This article was not written by a therapist. It was written by someone who is not a therapist, but a regular person who deals with depression. This article was written to help people who may have questions about someone else’s experience of depression. In no way am I implying that this will be YOUR experience, but many people read blogs on various websites to get a “personal view” of depression, but blogs can have a lot of misinformation in them. This article was not written by one of my own clients (as that would be unethical for me to publish). This is an article that describes many of my own clients, which is the reason I chose to post it. I was given permission by the writer to add this to my blog. So here it goes…
Begin an average person’s struggle with depression:
There have been numerous studies that have shown that men are about three and a half times more likely to commit suicide than women. There are a number of different factors that come into play with that disparity, but as a man who has suffered from depression, and who has contemplated ending my life, I can tell you that stubborn male pride can play a major role. I knew that there was something wrong with me, and I knew that it was destroying my marriage, but I waited until I was standing in the ruins before opening up.
There was a history of alcoholism and suicide attempts among the male members of my extended family, but I didn’t feel that any of that factored in to how I was feeling. I didn’t drink to excess, and I didn’t feel particularly unhappy. What I felt was different than the man I had been up until that point of my life. I have always been happier in my own company, but was also always content to be in a social environment with friends, family, and people that I liked and felt comfortable with. When I craved time alone more than anything else, I knew there was a problem.
Knowing that there is an issue and actually opening up about it are two different things entirely. In reading about depression and anxiety, which I was eventually diagnosed with, I learned that my behavior was pretty common to what a lot of men grow through in life. The fact of the matter is that men are constantly told to “man up” or “stop crying like a baby,” when what they really need is someone to reach out and ask what’s wrong. It’s tough to open up when you have spent years building a pretty solid outer shell.
I initially went to see a therapist to help with my marriage, but that turned out to be nothing more than a plan by my ex-wife to get me the help I needed. I was angry at first, even though I thought it odd that we were seeking therapy for a marriage that was most certainly done. We have remained friends since our divorce, and I still thank her to this day for making me do something that I would never have done myself.
Suffering in silence is never a good idea, because if you do that, the suffering never ends, and the pain just becomes more intense. When I went into therapy, there was almost an immediate sense of a weight being lifted. Being in a place where I felt free to talk openly, I ended up delivering a series of what I called “a-ha” moments through those conversations. It helped the therapist diagnose what my problems were, and helped me see that I should have made this move much sooner. I try not to think about where my life would be right now had I not received help. I am far enough into this now to know that I will never be “cured,” but I have an understanding of my illness now that helps me manage it effectively every single day.
BACK TO THE THERAPISTS WRITING: I don’t have much to add to this article because it is a story I have heard many times by my own clients. Many say that suicide is a long term answer for a short term problem. YES, depression is sometimes a lifelong problem, but it has its ups and downs. Some days will feel better than others. The goal of therapy is to help increase those good days and decrease those bad days. If you are thinking about suicide, you don’t have anything to lose. Go try out therapy. The worst thing that could happen is that you go through with what you are already planning. Call a suicide hotline (1-800-273-8255), call a therapist, call a friend, TELL SOMEONE and get the help you deserve!! I also wanted to say THANK YOU to the brave man who wrote this article for my blog. He is stronger than he may ever know and he has helped people simply by letting them know they are not alone.