Depression is as crippling as anything in a man’s life, as the mental health problem is becoming more and more common in guys. Thing is, while most of us struggle with some form of depression — whether that’s seasonal or otherwise — many guys don’t know what methods they can use to help break from their slump.
For example, it’s one thing to be down in the dumps following a break-up or a job loss, where you feel like you’re in a rut and just can’t break from all the sad and worthless thoughts that fill your mind. It’s an entirely different problem when you feel as if the world’s against you and you’re just not catching any breaks, piling on everything that goes against you with the anxiety and stress depression already causes.
I would know, because I’ve been there before. In fact, I’m still in the midst of it as I struggle with some things in my personal life that don’t seem to be going well. While I have my mornings of self-pity and “whoa is me,” I’m lucky to see the big picture, reminding myself that I’m controlling as much as I can, while being grateful for the things I have in my life. It’s not easy — because the anxiety’s still present everyday — but it’s better than falling into a deep depression.
While my routines have seemed to be practiced over the course of my lifetime thanks to a strong foundation and support from friends, family and colleagues, other guys aren’t always as lucky. For those people struggling with depression, know that you’re not alone, and, more importantly, that you can take charge of your life to change things for the better.
It’s not easy or going to happen overnight, but thanks to these routines and tips, you can kick any signs of depression by changing your focus a little bit and getting help from people around you. We promise it’s possible, and here’s how to do it.
Identify your depression symptoms
Depression can lead to plenty of different problems, including lack of appetite, lack of sleep, headaches, stress and plenty of other things that prohibit your focus. Once you identify how these things are impacting your own life, that’s when you need to figure out next steps.
Should any of these be routine for you, it’s probably time to go talk to a physician to figure out what next steps you’ll need to take to fight off this depression. Whether that means a weekly visit with a therapist and/or medication, or simply just advice on how to overcome something like seasonal depression, you need to find the root of the problem before trying to solve it.
And, by all means, if your depression is leading you to violence of any sort, go get help immediately, as this is a common trait men show while depressed, whereas girls often cry when they’re experiencing similar problems.
Speak up and talk about your depression with a male friend
You’ve got friends for a reason, and, newsflash, it’s not so you’ve got someone to drink with every weekend. Now’s not the time to be shy, guys, so lean on the support of friends by opening up and talking to them about what’s going on in your life. There’s a good chance that you two will relate on some things and, even if not, they may have experienced something similar and can offer up some solutions that helped them.
In addition to the advice and support a good friend can give you about depression, they can also remind you that the feelings you’re having aren’t abnormal, which can often be the thought of people who are depressed, feeling as if they’re the only one who has experienced such bad luck or circumstances. Getting another male’s perspective is important, so don’t mask your problems and internalize them, otherwise things won’t get better for you.
Get involved with other activities to combat your depression
As mentioned earlier, I’ve found myself in a tough spot in recent months, incapable of kicking some negative thoughts that consumed my mind, while being bored with doing the same routine over and over. In essence, I felt like I wasn’t living my best life, limiting myself too much and sticking with what I was comfortable with.
It wasn’t until a conversation with my grandma finally kicked me in the ass a little bit, with her challenging me to find something that I could do to fulfill whatever gap I had. It ended up being a mentorship program for young entrepreneurs at the local university, which gets me around people and allows me to influence others in a way I wasn’t before.
When you’re deep in depression, it can feel like the weight of the world is against you and your options are limited. I found that I needed to put myself out there more and, in return, it led to more fulfillment. That’s important for you to do while depressed, too, because those hobbies are what make you satisfied.
Alcohol can only add to your depression, so limit your boozing
If you didn’t already know this by now, alcohol is a depressant, meaning the more you drink it, the worse off you’re going to feel. Sure, it might numb the pain at first when you’re around buddies and in a social setting, but, by the end of the night, there’s a good chance you’re looking at yourself in the bathroom mirror wondering why you can’t get it together. It’s a bad feeling to be in.
And, guess what? It gets even worse when you’re already in a depressed state of mind, with the alcohol playing a huge factor in your overall state of mind and self-worth. Just trust us here, if you’re experiencing depression, the last thing your mind needs is alcohol to completely mess with your system.
Read, write, exercise and send your depression packing
Rather than turn to alcohol or other substances to numb your brain, why not do something that’s going to impact you in a more positive way? Outside of being involved in an activity like volunteering — which I mentioned earlier as something that helped me — why not put down the cell phone, get off social media and educate yourself with something useful from a book? Or how about you jot down your thoughts in a journal and track your progress as you get out of your depression? Or go run and let those positive vibes work their magic on you.
It’s easy to lack energy when you’re depressed and feel as if going to your man cave and playing video games or watching TV is the way to waste time. Unfortunately, that’s only going to add to your depression, so find other things that allow you to escape all the noise and unplug a little bit.