Masculinity & Depression
I think there are a lot of people that have a false view of what depression feels like and looks like, especially in men. When they think of depression they think of someone being sad, withdrawn, quiet, and down. But, for many men, including myself, depression disguises itself as anger. Throughout my life with depression, I have felt upset, anxious, and scared, and it all comes out as anger.
Understanding real masculinity
I believe one of the largest problems contributing to men struggling with depression is the battle to understand what real masculinity is. Men want to feel like real men, but what does that really mean, especially in light of depression?
Here’s the real problem. What depression often feels like weakness, a loss of power and control. But, we associate masculinity with power and strength. The world gives off this vibe that “real men” are strong and powerful, so what does that mean for men that feel depressed and weak? When we feel depressed, it leads us to feel emasculated. When we feel emasculated in a situation it can bring on depression, even if we weren’t already struggling with it at the moment.
What real strength is
Understanding what real strength is can make all the difference. Real strength is knowing when and how to get the help that you need. It takes a real inner strength to ask for help when you need it, and that’s a strength that most men struggle with. There are a lot of “real men” out there appearing strong and powerful outwardly, while they silently suffer from feelings of fear, anxiety, and depression within.
Just look at the stories of the men that are sharing on OC87 Recovery Diaries. These are real men that are struggling with depression and other mental health issues. They are from all different walks of life, dealing with challenges that are the same and yet different. But, they have the strength to get the help they need and help others do the same. These are “real men”, not the macho guys that are walking around with a hot temper like everything is fine when it isn’t.
Not only do we need to transform the stigma around mental health, but around men dealing with depression as well. Real strength comes from doing what you need to do in order to be the best you can for yourself and those you care about.
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