Depression In Men
Typically, when you think of depression, what comes to mind? Depression in men often looks, sounds and feels different than it does in women.
Usually, when you picture depression, it’s someone who is sitting alone or who feels sad. Maybe they are overwhelmed by feelings of guilt and have a very negative view of themselves.
Although this is how depression is typically seen, we are learning more all the time about other ways it manifests.
For example, consider how depression can affect men specifically. Sadly, in our society men are discouraged from sharing their emotions, which can have unfortunate consequences.
This means that it’s possible to miss the connections in men, leaving them to struggle with depression without knowing it.
In what specific ways can depression be different for men? Let’s examine.
One key symptom that links men with depression is anger. Anger is often a way for men to let out what they are keeping deep inside.
You might not know why you are angry, but you know that you don’t feel right inside. There are so many negative emotions swirling about they make your head spin. The only way to get them out is through anger.
Of course, you don’t intend for this to happen, but it does.
The connection between anger and depression in men is critical as others only see the results of the anger (hurt feelings and damaged relationships). They miss the underlying cause of the anger, such as pain, guilt, sadness, fear, etc.
Another symptom of depression that is often overlooked in men is irritability, or just plain grumpiness. Consider for a moment if this is you or someone you know.
When you are irritable you are more likely to react to situations poorly, instead of being able to respond in a calm manner. And you may snap back when someone pushes just a little too far.
Irritability isn’t accompanied by the same fireworks as anger. Yet, over time irritability will wear down any relationship. This makes it harder for you to connect with others, which is actually important for fighting depression.
Lack of energy or fatigue is also common for men with depression. You know the stereotype. The man comes home from work after a long day, sits down on the couch, and turns on the TV. They have little interest in engaging with their partner or children.
Their excuse is that they just want to relax, but really the reason lies much deeper.
Yet, instead of talking about what’s wrong, men will often retreat inside. The depression eats up a lot of their excess energy that they could be using for other things in their lives.
4. Lack of Joy
A part of this disengagement includes not enjoying or pursuing the activities that you once enjoyed. Whether it’s playing a musical instrument, pursuing a craft or hobby, or playing a sport. Those things just don’t hold your attention anymore.
It’s actually very frustrating because deep down inside a part of you may still want to do these things. And you may even get started with something. Yet, you quickly lose motivation as the depression kicks in.
Combined with a lack of energy, you find yourself being really stuck in place. For men, this is maddening because often the stereotype is that they are “doers” and now they appear to be lazy.
5. Substance Abuse
Does any of the aforementioned sound like you? Are you angry and irritable a lot and have little energy or interest to do things you typically enjoy? How do you cope with these feelings of depression?
Sadly, men often use substances to deal with their depression.
Substance abuse is the fifth warning sign that you might also be struggling with depression. Whether it’s drinking or drugs, substance abuse is a short-term “solution” to numb feelings of depression. However, in the long-run, these habits do a lot of damage.
Depression in men is usually hidden by symptoms that can distract, confuse, and make the situation more complicated. If you are struggling with depression consider getting professional help from a counselor who understands you and your situation.
To learn more about how I help men with depression click here.