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The D Word

by Donna Fiethen January 24, 2019 3 min read

Today I would like to open a conversation about a topic many of us men around the world have a hard time dealing with….Depression.
It seems like your life is perfect from the outside. You have the love of your life by your side, you have the car, the house, the career. You have it all. But why do you still feel like it’s not enough? Days feel too long, night feel too short. You just feel well, unhappy.

SHOCKING FACT : The number of men diagnosed with depression is half of the number of women.

What does it feel like?
Clinical depression is a mental illness. It is not just a bad day or a moment of sadness, it is a constant feeling that you carry around with you no matter the situation.

Possible symptoms
It is possible that you find yourself having thoughts of self harm and suicide, no energy to perform even the simplest of tasks. Insomnia is your friend night after night. Feeling worthless and despondent are regular emotions. Yet you cannot verbalise these feelings. 

What causes depression?
Depression can hit a person at any age and definitely any gender. It can be triggered by a traumatic event BUT can also be hereditary. On a chemical level, depression can be caused by your brain not having enough or sufficient “feel good” chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin. It could even be a combination of any of the above factors.No matter the cause, the feeling can become unbearable if not treated.

So why is it that men don’t speak up? 
The “Masculine” mindset is prevalent in many cultures around the world. Old sayings like ‘boys don’t cry’ or “be a man” is so much more damaging than one thinks. Unfortunately this type of mindset can be, and has been ingrained into impressionable minds of children which is then carried into adulthood. Ultimately this is robbing men of their emotional output and happiness. I ask myself this question daily, we all one and the same species, so why is it that as men we are told to be strong and macho. Who ever said men can't show vulnerability and weakness?













What to do if you think you’re depressed?
Talk to a friend/family member: There is a good possibility that someone in your life can be helpful. Take some time to think of who this person might be, a trustworthy person that you are comfortable with. Nearly every guy that has overcome depression believes that the turning point came when they reached out to a familiar face .

Make an appointment with your Doctor: Your General Practitioner can highlight possible causes by discussing your symptoms. In some cases, and from a medical point of view, tests can be done to eliminate potential medical reasons for depression. 

Reach out to a health line or support group: If you feel more comfortable speaking anonymously to a stranger, there are health lines or support groups that can be contacted. Often this can be done telephonically with absolutely no judgement. Trained volunteers or trained medical staff are usually on the other side of the line.

Social media groups can also be another option in order to receive encouragement and support that is needed to get on the right road to recovery. It is possible that a fellow group member has had similar experiences as you, and is able to advise you on what steps to take. More often than not, social support groups show us that we do not have to suffer alone.

Challenges you might face
You try to “solve” this on your own : Mental health issues are just as damaging to the body as any other physical medical issues. Accepting help is often much harder than offering help. This is another hurdle which one has to overcome in order to get the right help.

Think of it this way, during the onboard safety instructions on a plane, the hostess will always say…” ……. If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure YOUR oxygen mask on first, and then assist the other person…..”. In other words, before you can help others, you will need to help yourself first.

Always remember that if We stand together we can be the difference that changes the world.

Be kind and love one another.
Peace out Don

Donna Fiethen
Donna Fiethen

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