss it with a loved one, friend or family. If you actually did this on a regular basis or are doing it, you are using your best weapon against depression, congratulations.
For many though, talking to somebody close to them may not be an option. You might feel like this if you have already distanced yourself a lot as a result of your depression or maybe because the root of your depression is not something you want to discuss with others. In such cases seeing a professional should be your priority. A psychologist or other specialist knows for to listen to you and interpret your thought for what they really are. You wont feel the inhibition caused by judgement and most importantly you will receive advice on how to turn things around for yourself.
Start making changes yourself
There are so many things you could do to fight depression. Here are just some that work for many others who have been there before or are still depressed but improving their condition daily:
- Seek support – Talk to a friend, family member, or professional. The last section should have made clear just how important this is!
- Get active – Play a sport, hit the gym or go fishing. If you take a friend along so much the better. Just don’t turn down the next invitation you get for a ball game.
- Eat healthy – Fluctuations in blood sugar in your body is deeply linked to your mood. Eat 5 meals a day and keep them as natural and unprocessed as possible!
- Plan and Cope – Set some feasible goals and stay focused on them. Meditating could help you relieve anxiety and control undesired thoughts.
Depression is manageable, so dont let it get worst as the results could be devastating.