Men: Don’t Ignore Signs Of Depression
Anger or aches and pains can hide underlying depression. Seek prompt treatment to protect your heart and mind.
Most people think of depression as persistent sadness or “down” feeling. But the blues can come in different colors in men. Depression may also show itself as irritability and angry outbursts, or physical aches and pains. “A man with depression is more likely to practice denial of feelings, often trying to mask them with other behaviors,” says Dr. Gregory Fricchione, director of the Division of Psychiatry and Medicine at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
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Causes Of Depression That You Might Be Unaware Of
The notions that men are supposed to be self-reliant, tough, immune to feelings, take charge of the situation and manage pain have hindered them from seeking help.
Although studies show that more women are affected by depression than men, depression is and has been a common problem among men.
It is okay for a man to feel hopeless or overwhelmed by despair, what is not okay is to deny it or hide it from yourself and those around you, or to try to mask your feelings with other behaviours.
Just like a deep cut on your foot or a broken arm, depression cant heal without help, medical or otherwise.
Remember, depression is not a weakness, its an illness. There is nothing wrong with you seeking help when suffering an ailment.
So, what are some of the causes of depression in men?
Im Here If You Want To Talk
This is more of a direct suggestion, choosing something that you know the friend or loved one is going to be interested in doing. Maybe they just want to talk . Maybe they need a nudge to get up, get changed, and go out and just do something anything. You can be that person to help them get moving.
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Conditions That May Seem To Be Depression But Aren’t
Be prepared for any responseanger, fear, crying, resignation, desperation, and just about any other emotion you can think of. Whatever the response, be willing to sit there and to let him get it out. Listen with patience and compassion. Make sure he knows you care and want to help. Do not leave until you feel certain he is not a danger to himself or anyone else.
Most of all, you need to let him know that help is available, so he doesnt have to always feel this way. Ideally, you will steer him to both a medical doctor and a certified psychotherapist who specializes in depression and related issues. Clergy members can also help, as can friends, family, and support groups for men dealing with depression.
If he is willing to listen, you can educate him about treatments for depression, which include:
- Individual therapy, where he can explore thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and develop coping skills to help manage depression.
- Group therapy, with the same basic goals as individual therapy, but with added support from others who are also fighting depression.
- Medications can help a depressed individual manage the symptoms .
- Support groups for men with depression provide confidential spaces for depressed men to share openly and honestly and to support one another.
- Eating healthier, developing healthy sleep habits, and exercising regularly are helpful in combatting depression.
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They Have Talents And Interests
We all have talents and abilities. We all have stinky breath too. Your depressed loved ones love to do something too, no doubt. And, guess what? They can probably do it really, really well! If you dont know what it is, then, youve just found your next mission. Go find out. Help them find what their true passion is. Seek out ways to grow that passion, to develop and hone that passion and ultimately erase that negative identity that comes with fighting against depression.
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How To Deal With A Depressed Boyfriend
The World Health Organization estimates that over 264 million people suffer from depression globally. This estimate cuts across all ages, meaning you likely know someone battling this mental illness if you arent yourself.
Depressed people are our friends, our siblings, our parents, our partners and they deserve all the support they can get.
When you dont know what to do to make a depressed loved one feel better, it can be numbing. You want more than anything to cheer them up, yet, most of the time, you cant help but feel powerless. Or worse, you end up making your partner feel worse.
Being in a relationship with a partner that gets depressed a lot can be incredibly challenging, no one prepares for that. As much as you want to support him, youd definitely prefer if he was mostly happy all the time.
What Ive come to learn, however, is that one should never underestimate the power of words. When it comes to depression, especially your partners, there is such a thing as the right and wrong things to say.
They May Not Have As Much Energy As They Would Like To Have
One of the symptoms of depression is fatigue or lack of energy. One of the most helpful antidepressants that has been proven by research is exercise. I realize that maybe you have heard of this recommendation before, but let me be a little more specific. The type and duration of exercise can vary, but the minimum that could have an effect is to do fast walking at least three times a week for 30 minutes each time. That is the amount of exercise someone needs in order to feel an anti-depressive effect.
Isnt that convenient? So, if the sun is out and the breeze is whispering for you to come out and play, invite your loved one out for a walk. They may not see an immediate effect, or they actually may! Either way, exercising in this way is increasing their chances of beating depression and increasing their energy levels.
