The Anger Beneath

The depressed individual has a depleted sense of inner well-being and pride. Consequently, he or she must look to external sources for validation. This makes it difficult for the individual to make decisions; he or she fears the wrong decision might result in disapproval from others.

In an effort to please others and to win love and acceptance, the depression sufferer buries feelings of anger and annoyance. Wearing a mask of good will and gladness, he or she is unaware of how small angers are building and getting ready to erupt in a torrent of rage. Should this happen, the sudden outpouring of rage shocks everyone, including the sufferer.

Coming Forward

It is very difficult for many people to acknowledge the fact that they are feeling depressed. To add to this, medical doctors, employers, and teachers often fail to recognize the symptoms of this problem and, therefore, do not refer people to the mental health system for evaluation and treatment.

The stereotyped view is that depression is a sign of weakness and that seeking help marks one as “crazy.” Consequently, people experience profound feelings of shame associated with this illness, along with a lack of empathy on the part of family and friends. People would rather deny their depression and engage in drinking and drug use than to admit experiencing it and seeking help.

This issue is of particular relevance to men. National statistics indicate that many more women than men suffer from depression. And yet, because men are taught from their earliest years to hide their deeper feelings and to be “tough” and independent, it is probable that depression in men is underdiagnosed and underreported. Acknowledging the need for help of any kind may be experienced as a loss of face. “Masculine” aggression does, however, provide a sad counterpoint when it comes to depression, for while many more women than men attempt suicide during a depressive phase, men tend to choose more lethal means and, therefore, succeed more often in killing themselves.