Anger and Depression in Men: When One is Disguised as the Other
Growing up, I cannot ever remember a time when depression was ever discussed. Being an only child growing up in West Texas most of my role models were adults. I can’t remember my father, grandfather, or great grandfather ever shedding a tear. I take that back. I remember my grandfather shedding a couple tears in the back of a room at his mother's funeral. Quickly he regained composure and got to work making plans and making sure everyone else was ok.
When Depression Looks Like Anger
The only “negative” emotion that I remember from these male role models was anger. I am not saying they were abusive, or angry people. I am saying that when it came to outright emotional expression, anger was the one that I perceived as acceptable. This came out as yelling, fighting, or just stewing in their seat with a scowl on their face. Each of them had many things happen in their lives that could have broken them. The way they chose to get through those times was to get angry or work themselves to death to not have to think about them.
Stereotypes for Men Still Exist
Although society is much more accepting of the idea of an emotional man, I can’t say that the stereotype has vanished. I am not immune to this. I have probably only cried to my wife a couple times and this freaked her out. She too grew up in a family where men don’t do that. I have to make a conscious decision to express myself and not fall back on anger as a coping mechanism.
The reason I bring this up in relation to depression is the fact that suicide rates for men continue to rise.
Counseling Could be Your Solution
Counseling for men is building momentum, but still isn’t the go to decision when depression hits. I was told once that anger is a secondary emotion hiding something else. I believe that something else is the inability of unwillingness to express stress, anxiety, and many times turns to bouts of depression. For the men out there, it may seem noble to suffer in silence, but that suffering ends up not only hurting yourself, but the people who love you. For the family members, if your husband or father is attempting to express themselves outside of anger, be supportive and listen. Many times that’s all we need.
At Mind Works Counseling in Lubbock TX, we specialize in helping men with their depression, and are equipped to help process through the daily struggles and help you find your voice. Please reach out if we can be of any help
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