Did you know that around one in six of us will experience the overwhelming challenges of full-blown depression at some point in our lives! Whilst women seem far more comfortable with the subject and likely to talk about how they are feeling, men often find the whole subject taboo and tend to express their depression in ways that are far harder to spot. And lets put this into perspective by considering some staggering statistics: last year (2012), there were close to 5,000 suicides in England and Wales, of which 77% were male. And amongst the age group 15-34, suicide is the leading cause of death amongst the male population!
Depression is complex (especially in men). It is not just about feeling sad and not something that can be ignored or simply ‘shaken off’. Depression often comes with anxiety (can be extreme). Feelings of low confidence, low self-worth and guilt are common. Depression can be exacerbated by a corresponding inability to concentrate and to make decisions, along with often overwhelming negative thoughts that can be very difficult to control.
So many things can trigger depression…work pressures, relationship break-ups, unemployment, money/debt problems, sexual/physical changes, illness…to name but a few.
Depression in men is usually accompanied by changed behaviour, such as less or no interest in sexual, physical or social activities. Men are often more irritable and can blame those closest to them (or others) for their ‘problems’. On the flip-side, men with depression can often embark on ‘out-of-character’ activities – things that more outgoing/competitive than usual. Alcohol/drugs might be employed as a ‘crutch’ and depression can often be experienced through physical symptoms.
Depression is not only common and normal, it is also treatable. As a first-step, seek the support of your doctor, who may suggest cognitive behavioural therapy, counselling and/or antidepressants.