E23 The Big D: Men and Depression
The Big D. Men and depression. I spent my early years as a man with an assumption that any man who had depression was too weak to handle life‘s natural ups and downs. After all, I was an athlete and athletes are taught to keep their energy up and throw any obstacles (emotional or otherwise) to the side so that you can “be all you can be”.
Then I hit my thirties and IT descended upon me. This dark cloud that seemed to sap my energy and my motivation. I felt heavy. I thought I was just in a funk. “This will pass,” I told myself. Weeks and then months went by. It DID NOT and WOULD NOT pass. I had no compass or reference for this. My solution, hey let’s drink more! Yeah, that might do the trick. I don’t think I was even aware at the time that alcohol was a serious depressant. That was how clueless I was.
One night my very intuitive and very intelligent wife came over to sit with me on the couch. She could see my struggle and confusion and knew that this was not normal for me. She told me that she thought I had depression and the first step would be to start to see a therapist.
At first, I was resistance. After all, I am NOT a man who gets depressed. Yet as I sat with myself for a few more days, it became more and more obvious that she was right. I looked up therapists in my areas and started to gently walk myself back to wellness and energy.
The Big D- A Few Stats-
Before we get to our interview, here are some relevant statistics to help us understand this issue. According to the American Psychological Association, 30% of men will suffer from a period of depression in their lifetime. The National Institute of Mental Health states that 6 million American men suffer from depression each year.
And depression is a high-risk factor for suicide. Suicide rates for American men is 4 x higher than women. Every day, 123 men in the US and 84 men in the UK take their own lives. In Australia, 3 out of 4 suicides are men. This dynamic is not just happening here in the States. It seems to be happening all over the place.
Join psychotherapist Ben Seaman and I as we take a look at how men can best handle a “dark night of the soul.”
Thank you, listeners!