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What is Male Depression?

16 Mar

unmasking male depression_001
In his book, Unmasking Male Depression, Dr. Archibald D. Hart presents a frank discussion of depression in males. This is the one book that validated the crazy feelings I couldn’t explain. The grey my life had become. The intense, unexplained sadness that matured since I was in middle school. It crystallized my reality and helped me understand who I was. If you’re a male who is as confused as I was, I encourage you to buy this book.

In this post I take two sections from the book that clearly defined male depression for me.

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Distinguishing Male Depression. 

Dr. Hart differentiates male depression from female depression quite succinctly.

“Female depression is most often diagnosed by the pattern of feelings a a woman is experiencing. Male depression is better diagnosed by the behaviors associated with depression … Woman … get sad; men get mad and irritable. They get grumpy or discouraged, and all they can talk about is being angry and upset about something or other. we have to look at how men act, not at how they feel. Angry outbursts, becoming easily annoyed, increased sexual activity, workaholism, emotional and social withdrawal, coldness, aloofness, and even forms of family violence are nearer the depression mark than the crying and hopelessness of female depression.” (7)

I could certainly identify with the irritability and the angry outbursts he defined for me on these pages. I could identify with depression’s manifestation in behaviors and not feelings. Certainly I was sad, don’t get me wrong. When Specter’s dagger claws scratched out of the corner of my soul, I came down in an emotional collapse. I cried endlessly and hopelessly. In the fetal position. On my kitchen floor. But the book really helped me understand where my actions were coming from. It alleviated A LOT of confusion for me.

 Variations in Mood.

Dr. Hart describes what he calls “diurnal variation in mood” (25) – when moods seem to follow time-based patterns. For instance, feeling worse in the morning and progressively better throughout the day. Nighttime being the best time of the day. Those who suffer the symptoms from such depression fear going to bed because they know they will wake up feeling as bad as they did that morning.

The reasoning here is that

“sleep aggravates the adrenal system, which is already being suppressed by the depression. Sleep shuts this system down even farther. In other words, while sleep helps people who are not depressed to rejuvenate their adrenal systems and thus restore energy, in depressed people the ‘shutdown’ of the adrenal system causes it to want to stay shut down.” (25)

SOURCE – Unmasking Male Depression. Dr. Archibald D. Hart, ©2001


Thank you for taking the time to read about these two symptoms. I pray that by reading, you may have a little more clarity about your condition and realize that you are not crazy or alone in your struggles.

Whether you are a man or woman, what are some symptoms of the clinical depression you live with?

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8 Comments

Posted by on 03/16/2015 in Male Depression

 

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8 responses to “What is Male Depression?

  1. Looking for the Light

    03/16/2015 at 23:23

    Hello my friend
    I’m so proud you are taking steps to own your illness and continue to learn more about. I was diagnosed Bipolar over 30 years ago and treatments have come a long way. I don’t think doctors will understand the brain in my lifetime, when they truly understand the circuitry progress will take large steps. Every person with the same illness is different, then throw baggage on top of and doctors, good doctors can’t give a one pill fits all. I’m very blessed to have a great doctor and there’s no pill pushing here. He communicates how long the drug can take before fully functional, makes sure I’m very clear on most important side effects. I have been seeing him for over 15 years, we can call bullshit on each other. If I want to try another drug due to no improvement, we talk about it, we change. If I plan to drive off a bridge on way home, he see’s it in my eyes. I don’t lie and after talking we decide if going to the hospital is needed. I have been bless to this point to know when I would kill myself, I call him we do whatever it takes to get me in and scheduled for ECT. I am treatment resistant and you can only go so far down before using the one treatment that has worked on me every time. I’m not a guy and have rambled on, we are new to follow each other and thought more of my story could help you some way. I am always available to answer any questions I can or direct you to how I drill down to get the good info.
    Take care.
    M

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    • Surviving the Specter

      03/17/2015 at 08:40

      Thank you, Melinda! I look forward to reading through your posts. I appreciate your support and for being proactive in starting our conversation. You are a strong woman to have to have dealt with your condition for 30 years! I admire your strength and open mindedness. Thank you for joining me on my journey.
      :)Chris

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Looking for the Light

        03/17/2015 at 18:23

        Chris
        We are all children of God, I don’t always do the right thing but try. I didn’t have a normal person, just doctors to talk to for many years. That is what drove me to research. I have to take full accountability of my illness and must pay for my actions. It’s been a while since the dog came around but the stress has opened the door. I know the sun will shine again. My greatest joy in life is giving to others. Giving from my heart without expectations is the only joy in my heart. Everyone needs a friend to talk with, one who doesn’t judge and can listen, offer support and hugs when needed. You’re smart and can help others with your journey.
        Take care. You need to talk offline email me at msandorm@verizon.net. I offer my hand.
        M

        Liked by 1 person

         
        • Surviving the Specter

          03/17/2015 at 18:38

          You are so thoughtful, Melinda. Please use mine as well clewis5039@gmail.com

          Liked by 1 person

           
          • Looking for the Light

            03/17/2015 at 19:08

            Chris
            Are there issues or questions that are pulling you down now? I will try to document the steps I take to pass by the crap and get to doctors, FDA and medical makers info. That is how I get facts not this happened and all the feel sorry for me stories. I do feel very sad for all who suffer. We have to take care of ourself first and education helped me significantly. If you give me a topic I’ll try to use the topic as example of where I would go to get most accurate information.
            🙂
            M

            Liked by 1 person

             
            • Surviving the Specter

              03/17/2015 at 21:20

              Nothing pressing yet, M. I’ve taken an interest in my girlfriend’s PTSD and anxiety, discovering different facets of her conditions and blogging about them along with mine. Your support is unbelievable and means so much.

              Liked by 1 person

               
              • Looking for the Light

                03/18/2015 at 01:54

                I read the last couple of post about your girlfriend. PTSD is a tough road. Please tell me she is getting professional help. There are several therapist around the states with PTSD experience. The War Dept. didn’t do a good job of taking care of many. One of the people in our group has PTSD from 30 yrs in military and 4 tours in the last years. I am not educated on the subject yet know it is very hard for the person and the loved ones. I have a PTSD diagnosis but mine hasn’t bothered me in years. I’m sure you know from the reading and listening, it can be dangerous to others, even fatal. I don’t think doctors know enough about how the brain functions a cause an episode. I pray she is open to your support and fights hard to take steps needed. It must be frightening for her. Maybe there is a group for PTSD survivors you could go to together. I pray for you both, hold tight to each other thru the journey. If she is not seeing a Psychiatrist and on medication to help with the anxiety, I would start there. Our mind are to complicated for us to read about and know every option avail. I mention a Psychiatrist because they are the specialist at know about what medicine to try and not overload. Regular MD’s are not trained in the area and push to many pills for me. A therapist to talk to would also give her a safe place to speak her mind, no judgement. I haven’t talked to my therapist in a long time and I can tell. I start to feel like a ticking bomb. We are going to use Skype to make things easier. If you haven’t bought a recommended book on PTSD that may help in understanding the moods and actions. Take care.
                M

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