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What Is Depression In Men
Depression is a serious mental health condition that affects how you feel, think, and handle daily activities. It can make you feel sad, irritable or empty and lose pleasure or interest in things you usually enjoy. While it is normal to feel down sometimes, if you feel this way for 2 weeks or more you may be experiencing depression.
Social norms that define masculinity, like not talking about your feelings or not getting upset, can sometimes make it hard for men to acknowledge that they may be experiencing depression.
This page is about depression in men however, many aspects of depression arent confined to a particular gender. Go here for more general information about depression.
Depression In Men Is Different
Men think of themselves differently than women and this can be quite unhelpful. Compared with women, they tend to be far more concerned with being competitive, powerful and successful. Most men don’t like to admit they feel fragile or vulnerable, and so are less likely to talk about their feelings with their friends, loved ones or their doctors. This may be the reason depressed men often don’t ask for help. Men tend to feel they should rely only on themselves and it is somehow weak to have to depend on someone else, even for a short time.
This traditional view of how men should be – always tough and self-reliant – is also held by some women. Some depressed men actually find their partner rejects them because of their depression. Even professionals sometimes share this view, and may not diagnose depression in men when they should.
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Remind Him That Help Is Out There
Knowing how to help a depressed boyfriend can feel overwhelming, but try and remind your boyfriend that, now more than ever, talking about mental health issues is encouraged and accepted. A problem shared is a problem halved, right?
Telling him that you love him, that he is worthy of support, and that he is no less of a man to accept help is also important, shares Smithies. Let him know that its normal now for men to seek help to move past their problems more quickly talking to a therapist who is qualified specifically to deal with depression and anxiety could really help, he explains.
And How To Begin A Conversation With A Man You Care About
Not so long ago, I had to approach a friend to discuss what appeared to me to be a battle with depression. It was clear to me that this debilitating disorder was affecting both him and the people around him, and that some type of loving intervention was needed. But wow, was this a nerve-wracking conversation to have. And Im a therapist!
Part of the difficulty was that my friends symptoms were more about impatience, irritability, and anger than the behaviors we typically associate with depression, such as crying, moping, and an inability to get started with any task, because everything seems so daunting. And this is often a reason why depression in men can be more difficult to identify than depression in women. Depressed women tend to act in , while depressed men tend to act out with unpleasant behaviors. So a depressed woman might look and act depressed, while a depressed man might just seem like hes being a jerk.
- What if Im wrong and he really isnt depressed?
- What if he gets angry with me for my accusation?
- What if trying to intervene costs me an important friendship?
And then I worried the opposite:
- What if Im right, and I dont say something, and he never gets help?
- What if he desperately needs to know that someone cares enough to say something?
- What if I dont intervene, and I lose an important friendship to suicide?
Know What You Are Dealing With
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How Can I Help A Man With Depression
If you think that a male friend or family member may be experiencing depression, you can offer them help and support.
Some men find it particularly difficult to share their emotions, but you can help them by starting a conversation about how they are doing, and showing them that you want to support them.
Sometimes men with depression might feel that they dont want to seek help because it is not manly. In such a situation, the best thing you can do is to remind them that depression is a serious but common mental health condition that probably wont get better by itself.
If they had a broken leg or a bad cut, they wouldnt expect that to heal without their doctors help, and its the same with depression.
They Like Opportunities For Fun And Laughter
Whats the opposite of depression? Mania! It is a proven scientific phenomenon that laughter is good for the soul and the mind. Depressed individuals function the same way. I always like to remember the Jerry Seinfeld episode where Jerry has a sick friend in the hospital and tries to do his set to cheer him up and make him laugh.
Well, he ends up killing his friend because he made him laugh too hard. Dont worry you wont hurt your depressed loved ones or friends with your humor and laughter. Dish it out and dish it out often.
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Tip : Support Your Health
Positive lifestyle changes can help lift depression and keep it from coming back.
Aim for eight hours of sleep. Depression typically involves sleep problems whether youre sleeping too little or too much, your mood suffers. Get on a better sleep schedule by learning healthy sleep habits.
Keep stress in check. Not only does stress prolong and worsen depression, but it can also trigger it. Figure out all the things in your life that stress you out, such as work overload, money problems, or unsupportive relationships, and find ways to relieve the pressure and regain control.
Practice relaxation techniques.A daily relaxation practice can help relieve symptoms of depression, reduce stress, and boost feelings of joy and well-being. Try yoga, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation.
