Coping with Male Depression

By Jill Coil | December 10, 2021

Coping with Male Depression

Major depressive disorder attacks over 17 million people worldwide. Though a disproportionate amount of major depressive disorder’s victims are women, anyone can be affected by major depressive disorder. Many have theorized that a lot of cases of depression in men have gone unreported. A large contributing factor may be that it is seen as socially unacceptable for a man to experience depression. Unfortunately, many men do experience depression and, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, men are nearly 4 times more likely to commit suicide than women. Perhaps the discrepancy would not be so if depression among men was more socially acceptable.

What are the Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder?

Major depressive disorder is the diagnosis for what most people colloquially refer to as, “depression”. Major depressive disorder and major depressive episodes can happen to anyone. Depression impacts the lives of people of all genders, socio-economic backgrounds, races, and ages. According to the DSM-V, some symptoms of major depressive disorder include depressed mood, fatigue, insomnia, feelings of worthlessness, and a loss of interest in hobbies. Major depressive disorder causes impairments in functioning in everyday life. Therefore, the disorder needs to be addressed promptly. Since many of those suffering from major depressive disorder experience hopelessness, suicide can seem as though it is the only solution. In these cases, victims of MDD need to reach out for help as soon as possible.

What are the Symptoms of Persistent Depressive Disorder?

Persistent depressive disorder, or dysthymia, is a depressive disorder  marked by depressed mood for at least two years. Though many of the symptoms of dysthymia overlap with those of major depressive disorder, there are some significant differences. To begin with, dysthymia often has fewer symptoms, however, those symptoms last much longer. Like major depressive disorder, those with persistent depressive disorder may feel fatigued, experience insomnia, low self-esteem, or feelings of hopelessness. Since one of the overlapping symptoms of dysthymia and major depressive disorder is hopelessness, those experiencing dysthymia are also vulnerable to suicidal thoughts, or suicide attempts.

Cognitive Distortions and Suicidal Thoughts

Cognitive distortions may play a large part in a person’s depression. Cognitive distortions are irrational or illogical thought patterns that may cause depression. Anyone can experience cognitive distortions and the distortions can cause significant distress. Examples of cognitive distortions include, catastrophizing, jumping to conclusions, polarized thinking, and blaming. Cognitive distortions can cause people to think things such as, “there’s no way out”, “I will never recover”, “I can’t handle this”, etc. Many people experiencing cognitive distortions benefit from directly challenging the distortions. For example, when relationships don’t work out, it might be tempting to say, “I can’t go on anymore.” However, in order for a healthy healing process, a person might need to challenge the thought by saying, “Is this really 100% true?”

Can Depression Affect Parenting?

Depression can affect every part of your life; it extends to work, romantic relationships, friendships, and even your relationship with your children. Fathers who are experiencing depression may have a hard time being the parent they want to be. Studies have shown that depression negatively affects a person’s ability to parent their children. Fathers suffering from depressive disorders tend to be irritable, cynical, and indecisive. If you are a father and you suspect you may be suffering from a depressive disorder, it may be worth it to seek help so that you can be the parent you’ve always wanted to be.

Getting the Help You Deserve

Reaching out and getting help for depressive disorders can be extremely difficult. Many people have founded platforms dedicated to empowering women who may be struggling. It’s time we shift the focus toward men with depression too. There’s a huge stigma surrounding mental health, therapy, and medication. However, it’s not fair to yourself to allow others to stop you from pursuing your happiness.

 

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