Bipolar disorder and experiencing depression is a disabling and problematic concern for many people, and it happens on a number of levels when living with most mental illnesses. This article focuses on men experiencing depression and mental illness stigma. I am not referring to the blues, or feeling down once in a while, but I actually want focus on men who feel so low that depression is negatively affecting their lives on a daily basis and causing them great concern for their mental health.
Men Dealing with Depression Deserve Understanding and Acceptance
I have many male friends who experience depression, and they confide in me, saying that they have a lot of hardships that brings them great suffering and torment. Men are bred in our society to be the ‘strong’ type and they are told to maintain that ‘stiff upper lip’ when it comes to depression. This is stigma at its worst, and for far too long, men have been denied the acceptance that they need to be embraced and understood. It is ‘okay’ for men to feel overwhelmed, lost and depressed, and many men assert that they too are affected by concerns such as medication weight gain and self-esteem issues. Men are sometimes expected to be the bread winner of the family and the one who ‘keeps all things together’ for the sake of everyone in their lives. We all need to recognize that men who experience depression are not weak for this reality, but they too are human beings.
For far too long, men have been hiding the fact that they experience depression, and this has led to many unfortunate incidents where numerous men have died by suicide. It is often considered a silent epidemic. Depression carries a high risk of suicide and anybody who expresses suicidal thoughts or intentions should be taken very seriously.
According to Webmd.com, men take their lives nearly four times the rate of women, accounting for 79% of suicides in the U.S.
There is hope in depression and men can be assured that there are ways to cope with their mental anguish and torrid emotions.
Tips for Men Experiencing Bipolar Depression
There are many things that men can do to deal with their depression, which includes the following:
- First and foremost, realize that overcoming and dealing with depression is a team effort
- Patience and persistence is essential for the long haul back to good health, so do not give up
- It is essential to act early and decisively in this situation and not wait for things to get better
- Talking to a friend is often the first step and they can often be a support for you
- Call a health line and consider contacting a crisis line when things seem unbearable
- Definitely consult a doctor because connecting with the right professional services is a key task
- Once you have all the tools you require for dealing with depression, form an action plan and make changes to diet, sleep, physical activity, and interpersonal relationships
- Remember you are not alone.
There is Hope in our Darkest Places
Even in our darkest places, we will eventually realize that there is hope to get through our tragedies and hardships. What may seem hopeless one day, will lead into another, that will assure us that depression does not last forever. When we are in the middle of it, we cannot see the light, but upon reflection, many realize that there is room to grow and learn from our experiences, no matter how bleak and dark. I know this to be true when attempting to fight off the darkness that never seems to end.
Depression is an element of bipolar disorder that we can never escape, but it is truly in reaching out for help that will bring us on a journey of recovery and acceptance that makes it okay to not be okay. It is imperative to know that clinical depression is not always triggered by something in particular, and there is often not a ‘reason’ for the experience. We are plainly dealing with a mental illness that often has no specific logical circumstantial indicator. As we travel through the valleys, we just have to remember than one day, we will once again soar into a place of stability and balance. Taking the first step by reaching out may be the most difficult, but it is also one of the most vital decisions that you will ever have to make.
Keep your heads up guys and know that you too are worthy of understanding, acceptance, and empathy. Never be afraid to ask for the help that you so rightfully deserve.
via bpHope – bp Magazine Community