What Is Male Depression
As men, we like to think of ourselves as strong and in control of our emotions. When we feel hopeless or overwhelmed by despair we often deny it or try to cover it up. But depression is a common problem that affects many of us at some point in our lives, not a sign of emotional weakness or a failing of masculinity.
Depression impacts millions of men of all ages and backgrounds, as well as those who care about themspouses, partners, friends, and family. Of course, its normal for anyone to feel down from time to time. Dips in mood are an ordinary reaction to losses, setbacks, and disappointments in life. However, male depression changes how you think, feel, and function in your daily life. It can interfere with your productivity at work or school and impact your relationships, sleep, diet, and overall enjoyment of life. Severe depression can be intense and unrelenting.
Unfortunately, depression in men often gets overlooked as many of us find it difficult to talk about our feelings. Instead, we tend to focus on the physical symptoms that often accompany male depression, such as back pain, headaches, difficulty sleeping, or sexual problems. This can result in the underlying depression going untreated, which can have serious consequences.
Depression Can Make Him Seem Like A Different Person
Moffit described the effects of depression on dating as a third person in the relationship, someone unbearably negative or obstinate. There might be days when it seems like this third person possesses your partner, trying his best to disrupt the relationship or come between the two of you.
Without excusing the behavior, be patient and understand this person is not at the core of who your man is. He wants to be free of this person.
Arguing With A Partner Who Is Depressed
Depression takes arguments to a whole new level. For many with depression, sarcastic comments feel more threatening, and conflicts feel more like personal attacks. While you didnt mean to hurt their feelings, rejection sensitivity is a key component of depression.
Will you work with me, to make us work better?
Even a small argument can seem catastrophic to someone with depression. Depressions unhelpful cognitive biases can cause your partners brain to internalize and amplify a single events emotional turmoil.
They may give up easily, believing your issues are unfixable, while you see an argument as a small bump on the road.
This might be because their depression causes helplessness and skepticism, or even because theyve begun to believe the stigma about depression that theres something fundamentally wrong with them, and they cant be fixed.
Here, your communication skills will shine: remind them that the two of you are together for a reason. Theres obviously a reason you want to be around your partner, and you dont believe theyre permanently broken.
Even if you cant help in the same way a doctor or therapist can, you want to be their rock, their safe space. After reassuring them, you can come back to the issue at hand: Will you work with me, to make us work better?
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Signs Your Significant Other Is Depressed
To help your significant other and strengthen your relationship, first you need to recognize the signs of depression.
Depression affects more than 350 million people worldwide. According to the ADAA, depression is an illness that makes someone feel useless, discouraged, unmotivated and hopeless. These feelings can easily be passed off as a case of the blues, but if they inhibit daily activities like going to work or negatively affect relationships with family and friends, your significant other may have a more severe case of depression. Depression not only affects your significant other, but can harm your relationship and other relationships if left untreated.
Depression shows itself in many forms and not all the signs are easy to see. Some have depression more severely than others but all need help and treatment just the same. According to studies on depression and marital satisfaction, if your significant other is depressed, it increases dissatisfaction in your relationship and can lead to separation. To help your significant other and strengthen your relationship, first you need to recognize the signs of depression:
2. Critical and negative attitude
Having a critical and negative attitude is not only destructive for a relationship but demeans and belittles others. Someone who is suffering depression cant easily be optimistic about life or the future. Therefore, they only say critical and negative comments. This is a telltale sign of depression.
Supporting A Partner With Depression
We asked our supporters for advice on how to support a partner who has depression.
Be patient with them and try and go with the flow as much as possible. As hard and weird as that sounds.
Understanding how depression affects your partner can be key to building a healthy, supportive relationship that cares for the mental wellbeing of both partners.
Depression can cause people to withdraw, behave differently or become more irritable. Common symptoms include insomnia, feelings of worthlessness and loss of interest in activities. It can even lead to physical aches and pains.
Living with depression for a longer period of time can take a toll on your partner’s levels of energy, motivation and passion. It’s important not to take changes personally or as a reflection of your partner’s investment in the relationship.
“Keep doing things that you both enjoy.”
Depression, like many mental health problems, can take over your life. Its important to remember and remind your partner that the depression diagnosis is only a part of their identity. They also have many other roles and interests. Being able to fulfil these roles is a big part of recovery.
