How to Easily Get Help with Depression as a Man
Women tend to find talking about mental health issues much easier than men. Women and men are very different in their needs and activities. Talking is needed by women, but for men, most find withdrawing and processing difficulties alone easier. However, this isn’t always the case or healthy for men and so new technology like APPS like ‘TalkSpace’ or online forums may appeal to men more than women.
What Is Depression?
If you feel sad or in a low mood for a few days, this is normal, but if it continues for weeks or more, this is depression. There are different types of depression, so talking to an expert can help you understand what you have.
Why Do Men Struggle So Much with Talking About Depression?
My father died when he was 52 from a heart condition, but I am pretty sure he had depression that was hidden and repressed for a very long time. I also never saw him grieve when his mother died or when his brother died. For many men sharing emotions publicly even with close relatives is near on impossible due to early life conditioning and the whole bullshit motto that ‘boys don’t cry’.
Talking about feelings doesn’t come naturally to men. Men are told to be strong, both physically and emotionally. They are considered weak if they show any sign of vulnerability. So, telling a friend in the pub that they are depressed and lonely, or missing their wife or partner is rarely spoken about. Or if a man is being abused by his partner or has experienced rape, this is some really painful stuff that may be repressed and hidden away until it becomes toxic.
Even physical problems like prostrate conditions, heart problems and sexual problems may be battled through instead of getting the help they need. Now, I know this is not the case with every man, but many men find it hard and understandably so because of the mass conditioning imposed on them from an early age.
Symptoms of Depression in Men
It can differ in men because you process feelings and emotions differently.
The Symptoms Are:
- Excessive tiredness
- A loss of interest in your job or work or those things you once enjoyed
- Loss of libido
- Inability to perform sexually or performance anxiety
- Suicidal thoughts
- Significant weight change
- Feeling worthless
How Men Avoid Getting Help with Mental Health Issues
Instead of talking, men may avoid the subject all together until it becomes too much. My best friend is male and, in his eighties, he would prefer to not talk about emotional pain, so I understand how hard it is.
Unfortunately, suicide rates for men are on the increase, especially middle-aged men, due to relationship breakdowns, unemployment, a loss of status, not being able to care for family, losing a sense of identity and much more… This modern social media age breeds comparison and envy from both men and women and this can manifest as mental health issues also.
Ways men may avoid dealing with painful mental health issues:
- Alcoholism – needing more and more alcohol to block out the negative recordings running in their minds
- Drugs – taking drugs to get an artificial high or to block the self-critical voices
- Addiction to violent computer games. If you spend more time indoors than outside meeting real people, this could be compounding the sense of isolation that can cause issues like depression or anxiety
- Addiction to porn sites. Using sexual pleasure as an avoidance to feeling and embracing the real hard stuff going on inside
- Seriously considering suicide, please reach out, know you are of value and this world needs you, no matter what those inner voices are telling you
- Difficulty concentrating
- Overeating, binge eating with no conscious connection to the food
If you have reoccurring suicidal thoughts, it’s important you get help today.
HERE is a list of suicide helplines worldwide. Please talk to someone, no matter what your inner voice is telling you, you are needed here, you are of value, you matter.
If you live in the UK sometimes connecting with others who suffer from depression can be of help. Sites like Friends In Need offer ways to connect online and locally with people who can understand what you are going through. Friendship with others can be really healing.
Using Google to search for other worldwide friendship sites may be a good step in finding a network of support.
Online Therapists and Counsellors
And as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, apps like TalkSpace bring counsellors to you wherever you are and whenever you need help. This is a whole new way of receiving mental health support. And you can communicate through text message, video chat, phone calls and more. Whatever suits you and this can help bypass any barriers to conventional mental health care. Not everyone has access to a therapist in person. If you don’t drive or if you live outside urban areas, it may not be possible to speak to someone regularly in this way.
Depression has become an epidemic that needs to be recognised and acknowledged more. Both women and men need to know that there is no shame in accepting mental health issues because getting help is a strength not a weakness.
If you are a man reading this, how do you feel about getting help for depression or other mental health issues?