Depression is a mood disorder, present in both men and women, however, it manifests differently in both genders.
For those of you who know me, be it my family, friends or my great clients at Booths Fitness, you are aware that I too have suffered with severe depression and anxiety.
In general from my own experience, males are much less likely to seek help during periods of depression.
So in this blog, I am going to spread awareness and share with you the most common facts about depression in men, along with symptoms and possible ways to work on it. The following is from my research into this subject and from my own personal experiences dealing and managing with this illness.
Whether you are a male suffering from depression, or you have a relative that may be suffering from it, do read this article!
How Is Depression Different In Men?
When it comes to depression in men, certain symptoms are more common in males and on top of that, the reaction manifests differently in both genders.
It appears that many women are more likely to blame themselves for their problems, while men throw the blame onto other people and try to cause conflict.
Why Is This Important?
Most of us know how tough depression can be and as such, it can lead to extremes, such as suicidal thoughts.
This is the exact reason why depression awareness should be spread and why you should consider it an important matter, whether you have depression or not.
No matter how tough depressive episodes are, there are ways to work with it so that it manifests less frequently.
Sadness VS. Depression
All of us at one point have felt sad and that is completely normal, as we are supposed to experience the whole spectrum of human emotions, in order to be socially adequate.
In most cases, such periods of sadness are short-lived and have a specific cause, which in time we accept and move on.
Sometimes however, that sadness and sorrow goes on for months and years on end and becomes the predominant mental state.
At one point, that state becomes uncontrollable and leads to certain behaviours, thoughts and actions.
Since emotional states of this kind affect every other aspect of our lives, this would be the pivoting point, where you should seek professional advice.
And though that may sound bad to some of you, think of it this way - Depression doesn’t mean weakness and you should not be afraid to speak out and reach for help.
As a matter of fact, depression is a common disorder that affects otherwise healthy, happy and successful individuals.
Depression and its symptoms manifest on many levels, ranging from mental, to physical and emotional.
If you’re depressed, you will more than likely notice the following symptoms:
● Chronic sadness that doesn’t go away and progressively becomes more intrusive and torturing
● Everything seems pointless, even your favourite activities
● You become more antisocial, losing interest in any human interactions
● Focusing on the task at hand for more than 5 minutes becomes unbearable
● You experience guilt for things that have nothing to do with you
● You lose emotional stability and have frequent mood swings
● Your overall mindset becomes more negative (or you call yourself ‘realistic’ which is basically the socially accepted form of negativity)
● Hopelessness and suicidal thoughts start surfacing in your thoughts more frequently
● Chronic exhaustion, sleep doesn’t really make you feel fresh
● You find it hard to fall asleep
● You wake up during your sleep, often anxious
● Your libido decreases, sex means nothing to you
● You lose weight and/or appetite frequently
● You just can’t feel relaxed and okay in a social environment
● You make mistakes during work or just find it hard to concentrate in general
● You are unusually quiet, closed up and zoned out
● You become easily triggered by small things
● You stop communicating with your family and other relatives
Behavioural Patterns of Male Depression
More often than not, men do not like to talk about their depression, perhaps because they feel like people will perceive them as weak.
In most cases, during periods of depression, men resort to alcohol and other drugs, to make them feel better.
This however may temporarily make the person feel better, but isn’t a sustainable solution, due to the fact that alcohol is a depressant.
Considering this fact, we can conclude that alcohol can actually worsen the symptoms of depression.
Sometimes, when depressed, men tend to focus more on their work and they deprive themselves of social life and self-care - two very important aspects of a healthy mind.
Recognising Depression In Men
Since most depression-induced behavioural and emotional patterns lead to worsening of the disorder, it becomes hard for a fogged mind to deal with depression on its own.
However, men can get help much easier if someone in their surroundings and close ones manage to recognise specific behavioural patterns and reactions.
For instance, men tend to talk about their physical symptoms, rather than their emotional ones, which is one of the main reasons why male depression is frequently misdiagnosed.
If you suspect a relative of yours to have depression, do stay alert and aware of their behaviour - They might need your help without you even realising it!
Self-Help - Is Such A Thing Even Possible?
Being in the void is without a doubt one of the most hopeless states you can be in, where nothing has meaning and everything is futile.
However, given that you have the power of free will, there are things you can do, in order to make depression manifest less frequently.
Here’s my best personal advice for self-help during depressive episodes:
If you are going through a rough patch, just try and share your feelings, thoughts and emotions with someone close.
However, in case talking to someone feels off, just try and write your thoughts and emotions down on paper and try to objectively analyse.
Though depression decreases appetite, you should still try and eat plenty of nutritious foods, such as animal products, fruits, vegetables and other plant foods.
In doing so, you will favour your biochemistry and tip the scales in favour of balanced inner processes, which will in turn reduce the risk of depression
Partake in Physical Activity
Exercise is a powerful depression fighter for several reasons. Most importantly, it promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being.
It also releases endorphins, which are powerful chemicals in your brain that energise your spirits and make you feel good.
Finally, exercise can serve as a distraction, allowing you to find some quiet time to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression.
Avoid Alcohol & Drugs
As I mentioned, alcohol and drugs can numb the sorrow for a couple of hours but in the long-term, those things will undoubtedly worsen the symptoms of depression.
Stay healthy and active and your body and mind will be thankful!
The symptoms of depression manifest differently in men and women, which is exactly why you should pay attention to your own behaviour and that of your surroundings and close ones.
More often than not, people who suffer from depression are closed up and never talk about it (especially men).
If you or someone you know has depression, stay faithful and try to tip the scales in favour of health-nourishing activities and habits.
Thank you for taking time to read todays blog. I hope you was able to take something from it.
It would be great and really helpful if you could share this blog to family and friends too 👌
I am a personal trainer, exercise referral instructor and nutrition advisor who specialises in weightloss. Our 2 storey private studio is located in Allerton Bywater, West Yorkshire.
Struggling on your weightloss journey? If you are interested in one of our weightloss programs then give me a call.