In America, over 6 million men are affected by clinical depression each year with 1 in 8 experiencing it during their lifetime. Clinical depression isn’t just feeling down, it’s a pervasive and oppressive feeling that can last for months, if not years. Depression isn’t sadness, it’s more like numbness. It’s an emptiness or a feeling of worthlessness that permeates our bones. We can wake up feeling like we don’t want to start our day or that life doesn’t have a point. When we’re depressed everything feels overwhelming and we feel incapable of moving forward. Depression is a painful place to be and, all too often, male depression goes undiagnosed and hidden.
At MTO, we’re here to help. It’s part of our mission to break the stigma around male depression and provide men with the resources they need to get the help they deserve. We know that so many men suffer in silence. Our licensed clinicians will help you get back into the rhythm of healthy habits and social connection. Our goal is for you to rediscover purpose and meaning in your life. With our help you’ll get out of this rut and begin walking forward again.
At its core depression is repression. It’s repression of a painful emotion or memory. Be it grief, anger, sadness, shame, or fear; we try to push those negative feelings away. The thing is, it works. However, the brain is clumsy so we end up pushing everything else away too. We bury our feelings in a hole and build walls between ourselves and the world. Over time, the world becomes a gray, distant place. One sign of depression in men is a disconnected attitude, a blank stare, and difficulty feeling like anything matters.
As men, we are told not to show weakness and not to talk about our feelings so depression often goes undiagnosed. Many of us are well practiced at “sucking it up” or “putting on a happy face.” We’ve learned how to mask how we truly feel when we are at work or around our friends. However, when we are alone it all falls apart – we start drinking more, we isolate, or we feel paralyzed by fear. Experiencing this dual life is another sign of depression in men and it makes male depression difficult to diagnose and treat. As men, it is up to us to ask for help and offer help to other guys in need.
The first step is recognizing symptoms of depression in men. It takes a sharp eye to cut through the facade and see the struggling guy underneath. At Men’s Therapy Online, we will honor your pain, hear your story, and help you start cutting through the numbness.
Men experience depression differently than women. We tend to appear more shut off and angry rather than sad. Male depression can look and feel like stonewalling—tamping down emotion so hard that everything starts to feel numb. Behaviorally, signs of depression in men include lack of sleep, increased substance use, social isolation, weight gain, and a disinterest in hobbies, exercise, or work. Depression is a slow but systematic withdrawal from the world.
Men know how to “keep it together,” well, until we don’t. Male depression can look like long periods of coldness punctuated by angry or violent outbursts. We try to keep the negativity at bay until it overwhelms us and the dam breaks. Although these outbursts should be a cry for help they often just push people away. Maybe it looks like collapsing into a ball on the bathroom floor or throwing a plate at your loved ones. Maybe it looks like partying too hard and wondering if you’ll crash your car or yelling at your boss and storming out of work. Male depression can take a sudden turn from shut down to turned up in a heartbeat.
And here’s the ugly truth: a lot of people can’t handle powerful male emotions. They can get scared or even disgusted when men show how they truly feel. This is a shame since these outbursts are an opportunity to break through the depression. These moments are critical because it’s when we are finally being honest! The therapists at Men’s Therapy Online can handle it. We won’t shy away from the intensity and we will wade into the darkness with you. You aren’t alone in these feelings and only by leaning into them will you have a chance to cure your depression.
At Men’s Therapy Online, we offer therapy for depression that offers a safe, and judgment free place to talk. Our licensed clinicians will help you to break the cycle of repression and face your inner demons. We will help you to navigate your symptoms, address the root cause, and slowly, but surely take your life back. In working with us, you’ll start to come back to life.
If left untreated depression can culminate in suicidal thoughts and attempts. Male suicide has been on the rise since 2000—it is currently the 7th leading cause of death in men in America. In 2021, 48,183 people died by suicide and an additional 1.7 million attempted suicide. Let those numbers sink in: that’s 1 death by suicide every 11 minutes!
Suicide is an epidemic and it affects men more severely than women. The suicide rate among males in 2021 was approximately four times higher than the rate among females. Males make up 50% of the population but nearly 80% of suicides. This disparity is attributed to both men’s use of firearms during suicide attempts and a lack of access and utilization of mental health care for male depression.
If you think you’re going to hurt yourself or are contemplating suicide:
Men’s Therapy Online is committed to fighting the good fight and helping men with depression get the help they need. If we can treat depression early and often, we might just be able to save a life.
Like we mentioned before, depression is repression. There is always a root cause at the bottom of the well. For many men it’s a difficult feeling or a painful memory. In short, it’s an aspect of our experience that we are trying to deny or prefer not to have. We push it out of our minds but that results in pushing everything else out too.
Some common causes of depression in men include: traumatic memories, a history of abuse, an unresolved break up or divorce, repressed homosexuality, loss of a loved one, or feelings of failure. Basically, all the things that men “can’t” talk about. Just naming the root cause will take its power away. There’s something deeply healing about openly talking about our secrets and having the light touch those dark places in our lives. The team at Men’s Therapy Online will be a trusted partner and create a safe space to unpack your deeper feelings. Step by step, we’ll help you to reclaim your life.
It takes courage and bravery to face these demons head on rather than burying your head in the sand. Combatting male depression will be challenging and sometimes painful but it makes you the hero of the story instead of a victim to the past.
Our online individual depression counseling fits with your schedule, allowing you to regularly see your therapist on your time. Additionally, you’ll be able to contact your therapist 24/7 through our Slack channel so if you’re in a depressive slump or feel stuck you can get in-the-moment support and advice. Many of our clinicians are trained in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that provides research-based coping strategies to manage your symptoms of depression. We know that men want concrete solutions to their problems, CBT will help you to get a handle on your depression so they can drill down to the root cause and start making meaningful changes in their lives.
Our men’s groups will help you to dispel the stigma around male depression. Hearing about what other guys are working through can normalize the process and reduce any shame you may have around your depression. You’ll hear stories of guys that have overcome depression and changed their lives for the better. Your group members will support you and hold you accountable in facing your inner demons so you can break free from depression. You don’t have to do this alone, there are people waiting and willing to help lift you up.Learn More on Men's Groups
Lastly, our retreats will challenge you beyond your limits and shatter your negative talk. Not only will you be encouraged to face your fears in the moment but you’ll be supported by a band of brothers that will cheer you on every step of the way. Our retreats are designed to punch through the veil of depression and contact the person underneath. We’ll help you to feel again, laugh again, and connect again. Leaning into the MTO community will mean that you’ll never be alone in your depression. We have your back.Learn More on Retreats
While the team at Men’s Therapy Online cannot prescribe medication we work with a network of trusted partners that can work with you. For some men, there is a biological cause of depression. The two most common causes in men are a decrease in serotonin output and activity and decreased testosterone. Both of these pathways can be supported and healed by medication management. Our therapists will accompany you through that process and help you to manage your medication and provide a place to talk about any side effects or hesitations in pursuing treatment.
Mental Health America (MHA).Infographic: Mental Health for Men. mhanational.org.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Men and Mental Health. nimh.nih.gov.
Mayo Clinic. Male depression: Understanding the issues. mayoclinic.org.
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