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Jun 20

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Recognizing Depression in Men

 

Recognizing Depression in Men

Recognizing Depression in Men

OK MEN!  This is for you!  Depression in men is hard to discuss because if you men don’t feel right you don’t want to talk about it. Much of this is the cultural and social idea that men should be in control of their emotions and that crying or having sad feelings is not masculine.  But guys really!  You need to talk about it!

My husband suffers from recently diagnosed BiPolar Disorder.   He was diagnosed during the manic phase.   He’s been stable until recently when he said he’s having problems again but this time with depression.   He kept saying everything is fine, good home, kids are ok, family is ok, health, income are ok etc so why should I feel like I can’t get out of bed and I want to sleep all day and not do anything?   I want to remind all the men that Depression whether it be alone or with other health diagnosis doesn’t have to have a reason to be...it just is!   Acknowledging that fact will lessen your burden of not being in control.

There’s no reason to feel bad about yourself if you’re experiencing feelings of sadness and depression and can’t shake your self out of it.   You can’t shake yourself out of depression that is why it is an illness….just like any medical illness, diabetes or hypertension.   

But how to recognize if you might have depression?  It’s important to recognize the signs to determine if you need help.  When you have depression and you aren’t aware of it, you may experience some problematic symptoms.

For example, sometimes men with depression have problems such as headaches, back pain, or other joint pain.  Men also sometimes experience difficulty with acid reflux or other problems with digestion.  It’s also very common to have problems sleeping at night.

In addition, it’s not uncommon for physical problems such as sexual dysfunction to crop up as a result of feelings that need to be recognized and worked through.  But physical problems aren’t the only signs that you might be depressed.

If you feel angry much of the time, you may actually be experiencing depression.  Anger is often bottled up emotion that isn’t being expressed in a healthy way.  Eventually you can begin to build up so many feelings that you explode in rage.

Anger can also be more subtle and be expressed as feeling irritated all the time or feeling criticized.  Depression can also cause behavioral changes for many men.  For example, you might be more likely to take impulsive actions.

Commonly, men who have depression engage in risky behaviors such as drinking too much, having unsafe sex with multiple partners, driving in a reckless manner, or other addictive behaviors that cause even more problems.   They are trying to hide or mask or make themselves feel better by doing unsafe things.

There are many reasons you might be depressed such as a major change in your life including marriage or divorce.  Even happy changes can result in stress and depression.  You might also be more at risk after the death of a loved one, chronic illness, financial stress, work stress, and many other factors.

If you feel like you’re not quite yourself and you aren’t happy with the way things are going in your life, it’s a good idea to seek professional help if these feelings are consistent and last more than 2 weeks!!   Depression is very treatable and most people experience improvements within a few weeks of treatment.

If you have thoughts or feelings of suicide, it’s important that you seek help immediately.  You can do so by calling 911 where you’ll get immediate help.

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