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WHY MEN DON’T RECOGNISE DEPRESSION

At a time when suicide is known to be the biggest killer of men under fifty-five, we still have difficulty in tackling depression properly when it turns up in our lives.  We don’t recognise the symptoms – not just in terms of what they are but also in terms of their power over us.

So here they are:

THE SYMPTOMS

  • A feeling of emptiness, a lack of joy. You just can’t seem to get excited about anything anymore – even your favourite hobbies.
  • Feeling that the future is as gloomy as the present. When you think about your life, you experience a dull sort of ‘kick’ inside – a little like an adrenaline rush but with more of an ‘ugh’ sensation than one of excitement.  Some men say that it actually physically hurts.
  • Difficulty in concentrating for longer than a couple of minutes on a task and struggling with memory.
  • Over or under sleeping on a regular basis or fatigue.
  • Putting on or losing weight quite rapidly.
  • Feelings of worthlessness and even guilt. Again, you have a dull ‘kick’ inside when you think of yourself and how your life is going.
  • Thinking about death or even taking your own life. You’d think that this one would be an obvious sign but many men don’t recognise these thoughts as danger signs.

If you recognise a couple or more of these symptoms in yourself, it’s time to find somebody you can talk to about what’s going on in your world.  If you don’t have a close family member, friend or colleague to speak to, then a visit to your GP is in order.  Speaking to your GP is a good idea even if you do have a confidant, because there are different types of depression that not everybody knows about which can be confusing.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF DEPRESSION

  • Major Depression: when you experience five or more of the above symptoms for two weeks or longer.
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder: when you have experienced a combination of symptoms for two years or longer.  This used to be known as ‘dysthymia’ or ‘chronic major depression’.
  • Bipolar Disorder: sometimes termed ‘manic depression’, when your moods swing from wild ‘highs’ and devastating ‘lows’ – the latter showing many of the symptoms described above.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): this is typically shrugged off by men as it sounds so ‘wishy washy’.  How can a driven, strapping bloke like you become ill from too little light?  Like it or not, you can.
  • Psychotic Depression: when major depression brings along it’s unpopular cousins ‘Hallucination’, ‘Paranoia’ and ‘Delusion’ to your life.
  • Postpartum Depression: yes, fathers get it too.  You can read more about that in another of my articles[1].
  • Situational Depression: this is not a chronic case of depression as it is tied to a specific event in your life and may lift in due course.

You can see how easy it is to ‘misdiagnose’ yourself.  Your mental health is easily as important as your physical health, so get the proper help you deserve.

Talk it out – and look after you.

[1] Link to article entitled “Postpartum Depression in Dads

 

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