Men Yell, Women Cry: The Gender Differences Of Depression And What To Do.
“I’m wondering if my friend is struggling with depression.”
“What makes you think that?” I ask.
Did you know that your answer to this question could vary widely based on the gender of your friend?
Being able to notice symptoms in yourself and others is a very useful skill for those living cross-culturally. The type of life we live adds enormous amounts of stress and can eat away at our sense of identity. Additionally, we often don’t have our preferred “go to” outlets for life-giving refreshment, such as sports or creative activities. All these factors lend themselves to increased emotional and physiological susceptibility to depression. It’s not unusual for those living cross-culturally to experience depression at some point.
How do we know if we or someone we care about is struggling in this area? What are the symptoms and how do they differ between men and women?
You’ll notice in the chart above that women’s depression typically revolves around how they feel and think, while expressions of male depression are more often visible and based on how they act. Women are likely to be sad, but men are more commonly mad and irritable. Men may have angry outbursts, become obsessed with work, or even become dependent on sexual activity, drugs or alcohol if the depression is not recognized and addressed. The research on the difference between male and female symptoms is relatively new, so many men have been suffering from depression that remains undiagnosed.
WHAT TO DO
So what can you suggest to a friend, or what do you do yourself, if you are experiencing depressive symptoms or if you want to avoid entering a depressed state?
Here are a few things to get you started:
Add some life-giving things to your schedule.
Push yourself to be with friends who give you life, even if you don’t feel like it.
Take note of your self talk and begin to replace negative destructive thoughts with more accurate statements of truth.
Take a brief walk outside in sunshine when possible, at least 3 times a week.
We all have ups and downs, and we can take action to alleviate our symptoms, but it’s time to seek professional help when:
depressive symptoms last more than a couple weeks
depressive symptoms begin to disturb your normal daily functioning
you find yourself self-medicating with alcohol, drugs, sex, or pornography
symptoms include persisting thoughts of death, self harm, or suicide, or
a friend or loved one is worried about you.
Becoming more aware of how you are doing, and caring for those around you can be life saving for you and others.
Adding some life giving elements to your routine helps with avoiding or overcoming low seasons in life in a way that fills you up so you can give to others. Taking pro-active steps will help you and those you care about do better and stay longer.