DEPRESSION - DO YOU HAVE IT?



I receive many emails from distressed women, who's husbands are suffering from depression but don't know it, wondering what is happening to their husbands or partners and what I suggest they could do.

Here are some typical questions:

  • What's happening to my husband? We've been married for twenty five years and now he wants a divorce. Is he having a crisis? Will he come back when its over?
  • My husband hardly ever pays any attention to me any more. He just seems to be a couch potato. He never spends time with the kids. I tell him the kids are real, and TV is not, but that doesn't seem to help. He never used to be like this.
  • My husband used to be a really nice guy, but I hardly know him anymore. He seems irritable and angry a lot of the time, and seems to have lost all interest in sex. What's happening to him?

I don't always know what to say to these women, but one thing I suggest is they figure out what they want in their own lives, as I don't know what their men will do.

When I turned 50, I went into a mild depression for several years.

It took quite a while to realize it was depression.

I just thought I was feeling kind of low.

There was quite a bit of stress, especially financial stress, in my life at the time, and I thought I was just 'feeling a bit of stress'.

My wife Elizabeth, who is a psychologist, finally helped me realize it was mild depression.

Besides feeling 'low', I noticed I was more easily moved emotionally by things both happy and sad, than I had been in the past. This didn't bother me too much, as I didn't mind 'having more feelings'.

But what did bother me was that I became more irritable, and found I would get angry far more quickly than I ever had before. My research shows this is not uncommon.

My research also showed men are far more likely to be depressed than anyone would have guessed.

The problem is, men are harder to diagnose because we do not recognize the symptoms of depression.

Since I'm not an expert in this field, I've partnered with “End Your Depression”.

I encourage you to click here and gain an understanding of how this resource can help you.

You truly have the power to Eliminate those Negative Feelings from your Life.

It's a matter of getting the help you need. Discover the Secrets that End Depression

Perhaps you have been feeling a bit "low" yourself, and don't know it. If you are wondering about it here are the main symptoms of depression, from the "Depression and Bi-Polar Support Alliance" website

  • * Prolonged sadness or unexplained crying spells
  • * Significant changes in appetite and sleep patterns
  • * Irritability, anger, worry, agitation, anxiety
  • * Pessimism, indifference
  • * Loss of energy, persistent lethargy
  • * Feelings of guilt, worthlessness
  • * Inability to concentrate, indecisiveness
  • * Inability to take pleasure in former interests, social withdrawal
  • * Unexplained aches and pains
  • * Recurring thoughts of death or suicide

Here is another symptom of Andropause (midlife change in men), which is closely associated with depression:

- Loss of libido, and bouts of impotence.

About 40% of middle aged men will experience some lethargy, mood swings and irritability, as well as having one or more episodes of impotence, or trouble getting an erection.

It appears from recent research that men and women suffer from depression at about the same rate (approximately 20% of the adult population will experience depression at some point in their lives, with the highest rate - almost 60% - being among people aged 40 to 64). But only half as many men as women are diagnosed correctly. That is largely because men experience and react to feeling "low" differently, so doctors are less able to recognize it in men.

Here is a table from Jed Diamond's book Male Menopause that shows the differences in how men and women react to depression:

Female Depression Male Depression
Blame themselves Feel others are to blame
Feel sad, apathetic and worthless feel angry, irritable, and ego inflated
Avoids conflicts at all costs Creates conflicts
Always tries to be nice Overtly or covertly hostile
Withdraws when feeling hurt Attacks when feeling hurt
Has trouble with self respect Demands respect from others
Feels they were born to fail Feels the worlds set them up to fail
Slowed down and nervous Restless and agitated
Chronic procrastinator Compulsive time keeper
Sleeps too much Sleeps too little
Trouble setting boundaries Needs control at all costs
Feels guilty for what they do Feels ashamed for who they are
Uncomfortable receiving praise Frustrated if not praised enough
Finds it easy to talk about weaknesses and doubts Terrified to talk about weaknesses and doubts
Strong fear of success Strong fear of failure
Needs to "blend in" to feel safe Needs to be "top dog" to feel safe
Uses food, friends and "love" to self-medicate Uses alcohol, TV, sports and sex to self-medicate
Believe their problems could be solved only if they could be a better (spouse, co-worker, parent, friend) Believe their problems could be solved only if their (spouse, co-worker, parent, friend) would treat them better
Constantly wonder, "Am I lovable enough"? Constantly wonder "Am I being loved enough"?

What Can You Do About Depression?

There are several things you can do to get over, or at least minimize the symptoms of depression:

  • Get Some Exercise (but don't overdo it). This, along with diet, is one of the most important approaches to handling depression. Unfortunately, it can be hard to motivate yourself when you are depressed! But do it. Exercise increases your blood flow, increases your testosterone production, and increases the production of some other hormones that will help you feel better. Knowing I might not be able to motivate myself to get enough exercise on my own. I registered for a regular circuit training program at a local city-owned recreational facility. It definitely helps keep me more mentally stable.

