Is My Man Depressed? What Can I Do?

    could-my-man-be-depressed.jpgMen get depressed. Most of us won't admit it to others or ourselves, but we do. Which leaves the women in our lives to have to ask, "Is my man depressed?"

    When I counsel men about getting depressed, most typically think that’s something other people get, not them. I used to think that way too (I’ve been depressed myself before and denied it).

    Here’s an Ask A Marriage Counselor submission from our website by a wife who's asking is my man depressed? Read her story and see if you can see yourself or your partner somewhere in it.

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    My husband and I have been together for 7.5 years, but just got married last April. I believe he's struggled with depression for years, but over this past year we've gone through many changes and he's hit an all time low. He wants to isolate to the extreme, says he gets mad if he leaves the house. And he's unwilling to get any help because he thinks there's nothing that will help except isolating and sleeping. He used to work out everyday, but doesn't at all anymore. He has always been into sports, but now won't join any intramural teams. He won't talk, if he's not sleeping, he's watching sports/movies or on the computer. He for awhile stopped showering, saying there was no point. Now since he's been working again, he's back to showering. He frequently makes references to ending his life in the near future because he's pretty hopeless. I'm at the point I don't know what to do because I don't know how to get him help. Is my man depressed?" - Amber

    Well, Amber, let's see if your man is depressed. You say he:

    • Isolates himself
    • Gets mad
    • Doesn’t want to leave the house
    • Won't get help
    • Sleeps a lot
    • Lost interest in hobbies
    • Won’t talk
    • Spends hours and hours watching sports/movies and video gaming
    • Stopped showering
    • Talks about life being hopeless

    Yep, Amber, your man is depressed. Now most depressed men don't have as many symptoms as Amber's husband, but they always have some of them (Signs of Depression in Men).

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    I was counseling a man this week who's depressed. And it's totally understandable why he is, too. He's been having an affair and is torn between going back to the other woman and staying with his wife (I know, hard to be sympathetic for someone who's made such poor choices, but we can all relate to having to make a tough decision and being torn both ways). On top of that, this time of year is hard for him because of some anniversaries of family deaths. There are other reasons why this man gets depressed, but this is enough to give us some understanding.

    All of this just shows us how and why both of these men (Amber's husband and my client) can get depressed. I teach men that it's okay to admit you're depressed. It's not a sign of weakness or that there's something wrong with you (what I used to believe). Feeling depressed is just a normal byproduct of being in a tough situation. That happens to all of us.

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    Amber's next question will be, "So my man is depressed, what can I do?" Do what the wife of the guy above did -- talk to a professional counselor like me. This guy didn't want to get help either. For each of our meetings that past few months she's had to drag him kicking and screaming (or more accurately bitchin' and moanin'). She even came to see me without him when he wouldn't come. Despite his repeated threats that he's not coming back, he does.

    It took a little while, but this guy finally was able to admit this week that he's sad and depressed, and sees why that's understandable and normal. Now we've begun to work on making the changes needed to improve his mood. Him getting to this point has had a lot to do with his wife's persistence in coming to counseling for help (with or without him).

    If you're asking the question, "Is My Man Depressed?", there's hope. There's help out there and change is possible when you take the steps to make it possible (with or without him).

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