Recently I saw a post on social media joking about depression and masking the fact that this person is depressed. The post said something to the effect of “me hiding my depression: *insert fun-loving photo*, versus what my depression looks like: *insert sad, isolated photo*. Depression, along with many other mental health issues, gets tossed around loosely and this can create confusion as to what depression actually looks like for men, specifically. As a therapist I have seen a wide array of depression symptoms and something that I learned early on was that depression is not necessarily something that can be categorized by checking off a few boxes.
Some people experience seasonal depression, meaning there might be a month or a few weeks around the same time every year where there is an increase in depression symptoms. Others may have a more long-term depression that consistently hovers over a person for extended periods of time. Depression can be a very silent beast; it doesn’t respect what you have going on, it doesn’t care that you were having a great time 5 minutes ago, and it certainly doesn’t help with your social interactions.
Depression in men can look like this:
Loss of or increase in appetite
Lack of interest in previously-enjoyed hobbies
Low or non-existent sex drive
Feeling sad or empty
Unexplainable physical ailments i.e. headaches, stomachaches, digestive issues, erectile dysfunction
Self-harm or participating in self-destructive/high-risk behaviors
Finally, here are a 3 actions you can take for alleviating depression symptoms:
Use your support
It can be a difficult first step to talk to your close friends, family, or partner about what you are experiencing. Oftentimes people find themselves with more feelings than they can express, or even having the lack of feelings can seem like a hard thing to describe. Try anyway. Your job is to reach out; give the people who love you the opportunity to be there for you.
Speak with your doctor
Let’s be honest, sometimes the chemicals in our body can go a bit haywire and what we are experiencing could very well be related to underlying medical issues or a chemical imbalance. Speaking with your primary care physician is beneficial in ensuring that you are exploring different avenues and getting closer to answers for yourself.
Yes, I said it, of course I said it, I’m a therapist! Not only that, but I have seen firsthand the positive impacts that therapy has when therapist and client come together to work towards a common goal. Maybe you are new to therapy or you have your own preconceived ideas about what therapy is, it doesn’t matter. Tell your therapist you're worried that they might be full of crap. Tell them you don’t necessarily believe in therapy. Tell them whatever comes to mind, and then get ready to put in the work.
You may find yourself with more questions than answers. You may think that there is no way out, after all you have probably felt this way for a very long time.
At Mind Works Counseling services in Lubbock, TX, we specialize in treating depression.
Learn more about the depression therapy we offer.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to let us answer any questions you may have.