We know that exercise and staying active can protect our mental health. You may like to suggest going for a walk or visiting your favourite places. Keep trying but dont push too much if they arent ready to join you.
You may notice gradual changes in their mood, rather than a massive improvement from one moment to the next.
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Create A Purpose Not An Expectation
When you do not live with a mental illness, it is difficult to comprehend how overwhelming depression can be. A task as small as taking a walk down the street can feel arduous and unnecessary.
Develop Small Goals
These can be little steps such as getting out of bed earlier. Or they can be more significant steps such as applying for a job. If youre looking into a more significant step, its best to create multiple small goals. In the example of the job, achievement can be updating a resume or researching job ads.
Its important to note that these should be expectations. Depression has a mind of its own. Each small goal you make isnt a given. What matters is showing your support by sticking by their side regardless of whether they make goals or not. And if they do, dont be afraid to celebrate their accomplishments.
Really Listen To Them
Giving your partner the space to open up about their mental health is super important. Even if they dont want to, having the option will help them feel that you truly care about their struggles. Make it known that you hear their struggles and find the empathy needed to do so. If they choose to not speak to you about it, sometimes sitting with them in silence can be the best support for them.
Also Check: How Do I Support Someone With Depression
My Partner Is Depressed But So Am I
As a 20-year-old newlywed, I felt irrationally confident about my marriage expertise. Seeking to impart some of that wisdom on my surely receptive Facebook friends, I posted the quote, âLove is when another personâs happiness is more important than your own.â
Other professionals I spoke with shared some practical tips for coping when a couple battles depression.
Help Them Keep A Mood Log
If they’re open to the idea, help your partner assess how they feel â whether it’s in an app or an actual journal meant to track their ups and downs.
“Mood logs are important in tracking when moods are elevated or normal and keeping track of what was going on during that time to help treat symptoms before it gets too severe,”Dr. Patrice N. Douglas, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle. “In keeping a mood log, you will be able to identify if they are going through an episode so you can better support them.”
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Ways To Help Your Partner Struggling With Depression
Guest Feature Written By Paul James
Mental illness is a hard conversation to have with those around us, even when its with our significant other. People tend to hold tightly onto the most fragile aspects of their lives. I have learned this from being in a relationship with my girlfriend who struggles with depression.
Accept That There Will Be Bad Days
People with depression have good days and bad days. To deal with the bad days:
- expect that they will happen
- understand that this is a normal part of depression
- do not withdraw love or support during these times
- take some time out and do something enjoyable, either alone or with others
- remember that not every day will be like this there will be good days too
Read Also: What Do People Do When They Are Depressed
Consider Seeing A Therapist
It seems ironic, right? Shouldnt he be the one seeing a therapist?
It is a good idea for him to see a therapist if he isnt already, but committing to therapy yourself is much easier than asking him to do it. Working with a therapist helps mitigate the stress of being in a relationship with a man who deals with depression. It will allow you to better understand what he is going through and lead by example if he is resistant to therapy.
Its also an opportunity to takes steps towards asking him to join you for couples therapy. Again, this might be easier than convincing him to see a therapist alone.
Read The Truth About People Who Go to Therapy: 11 Misconceptions and Myths
They Can Be More Irritable
All of the therapists Talkspace spoke to described men with depression as being more irritable on average than their female clients.
They can fly off the handle or have a short fuse, said therapist Roudabeh Rahbar. She also used words including moody and touchy to describe male clients.
Therapist Candice Christiansen said they often had more anger issues and struggled with being too serious about the subject of depression or anxiety.
Men often hide depression because they see it as a sign of weakness, Christiansen said, but the symptoms tend to seep out in the form of irritability and fatigue.
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Differences Between Grief And Depression
Everyone grieves differently. Some people may have symptoms that are very similar to depression, such as withdrawal from social settings and intense feelings of sadness. However, there are very important differences between depression and grief.
Symptom duration. People with depression feel depressed almost all the time. Grieving people often have symptoms that fluctuate, or come in waves.
Acceptance of support. People with depression often begin to isolate themselves and may even shun others. People who are grieving may avoid vibrant social settings, but they often accept some support from loved ones.
Ability to function. Someone who is grieving may still be able to go to work or school. They may even feel that participating in these activities will help occupy their mind. However, if youre clinically depressed, you may experience symptoms so severe that youre unable to go to work or do other important tasks.