Spend time in sunlight. Getting outside during daylight hours and exposing yourself to the sun can help boost serotonin levels and improve your mood. Take a walk, have your coffee outside, do some yard work, or double up on the benefits by exercising outdoors. If you live somewhere with little winter sunshine, try using a light therapy box.
Develop a wellness toolbox to deal with depression
Come up with a list of things that you can do for a quick mood boost. The more tools for coping with depression, the better. Try and implement a few of these ideas each day, even if youre feeling good.
You Dont Need To Stay With Him
Protecting your mental health is more important than being with him, no matter how much it seems like he has become everything to you. If the relationship is bringing you more pain than happiness despite attempts to make it healthy leaving is the right decision.
It might seem like you are abandoning him, leaving him at the mercy of his depression and without your love to protect him. Nonetheless, men have a responsibility to work with those they love to overcome the depression and make it more manageable. You should leave any man who is not doing enough to make the relationship work, and men who suffer from depression are no exception.
Assess The Parts Instead Of Generalizing The Whole
Depression can tinge recollections with negative emotions. You may find yourself focusing on the one thing that went wrong instead of the many things that went right.
Try to stop this overgeneralization. Push yourself to recognize the good. If it helps, write down what was happy about the event or day. Then write down what went wrong.
Seeing the weight youre giving to one thing may help you direct your thoughts away from the whole and to the individual pieces that were positive.
Taking Care Of Yourself
Theres a natural impulse to want to fix the problems of people we care about, but you cant control someone elses depression. You can, however, control how well you take care of yourself. Its just as important for you to stay healthy as it is for the depressed person to get treatment, so make your own well-being a priority.
Remember the advice of airline flight attendants: put on your own oxygen mask before you assist anyone else. In other words, make sure your own health and happiness are solid before you try to help someone who is depressed. You wont do your friend or family member any good if you collapse under the pressure of trying to help. When your own needs are taken care of, youll have the energy you need to lend a helping hand.
Speak up for yourself. You may be hesitant to speak out when the depressed person in your life upsets you or lets you down. However, honest communication will actually help the relationship in the long run. If youre suffering in silence and letting resentment build, your loved one will pick up on these negative emotions and feel even worse. Gently talk about how youre feeling before pent-up emotions make it too hard to communicate with sensitivity.
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Dear Therapist: My Boyfriends Depression Is Making Me Question Our Future Together
I want to be there for him, but his depressive episodes are difficult for me to handle.
My boyfriend and I are in our early 20s, and we recently moved in together after being in a long-distance relationship for four years. I’ve always known that he battles depression and has mild Aspergers. Recently, his depression has gotten much worse, and because this is the first time he has gotten very depressed since weve been physically together, I have no idea what Im doing. It is like Im walking on eggshells every time we speak, and if I say the wrong thing, he just shuts down. I cant push him for information or try to get him to help me with something around the house. I can barely get a normal conversation. I feel so alone.
I love him very much, and I plan to spend the rest of my life with him, but I dont know how to live feeling like the floor could come out from under me at any time. He is trying to get help, but he refuses to go on any medications or stick with a plan to get better for very long. I am so scared that this is going to always be his lifea constant roller-coaster ride controlled by depression. I want so much more for him, and for us.
I understand that theres nothing I can do to fix his depression. I just want to be there for him, but I cant sacrifice myself to his depression either. I need my boyfriend back. Help me, please.
Signs That Depression Is Eroding Your Relationship
If youre depressed, you could be dragging your mate to the dumps with you. Here are 5 common symptoms that wreck relationships and expert advice on how to get love back on trackWhen youre in a relationship and feeling depressed,two people suffer. Karen S., a business executive in her late 20s, had been with her boyfriend eight months when she fell into a funk.She no longer enjoyed her favorite activities, preferring to spend weekends sleeping in and watching TV. Her boyfriend missed the fun-loving, outgoing woman hed fallen for. Their sex life was nonexistent. He thought she wasnt interested in him anymore.A few months later, Karen’s doctor diagnosed her with depression. She eventually got the help she needed, but it was too late – the relationship didnt survive.That doesnt surprise Miami marriage and family therapist Lisa Paz, Ph.D.Depression makes the non-depressed partner feel helpless and confused, she says. silence, withdrawal, and no sex or desire to do anything, partners think this is the turn the relationship is taking that this is the way its always going to be.
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