WHY DO MEN SUFFER DEPRESSION IN SILENCE
Males suffering from depression have an increased vulnerability to committing suicide. Clinical psychologist Smriti Sawhney advices it is important to seek professional help and lists out tips to alleviate depression.
Boys are not supposed to cry.
And, if you cry you are weak.
And, being emotional is so ‘girly’.
Most boys tend to hear these and other similar statements during their growing up years. Internalising such statements can make it difficult later on for men to express or share their pain or low phases they may be experiencing.
These stereotypical notions about men, along with stigma associated with having a mental illness, can make it very difficult for males suffering from depression to be :
Males suffering from depression have an increased vulnerability to committing suicide – they are almost four times more likely to commit suicide than women, so it’s extremely important to seek help with depression, before feelings of despair become feelings of suicide.
It took almost a month of convincing and various personal assessments for Mr R to believe that he was suffering from depression. He was experiencing a lot of aches and pains, irritability and fatigue. He was also sleeping lesser than usual. He explained the whole experience as ‘normal reactions to life stressors that would pass within a few days.’ But when the symptoms persisted, he still did not choose to seek help from a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist. Instead, he chose a text based coaching platform that offered him anonymity. Why didn’t he visit a psychiatrist? Because he would have felt let down if he had gone to a psychotherapist after he had described himself as ‘I am a strong man…I don’t need psychotherapy...just some coaching would help’.Depression in men
On an average, one in eight men will experience depression and one in five men will experience anxiety at some stage of their lives.
Here are some risk factors that make a man more vulnerable, such as:
The symptoms for depression may present differently in men and women. Men who are depressed may appear to be angry or aggressive instead of sad or irritable. And even their own family members, colleagues or friends may not always attribute their increased irritability, lack of focus or being less interested in socialising to depression. Here are some symptoms that can be red flag signs to watch out for to help identify if a male friend, relative or colleague maybe experiencing depression:
This list is not conclusive in itself and it’s not necessary that all men experience all of these symptoms. It is important to thus seek help if someone has been experiencing one or more of these symptoms for more than 2 weeks.
If you know someone who has these symptoms, you can support him by helping him find a doctor or mental health professional. It’s important to remember that a person with depression cannot simply ‘get out of it’. If not for mood related symptoms, men with depression may acknowledge having troubles with aches and pains and may agree to seek treatment for their physical symptoms, such as feeling tired or run down. They may be willing to talk with their regular health professional about a new difficulty they are having at work or losing interest in doing things they usually enjoy so an appointment with a GP to begin may help too.
Let him know that you are going to be there to listen to him and also never take any statements reflecting suicidal intentions lightly and make sure this person gets help right away.
You do not have to brave these signs as it may make things only more difficult to cope with. It would take more courage to seek help than to let it all bottle inside and keep fighting the battle alone. Here are some things you could do to help yourself if you feel you are experiencing depression:
Remember depression is just like a semi colon and not a full stop; It is a pause maybe but not a dead end.
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