Men and women suffer depression almost equally. Men, however, are taught that any need for help shows weakness. They are, however, at greater risk for depression-related illnesses and suicide because they hide what is going on from everyone, often even denying it to themselves. It is important to know- that depression in men is not a sign of weakness, and is normal and should be talked about openly.
Most men hide their depression by trying to cover their feelings. They most often do this with drugs, alcohol, sex, or work. Depression shows in men not as helpless or hopeless, but as angry, frustrated, and other aggressive feelings. Men are less likely to seek treatment than women and they are less likely to admit that they have a problem.
Depression and men is a silent battle that barely makes a rumble until the battle is over. The drugs and the smiles and the carrying on and acting hide many of the typical signs of depression from others. It’s hard to pick up on the signs of depression if you are close to the person, and it’s even harder if they are trying to cover the feelings up.
If you notice that a loved one is showing any of the typical depression signs like oversleeping or not sleeping, tension, or uncontrollable anger (in the case of men) you should address the topic and let the person know that you care about them and that you are ready to listen when they are ready to talk. It’s important not to push the issue and just let things run their course with men.
Depression symptoms in men may include:
- Feeling sad, hopeless or empty
- Feeling extremely tired
- Having difficulty sleeping or sleep too much
- Not getting pleasure from activities usually enjoyed
- Feelings of self loathing
- Lacking any motivation
- Feeling angry
- Feeling irritable
Other behaviors in men that could be signs of depression — but not always recognized as such — include:
- Escapist behavior, such as spending a lot of time at work or on sports
- Physical symptoms, such as headaches, digestive problems and pain
- Problems with alcohol or drug use
- Controlling, violent or abusive behavior
- Irritability or inappropriate anger
- Risky behavior, such as reckless driving
(*note- not all men exhibit this behavior during depression however can be signs they are struggling)
If you are a man who is depressed, there are a few things you can do to help yourself:
- Talk about how you feel. This could be with anyone you feel comfortable with and can talk openly and freely with.
- Stay active (Find an activity that you enjoy- sports or even just a nightly walk)
- Give yourself a break to do something you enjoy
- Find a way to relax at the end of a busy day.
- Try to eat properly. A healthy diet will give your body what it needs to function at it’s best and feeling it’s best.
It’s okay to feel sad and depression. Everyone does. Men and women alike. And it should be taken seriously and treatment.
Take care of yourself and your mental health!