As I continue forward with this cutting edge information on ManPression I want to remind you that I am in no way trying to convince everyone that they are depressed. That is ridiculous and reckless. Instead, I really want to help break down the barriers and guide men to really be tough. Being tough is not avoiding pain… being tough is working through it! Researchers used to say that the women to men ratio with depression was 2:1. The more I dig into the most current research I see the statistics pointing closer to a 1:1 ratio. If we recognize it for what it is and do something about it then we can take control and enjoy life a little more.
So, why is the ratio becoming more even between women and men with depression? The truth is that the diagnostic criteria for depression has been formulated based mostly on experiences of females, thus making it harder to really understand what it looks like in males. However, clinicians have become savvy diagnosticians who have learned that men rarely show up with classical depressive symptoms (i.e. sadness), which has led to better identification of what is really going on.
Historically, men have compounded depression with shame. This shame is usually caused by negative perceptions about feeling depressed. Men are likely to think they are weak and faulted. When we, as men, start to feel some of this shame we sometimes start blaming others. Externalizing distress is very common in ManPression, which is opposite of the internalization behavior in women with depression.
If you notice that you are starting to blame others and criticize more, this could be a warning sign. Blaming others is typically an honest effort to not feel depressed by inflating our own personal value. The problem is this actually does not rid us of feeling down. It only temporarily allows a man to feel OK and then return to being back in the same spot.
If you are noticing that you are experiencing more urges to blame others and criticize, I invite you to start doing a simple task. First, you must be aware you are doing it. Let a good friend or spouse know you are working on it and give them permission to point it out when you are doing it. You will want to set a rule that you cannot react negatively to them pointing it out. This might be enough work for you initially. Second, if you are able to not get upset when someone close to you brings it to your attention then you can proceed to the next step of this task. I invite you to simply turn your attention towards your physical body, emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations (eg. tightness in chest). Notice what you’re are experiencing in these domains and accept it as something going on within you versus something being wrong with others. This does not mean you turn it inwards and get all mad at yourself for feeling a certain way. It only means that you notice that you are actually experiencing something bothersome in your own thoughts, emotions, or body.
This exercise is imperative in noticing what is actually going on versus falling into the trap of believing that people around you are at fault and the world is a bad place with distrustful people.
*If you, or someone you know, are experiencing a mental health emergency please go to the nearest emergency room or dial 911. These tips are not to be used in times of crisis.