Men and anger go a long way – their display of aggression is almost natural to them and for people around them. It’s nothing unusual. So when that anger intensifies and joins with reckless and risky behaviour, it simply gets rolled under the rug in the name of normalcy.
When a man acts out, the thought of him being depressed will barely cross your mind or his for that matter. Sadness, general irritation, loss of interest in previously enjoyable hobbies and work, loss of appetite, insomnia, feeling distant and aloof; these are some general symptoms of depression. However, a male who is depressed may or may not exhibit the same signs. They either tend to act out or show magnified versions of these signs of depression.
Now that Depression is retreating from a stigma zone to a light and cordial zone, there are a lot of known personalities aiding the process of destigmatizing it completely. They have been talking about it out in the open, extending support and hope to sufferers everywhere. However, why is it that we’ve seen only females coming out with their stories and spreading awareness about it? Are men less prone to mental illness or has Depression been made into a purely feminist issue more than just being a mental ailment?
Although, studies show that women are more likely to suffer from Depression, male suicides have been on a rise. The number of depressed men is on par with the number of depressed women but the number of cases reported is higher in females. There’s already some amount of hesitancy and taboo left around this mental concern and for some reasons, this uneasiness is largely prominent amongst men. Women are more likely to talk about their depression to friends and family while also being open to seeking therapy. Since, they tend to acknowledge it with ease; getting out of that state too is easier for them. Men, on the other hand have not been found to participate in conversations about Depression openly nor is it easily recognised in them.
Male minds are wired to run away from vulnerability.
Since, men and women both have different emotional capacities and coping mechanisms, the way they tackle depression is also largely different. It’s considerably harder for men to talk about their feelings and accept them. They also often find it hard to self-analyse and identify signs of depression in them. This makes it all the more difficult for their closed ones to help them because they don’t exhibit the same and the general signs as women do. That is augmented by the expectations that the society has been imposing on them over the years.
This lack of emotional exposure adds to the general traits of depression. And, the result is an inner conundrum that doesn’t have an outlet or an escape. These dilemma forces them to channelize their mental suffering into abrasive behaviour that may also take the form of unexplained physical pain- and that is how they cope.
“They cope, not by crying extensively but by overdoing. Mostly, it’s risky behaviour and unhealthy indulgence like drugs, alcohol, gambling and frivolous sex.” – Anastasia Dedhia
Depression is an epidemic today that stains male minds just as much as it disturbs female minds. It may pose to be mentally and physically damaging too. One primary cure for it is to acknowledge it, accept it and eventually talk about it. And, that is exactly something that men find unnecessary and as their submission to a weakness. We have come a long way with eradicating the taboo around mental health, particularly depression now. While we are at it, maybe, we should start looking at it as a mental concern in general and not exactly as a sign of weakness that men don’t get affected by. Start by not normalizing male temper anymore. Create that space where men can feel comfortable opening up in.
Moreover, establish the fact that suffering of some form and vulnerability is crucial to humans. And, coming face to face with it is more of a victory than a weakness.
Source: Anastasia Dedhia – Clinical Psychologist, Life Coach, ElderCare Specialist and Founder of Mind Mantra