Over the last few years, more and more men have been strong enough to stand up and declare that they suffer with depression. That has led to some really nice coverage on the subject. I don’t want to write about that. They have all the research and studies to back it up, as well as the stories of many high-profile men from movies, TV, and sports. I get it. They are depressed. Yet, they also have the best available services at their fingertips! I’m just a guy, no huge bankroll or million-dollar contracts. Rather, a guy with mounting bills, a family to feed, and a hopeless pit in my soul tearing me apart.
I can’t be depressed… I’m a GUY! I don’t have the time to deal with this mood. So, I swallow the pain and move on. I avoid the help that is out there because I don’t want my other guy friends to think I’m weak. Yes, weak. The stigma of how others think of mental illness keeps me away from talking to anyone about my unrelenting feelings of despair. So I buck up and tell myself I can take this… I’m a GUY. We don’t complain about this type of thing!
Back to work I go, with the black cloud of doom following me everywhere, but I can handle it. I’ve been handling it for years now. Why should this be any different? I can’t move…I’m frozen in my bed, dread and fear abounds… I am worthless. I am trash. I am a failure. I keep telling myself… But wait, I am a GUY! I swallow my pain, get out of bed and go to work. Bills need to be paid, we need food on our table; there is no time to deal with this depression.
Rage builds and anger starts to erupt over the smallest faults I perceive in others. Home life is harsh. My moods are sporadic and my wife and I fight every day. “You need help,” she says. “No, I can handle it… I am a GUY!” Hate builds and rage builds and thoughts of death are now louder in my ears. I look around, my life is spinning out of control…My family is afraid of me! But I swallow the pain and move on.
I’m a guy. I drink, lightly at first, to ease the pain. Now, heavily, to numb out my hopelessness…My job is in jeopardy. My wife threatens to leave me and my kids don’t want anything to do with me. I hate how I am. I despise my own reflection in the mirror. My head is full of idealizations of death and the liquor is making it easy to complete my thought. I can handle this, I’m a Guy! I can’t swallow this pain anymore…Instead, I swallow something else till my eyes gloss over and I pass out.
I wake up to the sound of silence. I look around at my life. I want to die and I know how I’m going to do it. I think this is the best thing for my family and it will solve all my problems. Then I realize my wife was right, I do need help. I pick up the phone and dial 911… and say, “I’m a GUY and I’m depressed…”
Are you a guy? Does this story sound familiar? It is more common than you know. As guys, we were taught to suck it up and just deal with it and move on. I did that for years and not only did I suffer, but so did the ones I love. They suffered from the negative effects of my depression. Seeking help before you end up losing everything is the best way to handle depression. Sadly, many of you do what I did. For 20 years, I swallowed my pain till it was almost too late.
This is not the end. There is life after the diagnosis of depression. There are new and improved medications and therapies that can give us back our lives. Recovery is possible. So, don’t just be a guy and deal with depression on your own…Rather, be a MAN and get help!