Depression is not a short episode of the blues; depression is not a personal weakness that someone can snap out of. Depression is a medical illness that makes you feel sad and causes you to lose interest in life. Physical symptoms include: low libido and interest in sex, loss of appetite, insomnia and fatigue, or wanting to sleep constantly, slowed mental processing and outbursts of anger that surprise even you. Depression can also mean frequent crying spells, unexplained body aches and pains as well as suicidal thoughts. Depression upsets your life so that day-to-day activities become increasingly difficult and you often feel that life is not worth living. You are numb.
Here are a few things you should know:
- CDC statistics: 9% of adults are depressed at least occasionally and 3.4% of adults suffer from major depression.
- The prevalence of major depression increases with age, from 2.8% among people aged 18 to 24 to 4.6% of people aged 46 to 64.
- Researcher Jim Thornton http://tinyurl.com/7us6rr5 states that possibly 10% of patients over 50 who see a primary care physician are suffering from a major depression.
- Statistically, women are able to reveal their depression more easily than men.
Terrence Real in his book I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression http://tinyurl.com/7ktsnf8 writes: “It’s not considered unwomanly to be emotional and vulnerable, but a real man would never be so weak as to let his emotions get the best of him. There’s a lot of shame involved, and this sets up what I call compound depression—a man gets depressed about being depressed.”
And if men are not seeking professional help, how are they coping? Answers: excessive drinking, gambling, uncontrolled sex or temper flares. This reinforces negative behaviors which Real calls an “addictive defense.” Dr. Barry Lebowitz, a professor of psychiatry says that men often talk about every symptom of depression except sadness, lacking the ability to reveal their feelings.
Dr. Margaret Rutherford, a clinical psychologist, understands the difficulty some men have arriving at the decision to seek help. She asked me to share a survey with my readers which she created so that you can ask yourself some questions, possibly getting a better handle on whether you might be depressed.
To start, ask yourself: Do you think you could have ever been depressed? And whether you answer YES or NO, continue on with the next questions. I have reprinted the SURVEY here, but you can also go to the following link on Dr. Rutherford’s website. Here.
Here’s the Survey: UPDATE: to view the results of those who took the survey go here: http://drmargaretrutherford.com/and-the-survey-says-men-and-how-they-feel-about-depression-and-therapy/ (close to 1,000 responded)
1. What might keep you from telling someone if you are depressed?
- would think you were weak, less of a man
- they might not keep it confidential
- depression is something women feel
- you never talk about how you feel
- belief that you will get over it by yourself
2. Would you be more likely to tell a female or a male?
3. Would you tell your family physician and seek medication?
- would talk to him/her but would not take meds
4. Would you consider going into therapy if you felt depressed?
5. If you would consider going or have gone into therapy, please check the major reasons.
- believe getting problems out in the open is good
- know someone who was in therapy and it helped
- at my wits end; tired of feeling this way
- fear of hurting myself
- realization that symptoms are having negative impact on others
- can afford or if a struggle financially–it’s worth it
- getting negatively evaluated at work
- wife/partner asked
- history of abuse that I have never shared
- don’t mind asking for help
- don’t want to take medication or if on, want to try to stop
6. Please check major reasons if you are not considering going to therapy
- someone would find out
- am not a good talker
- feel that it is weak
- have never been one to ask for help
- don’t believe that others need to know your problems
- mental health professionals are weird people
- I don’t believe in depression
- can’t afford
- it’s not worth it even if I can afford
- don’t have time
- don’t think I will commit suicide
- suicide is an option
- think it will go away
- drink or smoke pot regularly to take care of it
- would rather take medication
7. Would you prefer a male or female therapist?
8. Do you define yourself as heterosexual?
9. Age/Marital Status age_______
We might have missed something. Please tell us in your own words why you might or might not seek therapy, especially if you were really depressed or suicidal.
Thank you. P.S. Dr. Rutherford and I planned these posts before the Germanwings tragedy. She writes: The perpetrator of that crime, suffering from mental illness, was seeking help but allegedly not using it well or appropriately. All our hearts grieve for those affected. I am also sure that those suffering from obsessions with fear of flying are having a hard time as well. Please care for yourselves.
TO READ DR. RUTHERFORD’S POST and take the survey go here.
Dr. Margaret Rutherford is a clinical psychologist. She earned her Ph.D. through UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas and blogs at http://drmargaretrutherford.com
Thanks to Caramdir Photostream; Thanks to Google Images and onislam.net.