Grief can be a trigger for depression, but not everyone who grieves will experience depression.
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For people struggling with depression, its important to have compassion and to take action to overcome this state, including seeking professional help. Remember that the negative thoughts you are experiencing are likely being driven by depression, not by a person. Depression can lead to the ultimate negative outcome of death, so please consider calling National Hotline if your significant other is experiencing thoughts of self-harm. SAMHSAs National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.
There are many types of treatment that have proven to be effective for depression, but two are the most effective: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy .
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy . CBT is problem-focused and action-oriented meaning it is used to treat specific problems related to depression and the therapists role is to assist the patients in finding and practicing effective strategies to address the identified goals and decrease symptoms of the disorder and limit adverse outcomes.
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Understand Its A Long Journey
I can tell you that healing happens. It is not a quick journey. It takes time, youll need patience.
There will be ups and downs. Healing is not a straight line. Processing can be slow. So take care of yourself and take care of your significant other. Youre in it for the long haul and theres light at the end of the tunnel.
Dating Someone With Depression: What You Should Know
Dating someone with depression can be tough. It is difficult to see someone you care about struggle and not able to help them. If your loved one has depression, he or she may feel hopeless or show signs of social withdrawal, which can leave you feeling like you did something wrong when you did not. Understanding depression can help you communicate with your partner when their depression manifests. By learning and practicing new relational skills, you can foster connection and closeness with your partner, even when they are struggling with depression. You can learn how to support your partner and how to be supported.
Although, it might be time to be concerned about your relationship. You can definitely be in a healthy relationship with someone who has a mental illness but keep an eye out for when things get unhealthy. If any of the red flags come up, dont ignore them. Violence or abuse of any capacity should not be tolerated, regardless of mental illness status. Your safety is important, and that comes first.
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Coping With Depression Tip : Reach Out And Stay Connected
Getting support plays an essential role in overcoming depression. On your own, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy perspective and sustain the effort required to beat depression. At the same time, the very nature of depression makes it difficult to reach out for help. When youre depressed, the tendency is to withdraw and isolate so that connecting to even close family members and friends can be tough.
You may feel too exhausted to talk, ashamed at your situation, or guilty for neglecting certain relationships. But this is just the depression talking. Staying connected to other people and taking part in social activities will make a world of difference in your mood and outlook. Reaching out is not a sign of weakness and it wont mean youre a burden to others. Your loved ones care about you and want to help. And if you dont feel that you have anyone to turn to, its never too late to build new friendships and improve your support network.
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Avoid The Vicious Circle
If your depressed spouse withdraws from you or has angry outbursts all the time, itâs easy to feel hurt and alienated, and react with similar behaviors, says Jacques Barber, PhD, Dean, Gordon F. Derner School of Psychology at Adelphi University in Garden City, NY.
âThis can create a vicious circle and make the spouse with depression even more depressed, alienated, angry, and retreating into themselves,â he says. âYou have to realize that dealing with depression is very difficult, and your partner isnât doing something malicious. Itâs the depression. If someoneâs angry with you all the time, you want to be angry back! But remember: Depression isnât contagious. This wonât last forever and can be treated. Itâs easy to blame yourself. But most couples do survive this.â
Should you schedule an intervention with other friends and family to approach your depressed spouse about their issues? Be careful before you take this step, Ben-David says.
âItâs important not to be accusatory. Itâs more important to observe and let them know what youâve noticed. Say, âIâve seen you looking more sullen and unhappy.â Talk about the changes youâve observed,â he says. Itâs OK to share your feelings too, and let your spouse know that youâre hurt by specific behavior changes. âTell them, âWeâre not having sex anymore. Youâre not spending time with me.ââ
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What To Do When Both Partners Have Depression In A Relationship
What To Do When Both Partners Have Depression In A Relationship What To Do When Both Partners Have Depression In A Relationship
One in six people will experience depression at some point in their life, according to the American Psychiatric Association. That means it’s not totally unlikely that two people with depression can end up in a relationship with each other. As rates of depression continue to rise worldwide, so, too, do these double-depression relationships. But it’s possible to have a healthy long-term relationship in these circumstances. With clear boundaries, mutual support, and robust communication, two people with depression can absolutely make it work for the long haul. Here’s what two therapists advise on how to cope when both partners have depression in a relationship.