Depression is considered a silent crisis in men’s mental health. With their desire to ‘man it up’, men refuse to accept they’re faced with a problem deemed to be a woman’s disease. Statistics show that depression is prevalent in women than in men. However, numerous studies show that the rate of suicide in men is four times higher than the rate of suicide in women. This only means one thing – women are more open to seeking help for their mental issues. Men, on the other hand, choose to suffer in silence. Society has put them in a fragile position where showing vulnerability and weakness isn’t acceptable. Or they may overlook the symptoms of their mental illness.
Men can be depressed for a variety of reasons. Famous celebrities, sports stars, world-renowned men, and wealthy businessmen have had their own share of walking down this dark alley. Some of them lived to tell the tale while some were unlucky to take their own lives. Depression doesn’t happen overnight. It’s like a slow suicide or a walk in the sea where you go deeper and deeper until you drown yourself.
Fortunately, there are healthy habits and lifestyle choices you can cultivate to keep you going and become mentally stronger. Depression would find you harder to beat when you arm yourself with the right tools. Here they are:
1. Find your tribe
Others find their tribe to feel a sense of belongingness and acceptance. When you’re depressed, describing how you feel is just too impossible. Your mind is messy and you just can’t understand why you’re feeling the way you do. But once you see or hear someone talk about their own depressive experiences, things will start to become clear to you. There’s no better feeling than recognizing someone describing what you actually feel.
Since a lot of people have been through depressive moments nowadays, you can check a lot of books, TV shows, videos, and blogs where people share what they’re going through. Giving a name to what you feel is the first step to recovery. It’s some kind of light at the end of the tunnel.
2. Recognize your symptoms
Because depression is mostly deemed as a woman’s disease, the common symptoms associated with this problem are low energy, headaches, fatigue, lack of interest, and pain in some areas in the body. However, the symptoms of male depression vary greatly from that of a female’s.
Male symptoms include aggressiveness, emptiness, anxiety, and lack of focus. Once you identify these symptoms in yourself, it would be easier for you to make changes or point out the underlying cause of your problem.
3. Limit your alcohol consumption
Too much alcohol in your system isn’t good for your body’s cellular activity. If you’re already depressed, drinking heavily can aggravate your depressive tendencies. Once you notice your recent drinking habits is way heavier than your usual drink, something might be troubling you. Instead of avoiding any issue, face it head on to keep your sanity intact.
4. Get yourself out of a toxic environment
Most stresses in men stem from their workplace. The higher their title, the greater is the responsibility and stress associated with it. Some men may choose to stay stressed than give up their job positions.
If your job puts you in constant combat with stress, you should choose whether to stay or leave. Having frequent breaks or mini vacations is another way of giving yourself enough room to breathe. Grab the chance whenever you have one.
5. Reach out to others
Some people who went through depressive bouts and emerged victorious find happiness and fulfillment in helping others who are going through the same dilemma. Sharing their own experiences and how they deal with it is enough victory for them. Doing the same thing might be a breather for you too. You never have to reach out to other depressive people. Having the capacity to help anybody in need gives your life more meaning and keeps your mind in its best shape.
6. Spend more time with your partner
Depression robs a space within a person. It makes them feel some kind of emptiness inside. In order to fill that void, they establish intimate relationships outside of marriage. Both men and women are guilty of this. They feel their partner is no longer making them happy without realizing that the problem is within themselves.
Tend to your marriage or relationship. It’s even much better when you try to open up to your partner or significant other about your feelings and indescribable emotions. Facing a problem as a team will give you more edge in handling episodes of depression.
7. Find your happy place
The ‘cave man’ in you might be looking for a safe and soothing place, one where you find yourself more comfortable just like the days of old where our ancestors find haven in a cave. Your happy place might be playing golf, walking in nature, or playing a musical instrument. Depression might only be a tool used by your creative self to express itself. That creative power is one where your soul can be one with your mind and body. Tap into that power.
8. Say no when you have to
Pleasing people makes you feel great. But when it robs you of life’s simple joys, saying no might be the most important gift you can give yourself. Say no without explanation. Sometimes the world doesn’t owe you an explanation.
9. Do things that matter
Depression can set in when you’re less proud of yourself. You can lose pride in yourself when you feel you haven’t done anything worthy to be proud of. In fact, unacceptance and isolation from mainstream society push people to commit suicide.
But you’d be farther from this road when you make yourself worthy by doing simple things that truly matter every single day. This can include smiling and saying kind words to friends, family, and even strangers. Lending a helping hand to a neighbor in need takes only a few steps away from your home. These are simple things but makes your existence more fulfilling.
10. Say nice things to yourself each day
Yes, you’re imperfect just like anybody else. But being able to accept yourself in all your imperfections is the secret to enviable mental health. It takes courage, acceptance, and self-worth to be able to accept yourself as you are.
Luckily, you can achieve this by talking to yourself in front of the mirror each day. It’s only normal to feel awkward at first. But doing it often can become natural. Talk to yourself as if you’re talking to your best friend. Tell yourself how awkward it is to talk to you, that it makes you uncomfortable. Befriending yourself and giving yourself nice words each day may not drive depression away, but it can keep you stronger even when depression hits you the hardest.