  • Watch Your Diet. The old expression 'you are what you eat' is literally true when it comes to mental health. Elizabeth and I eat mostly organic food these days, and we buy grass-finished beef, lamb and chicken from local farmers. (You can look for grassfed meat in your area at www.eatwild.com). When a person is depressed, or 'feeling low', he tends to reach for junk food. Nothing could be worse for his frame of mind. Junk foods, especially sweet ones, play absolute havoc with his moods. Eating unpre-processed, organic meat, fruits and vegetables can go a long way toward helping him feel better.
  • Figure Out What You Are Feeling. Get professional help if you need to. Probably the worst thing (but the most common) a depressed man can do is hunker down and keep his feelings to himself. TALK TO SOMEBODY ABOUT HOW YOU ARE FEELING. A psychologist or counsellor is a good choice.

    Also if you are an American the ACA and the Obamacare tax can prove very beneficial as the cost of consulting a professional may not completely fall on you.

    If you are looking for a psychologist, shop around, interview them on the phone. Find out how old they are, and ASK THEM HOW MUCH OF THEIR OWN THERAPY THEY HAVE HAD. I would recommend that you see a man for counselling, as that way there is no 'man-woman thing' going on in the background to distract from the process.

  • Pay Attention To Your Spiritual Life. I believe we are all on a spiritual journey. We can be aware of it or not, but we have no choice but to be on it. Our souls expect something of us. Expect us to make some 'soul progress', and that means we have to develop ourselves spiritually as well as emotionally, intellectually and physically. Mother Teresa used to say she felt sorry for us in North America because we seemed to feel so empty. I think that might be one reason why the rate of depression is many times higher in the wealthy industrialized countries than in the poor countries. A number of studies show that regular spiritual practices, such as prayer, meditation, and/or going to church, significantly reduce the rate of depression, and cut the risk of heart attack by 50%.
  • See A Doctor, and Perhaps Take Some Medication. As middle aged men we should be seeing our doctor for a medical every year or so, and if we are feeling 'down' for longer than a month, should see our doctor again. If we are honest about our symptoms, he will probably recognize that we are suffering from depression, and will want to prescribe a medication such as Prozac, or some other SSRI (Selective Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitor). These medications can be very useful, but they can have unpleasant side effects too, including losing interest in sex. Some studies show that as many as 73% of patients on these kinds of medications can experience less interest in sex, take longer to get aroused, and/or have weaker, or no, orgasms. If you do go on a medication, it is probably useful to get counselling as well. It seems these days many family doctors simply prescribe one of the new drugs, and don't recommend counselling to go with it. That means the symptom gets addressed, but not the cause.
  • Be Aware That Different Types Of Mental Problems… Depression, Anxiety, Etc. Affect Different Parts Of The Brain. That means different medications might be appropriate, depending on what part of the brain is affected. Most doctors don't know this, and prescribe an SSRI for any sort of depression or anxiety. Dr. Daniel Amen, an American psychiatrist, has a lot to say about this. You might find a visit to his website useful: www.brainplace.com.

Do You Have "Irritable Male Syndrome" (IMS)?

"The Irritable Male Syndrome" is the title of a new book by Jed Diamond, a psychologist who has worked with men for many years.

At his www.TheIrritableMale.com website, you can take an interactive quiz that will give you results and compare them to 6,000 other males who have taken the test. It will also tell you what type of IMS they may be suffering from.the quiz to see if you are suffering from Irritable Male Syndrome. If you are, I recommend his book, along with a visit to your doctor for a complete medical, including a test for testosterone levels.

Is Depression Dangerous?

Yes, it is. Depression and suicide go hand-in-hand. The suicide rate among middle aged men is three times the national average, and seven times higher in men over 65. Also, women and men make about the same number of attempts at suicide, but men are four times more successful at actually killing themselves.

Midlife and depression can also lead to increased use of drugs and alcohol, which drives the suicide rate higher yet. For example, some research shows that people with substance abuse problems (e.g. alcoholism) are five times more likely to commit suicide. Those who overuse prescription drugs and alcohol are 39 times more likely to commit suicide.

So... if you are experiencing any, or at least a few, of the symptoms listed above, take some action. Get some exercise, eat well, see your doctor, and talk to somebody, such as a buddy you trust, a life coach, or a counselor.

And, please remember that the problem is, men are harder to diagnose because we don't recognize the symptoms.

Since I'm not an expert in this field, I've partnered with “End Your Depression”.

I encourage you to click here and gain an understanding of how this resource can help you.

You truly have the power to Eliminate those Negative Feelings from your Life.

It's a matter of getting the help you need. Discover the Secrets that End Those Low Feelings

God Bless,
Noel

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Further Resources:

Overcome Emotional Abuse - Learn meditation techniques for experiencing emotional health in your life.
The Warning Signs - Understanding the warning signs goes a long way in finally feeling better.

How This Issue Affects Men - Depression in men is a larger issue than you may have thought. Especially for men reaching midlife, this can be debilitating.

The Facts - Discover the facts that will make a difference in your treatment..

How to Overcome Feeling "Low" - Discover how you can overcome your "low" mental state in a healthy, effective manner.

11 Mistakes Midlife Men Make That Contribute to Worry and Anxiety - This is a guest article about how midlife men can be their own worst enemy when comes to worry and anxiety.