Updated: Dec 20, 2022
Us Men Don’t Have It Easy
When you talk with your guy mates, what do you normally hear?
“I've got extra pressures at work,”
“Extra responsibilities for the same pay,”
“I am expected to travel, how am I going to see my family,”
“I don’t get home before 9 p.m,”
“I don’t get any time for myself,”
Sometimes we feel burnt out, and sometimes even broken.
With an expectation to work longer hours, to provide with the cost of living increasing, be part of the children’s’ lives, contribute towards the home and make time for their partners -
Being a Man can be hard work.
Men Don’t Talk - Well actually they do……
But we don’t often tell you “how we feel”, although we will tell you “What we’ve been doing” and “What is was like whilst doing it”
A typical man conversation goes a little something like this….
(1) “What have you been up to?”
(1) “How work been?”
(2) “Shit, overworked, underpaid, I’ve had to do overtime”
(2) “Got bills”
Now lets use that template and assume it’s two women having a conversation.
(1) “Hey, you are looking lovely, how have you been?”
(2) “Ah, thank you, I have been really tired lately, due to work, it’s really getting me down”
(1) “What’s been going on?”
(2) “We have had a few unexpected bills happen on top of the car breaking, and its making me feel depressed”
(1) “Oh that’s horrible, will it pass soon?”
(2) “I think so, I am giving it time”
(1) “Let me know if I can help at all?”
(2) “Well actually I was going to ask you if you could look after Jonny whilst I work late tomorrow?”
(1) “Yes, of course”
Now if you think I’ve made up that….well I have, but the next time you see two men or two women speak, refer to my example.
Men Don’t often talk about their feelings, and when we do we often we use humour - Like this for example.
“Work is like a big pile of shite, you gotta laugh at some of the shit that goes on.”
The men I do speak to who talk about their depression are in the minority. But, they are passionate and articulate, here are a few examples.
“My anxiety is crippling me at the moment, it feels like I am plugged into the mains or something, I have this constant rush, I can’t relax and am not enjoying anything.”
“If only I had done things differently….I keep remembering the past, I try to act normal around my family, as I have to be the strong on, but every time I walk out of the room I weep, as I don’t want them worrying.
Research shows us that men are much less likely to seek help for anxiety and depression than women. Men put it off because they think they are supposed to be in charge of situations, be tough, self-reliant, not feel pain and not look like they have any problems.
Men compare themselves, much more than women, to a gold standard that covets success, control and power. But men’s roles are changing.
Some things guys worry about that often go undetected are -
Sometimes managing more than one set of children due to second or third marriages,
Parents getting older and frailer,
Friends die leaving them more aware of their own mortality,
Fear of failure and not reaching life goals,
Psychological well-being declining,
Anxiety levels rising,
Children or partner becoming ill,
Men often don’t want their friends to see their depression, to make things worse they remove themselves from the social circle, the very circle that will offer support
In recovery from anxiety and depression it’s very important to open up and talk about what’s going on. This withdrawal doesn’t just make depression worse, because of isolation, it also makes recovery longer.
The challenges make many men crash and burn. They don’t seek professional help or support from their friends, and quite often that’s when alcohol, drugs, anger, computer games or even having an affair comes into play.
Men experiencing anxiety and depression display different symptoms to women.
Men often experience “Physical” symptoms
And we might say that we are tired, or flat than depressed.
Depression in men is now common with one in eight experiencing depression at some point in their life.
However, there is reluctance in men to seek help and specifically counselling. And when men do seek counselling, it’s usually at crisis point.
So, What Are The Main Depression Symptoms In Men? Here’s A List Of Thirty Signs Of Depression
1. You're feeling a lot more nervous than you used to
2. Nothing seems to calm you down
3. You feel guilty a lot of the time
4. Generally feel miserable
5. And disappointed
6. You feel tired for no obvious reason
7. And run down
8. You're leaning on alcohol or drugs
9. You’ve got unexplained muscle pain
10. And more headaches than usual
11. Maybe a churning gut
12. Can’t sleep properly
13. A change of appetite
14. You’ve become less sociable
15. And you're withdrawing from friends
16. Lost interest in things you once enjoyed
17. You feel hopeless
18. You’re frustrated and don’t know why
19. You feel restless
20. And like a failure
21. Everything seems like an effort
22. You feel stuck
23. Negative thoughts are tossing around your head like a washing machine
24. But you're finding it difficult to make a decision
25. You have significant weight loss or gain
26. Not able to concentrate as much as normal
27. Often feel distracted
28. And angry
29. Think about doing reckless things
30. You think others would be better off without you
Do You Identify With At Least 10 Of These Symptoms? Here’s What You Can Do Now.
Men are starting to recognize that the old ‘drink it away’ strategy is changing and the new approach, aka ‘talking about it’, can work.
They are starting to see that opening up and talking about their feelings can lead to a better, happier life according to a Study of Men and Masculinity[iv] by the Psychological Society.
Is Therapy The Answer?
The one thing that sends men to the therapist’s room is when they feel as though they are stuck or losing control of their life. Often, self-soothing with alcohol has moved into a drinking problem. Secondly, it’s often having no control over their anger.
If this is you, and you're nervous about talking to a therapist, it’s much easier once you're there.
Person centered counselling means:
You talk about what you feel comfortable in talking about.
You don‘t have to say anything you don’t want to.
We are not there to judge you and want you to feel comfortable so you can feel free to speak on your terms.
I would say. What's more important than the type of therapy, is the relationship you have with your counsellor. You must feel comfortable, feel that the counsellor is trust worthy, and that you are not being judged.
A good therapist can help you develop a plan for overcoming negative thought patterns and destructive behaviours.
It may be helpful to chat with potential therapists by phone before making an appointment. The one you most feel comfortable with maybe the right one for you.