We hear a lot about how infertility affects women’s emotional well being and less about how it affects men. It’s important that we pay some special attention to how men’s lives are impacted by the disease, especially when, according to the Centers for Disease Control, suicide is the 7th leading cause of death for all men in the United States and there are 4 times as many deaths to suicide for males than females.
We have found that art and writing can be a great outlet for dealing with the stress of infertility and are excited to team up with The Turek Clinic in San Francisco for Picture Your Fertility: An Interactive Art Event for #MensHealth. It’s an opportunity for men to let out some frustration through guy-friendly art and writing stations, get information about health and well being, and learn they aren’t alone in their infertility through the artwork, portraits, and stories of other men and their families dealing with similar situations. This free event is open to the public and will be held on Thursday June 16 from 7 – 9 pm. You can get your tickets here. We hope you will join us! In the meantime, check out this great info, below, from Austin Klise’s HuffPost Healthy Living Blog 4 Strategies to Help Men Get through Depression.
4 Strategies to Help Men Get Through Depression
by Austine Klise
HuffPost Healthy Living Blog
Tip #1 Understand His Depression “There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.” ― Laurell K. Hamilton
One of the largest misconceptions about depression is that it is a feeling – which is part of the reason men are so reluctant to talk about it. Yes, it is a feeling but it is also much more. Not only does it effect people on an emotional level but it also drains them physically and psychologically. The chemical imbalance in the brain slowly causes the body to shut down. That is why if your partner is depressed, he will be lacking the motivation to hit the gym or to pursue a once cherished hobby. With this in mind, the first thing you can do to help is make sure he is eating a balanced diet and is exercising. Buy fresh food, avoid stocking the fridge with highly caffeinated products and booze, and see if he will go walking with you. These are all easy and are tremendously helpful, but won’t necessarily combat the depression itself. For that, we go to Tip #2.
Tip #2 Acknowledging His Depression “Never ignore the elephant in the room. That’s rude; play with it and introduce it.” ― Donna Lynn Hope
Confronting his depression will be tough but is absolutely necessary if you are going to help reverse its course. What you’re going to be doing here isn’t confronting him and telling him he is depressed. Trust me, he knows he depressed or at least that something is wrong. The goal is to show him that you acknowledge he is going through something and that asking for help is okay. I’ve broken it down into
four steps –
- Approach him where he is comfortable, at home or maybe your favorite date spot. Make sure you have privacy and enough time to talk (at least an hour).
- Tell him you noticed he has been “feeling down” lately. I would avoid using the word “depressed” because it could trigger the walls to go straight up. Bring up examples – but do so in a gentle way.
- Explain your mutual goal – you BOTH want him to feel better.
- Depressed men feel isolated in their pain and hopelessness. Explain that asking for help is a sign of strength not of weakness.
Tip #3 Self Care “The Best Health Care Plan Is A Self Care Plan” ― Nina Leavins
“In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you. If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your own mask first, and then assist the other person.”
If you’ve ever been on an airplane you’ve likely heard some iteration these words. While growing up they confused me because it seemed like it would make more sense to help the helpless and vulnerable first, but with age I realized that if you are incapacitated you won’t be of any help to anyone. The same goes for caring for a man with depression. You need to secure your own mental stability before you can help him.
The difference in a situation with male depression as opposed to other diseases is that the frustration and stress isn’t going to come in the traditional way. You won’t be stretched thin providing medical assistance to him or running back and forth from a hospital. But, rather the emotional connection you have with your partner will be taxed. Because of the nature of depression he won’t be as connected or invested in your relationship as he was when he was healthy. He might become more combative or more withdrawn, depending on how the depression affects him. Don’t get pulled into this or take it personally. Do what you need to do to stay healthy. Connect with friends, exercise, or shop – you have an identity outside of your relationship.
Tip #4 Involve the Professionals
Getting professional medical personnel involved is the most critical step as it is the most effective way to cure the depression. I understand it can be incredibly hard to get a guy to see doctor, for even the most routine of checkups, let alone getting him to see a therapist or psychologist for depression. Here are some ways to make it easier:
- Ask him to do it for you or your family. Tell him it will bring you peace of mind if he sees someone.
- See the right doctor – Ask if you can set up an appointment with your family doctor so they can go over the problem. It will be an easier push for him to see a family doc as oppose to a “shrink.”
- Call ahead – Tell the doctor what his symptoms have been. Your testimony might bring up things your partner could miss or will neglect to share.