Many men are depressed–most just don’t know it yet.
Because guys tend to call depression by the names anger, irritability, stress, nights alone, promiscuous sex, pornography, masturbation, one-more-drink, most mislabel the deeper issue and, in turn, fashion themselves into ticking timebombs. Words like depression, anxiety, suicide simply aren’t in the vocabulary of a macho-man, and internalization is all we know.
Over decades, we’ve been conditioned to swallow our emotions, hold back tears, and bury our secrets lest anyone call us a wuss, pansy or a human. No wonder 7 out of 10 suicides are male.
By the way, I still can’t let myself cry.
What makes matters worse is the biggest obstacle between men and their mental health is typically their own obstinate pride. We can’t fight past our giant egos and that’s where our better halves can save the day.
That’s right. Wives. While we’ve been hiding scars under frail armor and saving face for dragons, women bear the blatant truth: the damsels aren’t the ones in distress.
“Many men are depressed–
most just don’t know it yet.”
In conjunction with my wonderful, beautiful, patient, loving, caring, no-bull-shit wife, we’ve determined the top signs a spouse can look out for in his/her husband. These signs might help you begin to shed a light on a household darkness, and they are ones that might be most apparent to a spouse.
For a complete list of signs and symptoms, check out Do You Struggle With Depression? 7 Things To Evaluate.
Is your husband impatient, irritable, or just plain angry? Chances are, beneath that bull-dog facade, there is a whimpering puppy. Men, especially, show their depression, anxiety, and mental illness through general irritability.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not, and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”
Perhaps you’ve noticed he’s lost his appetite for sex. Though it’s easier said than done, try not to take the perceived rejection personally. He loves you and thinks you’re hot stuff, but he could very well be suffering from an unrecognized bout of depression which pillages the soul of delights.
Nurture your husband. Despite culture’s claims that we are but sex-crazed brutes, we need emotional care, especially from our wives. After all, is not S-E-X a Spiritual and Emotional eXperience for both individuals? It’s never just physical.
On date night, in the flickering candlelight of your favorite Italian restaurant, across the two-top that is clothed like a wedding cake with cabernet toppers, you look into your husband’s eyes and what do you see?
Been there before?
A dismal outlook on life or a general struggle to engage with others can certainly be signs of a roaring inner darkness. Men who feel numb or who are constantly striving for numbness (through substances, habit or distraction) often are depressed, and in need of professional help to reemerge into the world.
My wife, Lindsey, is to the point that if she sees that “look in my eyes,” she knows I’m struggling.
When Lindsey told me she thought the state of my closet coincided with the state of my mental well-being, it was if she reached into my head and flipped the switch for me. She was right. When my closet is clean and organized so is my head. And when it is teeming with half-dirty pants, wrinkled tees, and crispy socks, well, so is my head.
I don’t know if the disorganization triggers the depression or the other way around (I can hardly make sense of anything in my head), but I do know that in depressive episodes I am more forgetful, more easily overwhelmed, and I have a harder time accurately interrupting reality.
In the end, my wife has a front-row seat to my life, and she is more than willing to jump into the game whenever I need back-up. It’s not just my life anymore. It’s ours.
Many men are depressed–most just don’t know it yet. It comes out in anger, sexual issues, numbness, or mental disorganization among other things. Please don’t take what I say here as ammo for a witch hunt into your husband’s closet. But, patiently evaluate your household, come alongside your husband, seek support, and nudge him toward a more acute self-evaluation and professional help.
Lastly, it, unfortunately, needs to be said that if your husband is in any way an abuser, his mental illness is no reason for you to stay. Seek help and safety first for yourself and your family. Each of us is mentally responsible for ourselves.
This blog post was originally published on daddingdepressed.com and has been republished with the permission of the author, Dwight Doug Mains.
Dwight Doug Mains is a freelance writer, author, editor and blogger, with a passion for helping others communicate in a congested world. Living with depression and anxiety himself, Doug recognised a need for male advocacy in online resources regarding mental health and created Dadding Depressed. As he personally learns how to better function as a new dad and a man dealing with the challenges of mental illness, Doug blogs in the hope to be a voice for other men who are silently hurting.