Depression effects all of your relationships and looks different for men than it does for women. It isn’t known exactly why it is different for men then it is for women but it likely involves hormones, brain chemicals, and life experiences. This blog will discuss #1 how depression manifests itself in a man’s life and #2 healthy coping mechanisms for men experiencing depression.
We discuss 7 different ways that depression manifests itself in a man’s life. Many people associate depression with feeling sad or emotional and believe this is always the main symptom of depression. Like women, men with depression may feel blue or may not get pleasure from activities they once enjoyed, but surprisingly, for many men that isn’t the primary depression symptom.
"Many people associate depression with feeling sad or emotional and believe this is always the main symptom of depression....for many men that isn’t the primary depression symptom."
- Men suffering from depression will sometimes find themselves participating in escapist behaviors. We talk about being “withdrawn” in your relationship. Often times you may find your spouse pursuing you incessantly trying to get you to “open up” to them but instead you find yourself withdrawing more and more. You spend more and more time at work instead of coming home or focusing on sports.
- A man may turn to alcohol or substance abuse.
- Abusive, violent, or controlling behavior are signs of depression.
- Improper displays of anger.
- Reckless behavior such as speeding or taking inappropriate risk.
- Infidelity or unhealthy sexual relationships.
- Headaches, digestive problems, fatigue, irritability or chronic pain can sometimes indicate depression.
You may not realize these symptoms as depression if you have had them but it is very important to not minimize, ignore, or downplay them if you are experiencing any of these. You must deal with them instead of covering them with unhealthy behavior that will likely leave you chronically unhappy, miserable, and possibly take your life.
Here are a few suggestions to help you cope with depression. These are not meant to take the place of counseling.
- Goals. Set realistic goals and prioritize tasks.
- Support. Seek out emotional support from a partner or family or friends. In general, men tend to disregard the value of emotional support in coping with male depression.
- Activities. Engage in activities you enjoy, such as exercise, movies, ball games or fishing.
- Decisions. Delay making important decisions, such as changing jobs, until your depression symptoms improve.