Depression is one of the most common mental health issues in America, and men tend to keep in their feelings more than women. What are the consequences of keeping our emotions bottled up instead of dealing with them head on?
Depression affects men in a much different way than women. If you feel irritable, want to be alone often, or drinking too often, you could very well have depression. When men suffer from depression, they struggle with daily life and and lose interest in things they enjoy. They have trouble sleeping, and most importantly, men are much less likely to recognize or seek help for their depression. But the reality is that depression is a very real and very treatable disease. Getting help with this disorder can change so much in your life, and it is worth talking to your doctor and getting the help you need. Marc Kohn talks about his battle with depression and the challenges it presented in his family life through the Anxiety and Depression of Association of America:
“At 28, I married a woman 7 years older and gained two stepdaughters. Two years later, we had a son. Adjusting to an instant family and working in a high-pressure job editing programs for the Discovery Channel made life at home and work extremely stressful. There were days at work when I just could not function. I just closed the door and sat there. And there were nights after work when I had to psyche myself up to go in the house and deal with ‘the family.’ But I never thought I had a problem. I never considered that an underlying condition was hampering my ability to handle the stress. I thought, ‘this is just how life is.’
“I endured the stress for 15 years, but then I suddenly started to sweat and shake at night . . . one day I couldn’t walk down the front steps to get in the car. I just sat down and started crying. I couldn’t function . . . I saw a therapist who diagnosed depression right away. I started on a drug therapy, and a few weeks later, I was a completely different person. I was living at the speed of life all the time now! I couldn’t believe the feeling: ‘This is how normal people feel every day?’
” . . . A few years ago, stupidly, I decided to see if I could live without the pill. I weaned off the drug and I did fine for a while. But then I started to feel like the old me, the one who was living in slow motion. I got deeply depressed and tried to commit suicide. But I was lucky to survive. I went back on my medication and have never looked back.”
Men like Marc often don’t recognize that there is help for the debilitating way that they feel. There is not only medication, but therapy, and many healthy solutions. The important thing is to be certain to see a doctor and receive help–there is no reason to wait to geel better.