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The Battle Against Depression

That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as they see the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end. The fog is like a cage without a key. —Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation

There exists an underlying theme in manhood that says we do not get depressed. We do not get sad unless you are one of those emotional types. We tough out the things that eat away at us. But the truth is, millions of men suffer every year from full-blown depression and many go untreated. This creates serious ramifications in all aspects of life.

Something is not right and we know it. It’s confusing and crippling. We can’t find a way out. Some men react by becoming aggressive and angry. Others become lethargic and perhaps lose the will to live. Leaving it at the mercy of a cultural mindset that says “we’re weak if we ask for help” can lead to the destruction of untold lives and families. It isn’t weak at all—in fact, it’s strong to seek help for the sake of our own lives and the lives of the people who love and depend on us.

Treating depression fully includes both clinical and spiritual components. Treating depression fully includes both clinical and spiritual components. Just one and not the other will leave an opening for the illness to remain. Here are symptoms and treatments that help us form a battle plan to achieve mental wellness.

Common Symptoms

The symptoms of depression are common to many other issues and having one or some of these doesn’t necessarily mean you’re depressed. But when the list is piling up with a lot of yes answers, it’s time to begin reaching out:

Exhaustion and fatigue, loss of interest in pleasurable activity, changes in appetite, sleep disorders, apathy, migraine headaches, back and chest pain, muscle and joint pain, digestive problems, dizziness, unusual weight loss or gain, being withdrawn, irritability, hostile and aggressive behavior, substance abuse, and decreased sexual desire.

For the symptoms answered with a yes, consider possible causes other than depression, but assess honestly if depression could be the culprit of why we are feeling so terribly low.

Clinical Therapy

Left untreated, depression can have devastating ramifications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has concluded that U.S. men are 4 times more likely to commit suicide than women. Over 75 percent of all U.S. suicides are among males. More women than men actually attempt the act, but men are more likely to die when they attempt. Antidepressant medications and professional therapy successfully can treat depression at a rate of more than 80 percent. There exists a wide variety of sources to seek help, starting with your family doctor and employee assistance programs. For the sake of your own life and your family, which needs you, do not allow social stigma and peer pressure to keep you from treatment.

Finding Renewal

In my experience, faith has a healing power that can be tapped into that creates great mental renewal. Medical science can cure or ease physical and mental burdens, but only faith in something greater than us can heal a hurting soul. The ancient figure, David, from the book of Psalms, endured a lot of suffering. Yet, during a prolonged unbearable period of being stripped bare of all human dignity, he continually talked openly about it and didn’t isolate. It is a testimony of actual manly strength and his faith in God renewed him. My personal advice to the readers on this matter: Seek renewal by earnest faith. The answer may not look like you expect, but when a man puts his faith in God, help will arrive.

Sound off: If you have suffered from depression, in what ways have you dealt with it?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Have you ever felt sad for no particular reason? How did you handle it?”