I was diagnosed with depression 4 years ago at the age of 21.
I’d always struggled with my thoughts, I was bullied throughout high school and it knocked my self confidence to its lowest point. I didn’t know what was happening to me, I wasn’t sure where to turn, why was I feeling like this?
I felt so alone in my own head and I didn’t know what to do about it. I didn’t know that there were so many other people who felt the same way as me until I found the courage to reach out to my GP and seek help.
While the depression never gets any easier, it’s somewhat comforting to know that I am not alone in feeling this way.
Here are 11 things you’ll only understand if you’re a man who suffers with depression.
1. You’re scared to say anything
It’s hard for anyone to admit that they are struggling with their thoughts and feelings. It’s extremely hard for a male to admit that they’re not coping. You don’t want to be considered ‘less of a man’.
2. There’s a stigma regarding depression in males
Men don’t want to talk about their problems, they’ll bottle it up, they try not to show emotion. It’s not a fact but it’s usually true. It’s not considered ‘manly’ to talk about your problems.
3. It can affect your relationships/friendships
When suffering with a mental illness such as depression, your mood can affect your life but also your relationships. it can cause relationship breakdowns and the loss of friendships. You find yourself becoming agitated, irritated and angry and you forget how to control your emotions.
4. You start to doubt yourself
You question every choice you make, you feel anxious making decisions, you feel anxious putting yourself into social situations.
5. You feel like less of a man
Depression is hard for anyone, you feel helpless, worthless. You don’t feel much of a ‘man’ – you doubt your strength, your worth, and you feel like you’re letting everyone down.
6. You find it hard to convey the simplest of emotions.
You struggle to convey any emotion, your walls come up, you distance yourself from the ones you love. You start to feel like there is nowhere to go, nothing else can go wrong.
7. You feel trapped
The feeling grips you, you can’t see any way out. You don’t want to feel like this but you can’t help it. It’s almost you’ve been forced underwater and you just can’t seem to fight your way back up to the surface.
8. You lose interest in sex
You don’t enjoy the physical contact, you don’t initiate the contact, you want to be alone. This puts a huge strain on your relationship.
9. You’re constantly tired
The physical and emotional stress your under makes you extremely tired, the fatigue can also affect your speech and physical movements.
10. You find yourself drinking/smoking more.
The more stressed you get the more likely you’ll turn to alcohol or nicotine to ‘numb’ the pain and ease the stress.
11. You’ve considered/attempted suicide
You’ve thought about ending your life, you don’t know how much longer you can carry on. You feel as though you’re letting everyone down. Is this how life is gonna be from now? Surely it can’t be. You may have attempted to end your life, your thoughts are irrational, you can’t see any light at the end of the end of this extremely dark tunnel.
If you or a loved one can relate to any of these points listed above, please seek help by visiting your GP. You are not alone in this, there is help out there for you, you just need to ask for it.
Words by James Conlon