Unmasking Male Depression

male depressionI know it might be hard for some of you to believe, but I know what it’s like to struggle with depression. And just don’t mean from my before-Christ days either. The past two years of my life and ministry have been some of the most challenging ones I have ever had to walk through, and yet, I thank God that there is hope and victory in Jesus!

Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer (take heart!), I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).

Here are some quotes from a book that I just finished reading through that has given me encouragement, and I pray that it will for you as well…

male depression book

Quotes from Unmasking Male Depression by Archibald D. Hart:

“Recognizing the Root Cause of Many Problem Behaviors, such as Anger, Resentment, Abusiveness, Silence, Addictions, and Sexual Compulsiveness.”

“For a long time, there has been a cultural cover-up of male depression. Thank God that is changing. Finally, men are beginning to acknowledge that depression is part of their world as well.”

“If secular men have problems confronting the reality of male depression, imagine how difficult it is for Christian men to concede it! For them, it isn’t just a matter of it undermining their masculinity, but it raises the question of whether they are failing spiritually.”

“But men do get depressed.”

“The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation.” (Henry David Thoreau).

“Through years of clinical practice, I have encountered many men who were like my father – abusive, irritable, angry, and with a low toleration for stress and frustration. They project blame for their feelings of inadequacy on others. They try to bury their awful feelings in churchiness, work, sex, violence, alcohol, or withdrawal from those they supposedly love… Deep in the psyche of every male there is an unwritten code; vulnerable feelings must be prohibited at all costs. Men must appear strong or else they are not men. Something like depression is taboo.”

“I know I get depressed and so do many of my friends… higher rates of alcoholism and drug abuse in men obscure underlying depression. Men are dropping like flies from depression.”

“Almost every week I hear from pastors who are depressed, some pretty badly. But if ordinary men have difficulty accepting that they can be this vulnerable, Christian leaders struggle with the acceptance of depression even more so because they have been taught that God’s servants are immune to depression. If you have ‘real faith’ you will never get depressed, so this means that if you are depressed, it is because you are spiritually inferior. What a pack of downright lies!”

“Distinguishing male depression: Female depression is most often diagnosed by the pattern of feelings a woman is experiencing. Male depression is better diagnosed by the behaviors associated with depression… In male type depression, therefore, we have to look at how men act, not at how they feel. Angry outbursts, becoming easily annoyed, increased sexual activity, workaholism, emotional and social withdrawal, coldness, aloofness, and even forms of family violence are nearer the depression mark than the crying and hopelessness of female depression.”

“While only about 10 percent of the population suffers from major clinical depressions, 100 percent of us suffer from the less severe, but still debilitating, melancholy and dejected mood associated with loss of any sort.”

“What is even more amazing and encouraging to me is how some of the great saints of God have suffered from depression… A man of extraordinary humor with a laugh that could single him out in an enormous crowd, Charles Spurgeon knew from personal experience the depths of despair. Spurgeon wrote: “David, in the heat of battle, waxed faint, so may it be written of all the servants of the Lord. Fits of depression come over the most of us. Usually cheerful as we may be, we must at intervals be cast down.”

“If you stay stressed out for a long time, you will inevitably become depressed!”

“It is absolutely essential, not just for those who are depressed, but also for anyone who wants to avoid depression, to develop healthy and consistent sleeping habits.”

“While it’s become increasingly acceptable for men to express their feelings, many still struggle to develop any level of emotional intelligence. Men can’t live with their emotions, and they can’t live without them! They find them scary, unpredictable, and discomforting.”

Anger is the most damaging emotion of all when it is misused. Since anger-related issues are common in male depression, it is not surprising to find that marriages are detrimentally affected when the husband is depressed.”

“These men are known by the silence they keep. The armor protecting their hearts has not a chink in it anywhere.”

Treatments that work: Men need to know that they can be helped through a variety of approaches including exercise, diet, getting in touch with their spirituality, individual and group psychotherapy, medications… teaching men to love and accept themselves for whom they are, and learning to live a balanced life.”

“My word to all men here is that you have got to overcome this fear of being seen as weak; you must reach out for help.”

“What is the most important thing you can do for a depressed husband, father or son? Without a doubt it is to communicate love and acceptance to them with all the power you can muster, and to avoid blaming them or being judgmental about their depression.”

“The news is good: There are effective interventions and treatments for the condition. From learning to deal with life’s losses, to managing cognitive patterns, to seeking clinical help and medication, men have many options – and hope.”

* * *

Do you struggle with depression, anger, addictions or compulsions? Check out Overcomers Outreach – a Christian 12 step recovery group:

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About Chris Jordan

Husband. Father. #Author. #Blogger. Follower of Jesus. And I enjoy a good cup of coffee!
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