The emotional structure of the female is generally obvious, but what of the male psyche and their emotions? In most ways we expect men to carry the weight of the world and be strong; it’s no wonder men aren’t swift on expressing themselves when it comes to such topics as depression. The stigma associated with mental illnesses prevents most from seeking help.
What causes depression in men?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), several factors may contribute to depression in men:
· Genes—men with a family history of depression may be more likely to develop it than those whose family members do not have the illness.
· Brain chemistry and hormones—the brains of people with depression look different on scans than those of people without the illness. Also, the hormones that control emotions and mood can affect brain chemistry.
· Stress—loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship or any stressful situation may trigger depression in some men.
Garry Jones, a Retired Lieutenant from the Department of Justice (FBOP), was diagnosed with major depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar, and PTSD during his career. Although, this is his medical diagnosis, he has not allowed these mental illnesses to prevent him from living productive and healthy (mental) life.
“There definitely is hope. You get to a point in your life where you feel like blowing your brains out; you feel like you’re going to go crazy. If you go out and get help a (doctor) can give you medication or if you decide to go to attend group therapy – that helps – but the person has to want to take the first step. If you don’t take that first step, you will be one of those numbersthat commit suicide,” says Jones.
In addition to practical remedies to mental illness, Jones has taken a ‘lively’ approach to the subject and helped both men and women open up on the subject: http://youtu.be/
In the same report from NIMH, Police Officer Rene Ruballo, shared the effects of depression in his life, "I lost interest with the kids and doing things that we used to do. . . they'd ask their mother, ‘Why is Daddy not getting up and not wanting to do anything with us?' ‘Did we do anything?' They didn't do anything to me. I just didn't want to do anything."
Robin Williams was a man who sought help, but this was not enough to save his life. What of those people men who are seeking the help but are so deep in depression that they see no other way than to take their life?
For Jones, he took the initiative to further improve his mental health by writing about his life and experiences in his 3-part book trilogy. In his book entitled, I Wasn’t Raised to Play By Their Rules, Jones speaks candidly about depression and the impact it has in his life. He also shares detailed steps on how he continues to cope and live a balanced mental life. He too has had suicidal ideations, used alcohol to numb his emotions, and endures deep depression for extended periods. His books, along with therapy, healthy relationships and other activities that compliment a balanced life helps him; his hopes are that his writings will help you too!
Jill Goldstein, director of research at the Connors Center for Women's Health and Gender Biology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
· -Men with depression are more likely than depressed women to abuse alcohol and other substances, according to Jill Goldstein, director of research at the Connors Center for Women's Health and Gender Biology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
· -Depressed men may also try to mask their sadness by turning to other outlets, such as watching TV, playing sports and working excessively, or engaging in risky behaviors, Goldstein told Live Science (http://www.livescience.com/
· -Men's symptoms of depression may be harder for other people to recognize, and the illness is missed more frequently in men, Goldstein said.
· -Men with depression are more likely than women with the condition to commit suicide, Goldstein said. Men with depression may go longer without being diagnosed or treated, and so men may develop a more devastating mental health problem.
· -Symptoms of depression extend far beyond feeling sad, and may include: loss of interest and pleasure in normal activities, irritability, agitation or restlessness, lower sex drive, decreased concentration, insomnia or excessive sleeping and chronic fatigue and lethargy, according to Mayo Clinic.
NIMH: Signs and Symptoms of Depression Men
· Feeling sad or "empty".
· Feeling hopeless, irritable, anxious, or angry.
· Loss of interest in work, family, or once-pleasurable activities, including sex.
· Feeling very tired.
· Not being able to concentrate or remember details.
· Not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much.
· Overeating, or not wanting to eat at all.
· Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts.
· Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems.
· Inability to meet the responsibilities of work, caring for family, or other important activities
National Institute of Mental Health, (2013), What is Depression? NIMH website:http://www.nimh.nih.gov/
Roman, K. (2014); Robin Williams death: The difference between depression and normal sadness, FOX NEWSwebsite: