Four Behaviors That Prevent Men From Getting Depression Help

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Ideas about masculinity keep many men, and some women from seeking help for depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues.

Although asking for help can be viewed as a sign of wisdom and strength, for many it remains an indication of weakness.

Without professional help, people find their own ways of coping with distressing symptoms. Some of these ways are beneficial but many are not. For instance, there are four common coping behaviors men tend to use that mask distress, but cannot relieve it.

Four Ineffective Masculine Coping Behaviors

  1. Men are less apt to reach out for assistance or comfort when they are upset or in despair. They may instead retreat to their version of a man-cave and spend time with their thoughts. If depressed or anxious, this contemplative time can easily become a rumination of negative, self-defeating thoughts that resolve nothing and make symptoms worse.
  2. The masculine aspect in both men and women likes to fight against symptoms, or at least stand-tough and outlast them. However, what we wrestle with inside ourselves tends to strengthen. Even when we fight through one round of depression, the underlying issues remain unresolved. So, there will be more rounds to fight, and more after that.
  3. For many men, acting strong and virile is a point of pride. Yet, even men who are not depressed or anxious frequently fall short of living their masculine ideal. Asking for help with mental or emotional issues may seem unbearable to someone who is already struggling with manhood-related shame. They might choose to hide symptoms of depression or anxiety.
  4. Although women obviously develop a variety of bad habits, men are especially good at utilizing unhealthy coping mechanisms. They have a knack for distracting themselves from feelings and thoughts with drinking, gambling, substance use, and reckless behaviors. These coping behaviors can, unfortunately, add to their depression or anxiety by creating addiction or dependency issues.

Feel Good About Asking For Help

Many of us reach adulthood with ineffective coping, relationship, and communication skills. We do the best we can with skills we have, but the struggle and stress of using inadequate tools can lead to depression and other problems. This does not imply we are weak, only that we need better skills which counselors can teach us.

Mental health problems can also be triggered by traumatic experiences. Being affected by a traumatic event is normal, even when the resulting symptoms are said to be part of a disorder. You were strong and courageous enough to survive the event, but also are a feeling, compassionate person who is naturally susceptible to mental-emotional wounds. There is no shame in getting help to heal them.

Source: The Calm Clinic
Photo credit: Mic445 / flickr

 
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