Usually it is intended more as a figure of speech than a clinical diagnosis.
The fact is, however, we men are not very receptive to the notion that we could have a real bout of depression at various times in our lives and thus, we simply don’t recognize it when it’s happening.
Here are some recognized symptoms of depression:
In addition to the above signs, the National Institute of Mental Health urges individuals to seek counseling or talk to a trusted family member if feelings of “worthlessness” and “helplessness” persist. Sadness or being down in the dumps at certain times is common. Loss of job, divorce, death of a spouse, and other major life events are certainly times to be in the dumps. In fact, grieving over a major loss is considered a healthy part of the recovery process.
But if these feelings of hopelessness, sadness and lethargy continue for an extended period of time, they may be a sign that you need professional help. It’s been estimated that half of all people who have the same depression symptoms will not seek help or be diagnosed as suffering from depression.
Steps to get you started. First of all, if any of the above symptoms describe you, you may want to talk with someone. If several of them relate to you, seek professional assistance immediately. This is not the time to be bullheaded! If we are temporarily ‘bummed out’ or lethargic and unfocused, then there are some things we can do that may help us to get back on track. Most times our mental condition is a reflection of our physical condition. Lifestyle issues matter in this relationship. Here are a couple of areas to look at:
Life improvement comes from many different approaches. For most of us admitting that we are struggling emotionally is difficult. Guess it has something to do with a culture where ‘men don’t have problems they can’t handle’, or some such malarkey. It could be argued that the real man is the one who can deal realistically with the truth – being honest with ourselves, and others. Sure it calls for a bit more transparency, perhaps vulnerability, than we may be comfortable with. But, real growth as midlife men calls us to do this.