It is common knowledge that men and women are different. One of the main distinctions is the way in which men and women traditionally handle emotions, particularly depression.
Women generally are more in touch with their emotions. When women are depressed they want to talk with someone about these feelings. Usually a woman will talk with a friend, her hair stylist, and/or a therapist about what is bothering her.
Men, on the other hand usually suffer in silence. And, they pay a price for that! Emotional concerns held in underlie physical health concerns. Men who do not deal with their emotional stressors are more likely to have coronary artery disease, emphysema, be overweight, increased blood pressure, diabetes, have a stroke, and commit suicide than women. Depressed men smoke more, exercise less, isolate, and use more alcohol and illegal drugs to alleviate emotional pain. Repressed emotions come back to haunt men. These factors become more obvious and impactful as men approach the dreaded “middle age”. Aging and testosterone loss exacerbates the underlying emotional repression.
Since most men are clueless and/or remain mum about their pervasive sadness, an opportunity exists for caring women to help men discover and deal with their issue. Signs for women to look for in their men would include:
1. Isolating more than usual: lot of boob tube or electronic game time.
2. Increased mood alteration activities via alcohol or drugs use.
3. Change in sexual behavior: usually decreased libido, sometimes more desirous.
4. Change in eating habits: significantly lower or higher appetite.
5. Sleep disorder
6. Increased irritability or anger outbursts
7. Loss of confidence, difficulty in making decisions.
8. Increased risk taking activities: seeking adrenalin rushes to give short term pleasure. Pornography, affairs, and gambling would be examples.
Ladies, you can help the man you love, or just tolerate. When you notice that depression symptoms are present be careful how you address it. Minimize questions or criticisms of behavior. These approaches only make a man more defensive than he normally is. Loving comments of concern are good starting points.
If he is totally resistant, confer with a qualified mental health professional who often can help devise a strategy to get men to attend to their issues. This is one of my favorite things to do. I have one strategy that is about ninety per cent successful in getting a man to come in and visit with me. After that it is a matter of connection so that the man feels comfortable and willing to look at these repressed emotions causing depression and poor health habits.
Depression is serious. Find ways to address and heal such a condition. It is very treatable.