why do men suffer depression in silence?

why do men suffer depression in silence?

click photo for more information
why do men suffer depression in silence?
When Kevin Braddock hit rockbottom, he had every intention of killing himself. He recounts what happened next and reveals why so few men ask for help It was a Monday when TV Tower: the gun, the noose, the blade, the pills, the bottle. The gun, the noose the mantra that would not stop. Since the […]

When Kevin Braddock hit rockbottom, he had every intention of killing himself. He recounts what happened next and reveals why so few men ask for help

It was a Monday when Robin Williams killed himself three years ago Monday 11 August 2014. His death was shocking even if in hindsight it shouldnt have been a surprise that the worlds funniest man might also be the most sorrowful, too a person despairing to the point of ending it all.

Its a date I remember well, because Id spent the previous day trying to do the same thing. I was in the psychiatric ward of the Berlin hospital which Id been manhandled into by friends the day before, and I was waiting to see the doctor whod asked me to promise that I wouldnt kill myself.

In her consultation room Id thought about it for a while; Id already told her all I could about what led me to try to die. Id described the methods looping ceaselessly through my mind as I was slumped on the pavement near Berlins TV Tower: the gun, the noose, the blade, the pills, the bottle. The gun, the noose the mantra that would not stop. Since the only thing to hand was the nearby sptkauf (off-licence), Id resolved to drink my way to unreality.

Id told the doctor my history of depression, anxiety, panic attacks, drink, drugs, meds, love and fear, my crises of faith and existential dread, and all the other things that seem to go with being human in the 21st century. I had few words left in me, but mumbling through endless tears with my hands in my lap, Id mouthed the words to her: I promise.

I hadnt gone through with the act, but God knows Id wanted to wanted to end it all and wanted it all to end. I was outpatiented for a while, and friends and loved ones looked after for me. Three years later, they still do.

How had things got so bad? In 2009, fed up with London, I bought a one-way ticket to Tegel with vague plans to hang out for a couple of months and run the Berlin marathon. Two months turned into six, then a year and eventually half a decade in that beautifully confused city. In the teeth of this current crisis, Id been struggling to hold things and myself together at the magazine where I was working. Id begun, falteringly, to deal with the dependencies that had got a grip on me (Id long been a heavy, problematic drinker, and Berlin is an easy city in which to hedonise, although by the standards of Berghain regulars, I was a total lightweight).

Meanwhile, depression and anxiety, old adversaries which Id suffered incapacitating episodes with at 21 and 30, had begun ranging back on to my neurological horizons. Id also caught glandular fever, fallen in love, and turned 42 which, as readers of Douglas Adams know, is the meaning of life. I was perpetually stressed, exhausted and despairing at work and it didnt take much for the cascade to begin: yet another work problem, a row, some piece of bad news.

Looking back, Im surprised at how fast I unravelled, how the energyless fog of depression condensed into an electric psychosis, how despair became madness. One day, one of my editors had asked if I was all right. I said: No, Im not, and started listing conflicts and confusions. (I was also surprised that she asked: I mean, its generally not the way that bosses look out for their employees.) A few days later I was in hospital.

Madness comes at you fast, to paraphrase the social media clich.

None of this is to equate my life or story with Robin Williamss in any way, apart from to say that I made it through what the doctor wrote down as a schwere (major) depressive episode, whereas Williams didnt, and Im thankful that one of us is around to talk about this stuff. Above all, Im grateful I found the courage to ask for help.

Facebook gets a lot of stick these days, but in one sense it kept me alive, because Facebook was where I asked for help in a status update that Sunday afternoon which read: Im at the bottom now, can a German speaker come to St Hedwigs with me, I need help, along with my phone number.

I dont know how long Id been there, or how many bottles of Augustiner beer to the worse I was. But I do remember an alternative thought forming from the cognitive murk: I could ask for help. Sure, everyone would see what a pitiful, drunken, helpless, tearful state I was the opposite of what Id prefer to project, yet also the truth. But the thought came: theres another way. I couldnt speak, I seemed to have been silenced, but there was my phone I could test the limits of this thing which helps people (and I quote) connect with friends, family and other people you know.

Keep
Keep talking: Tom Chapmans Lions Barber Collective is turning a network of barber shops into safe spaces for men to open up in.

After a few minutes the phone went red hot, bleeping, flashing and ringing. I was hardly in a suitable frame of mind to process these messages, but looking at them a few days later, they said things like: Youll get through this; Stay positive; You are loved; and simply Love you. Some friends offered places in which to recuperate, others offered to come over. Not only was I ashamed at the alarm Id caused, I was also shocked at the volume of support that came through. There turned out to be more in the world than blank nothingness after all.

Help came, and rapidly. Friends took me to the hospital, and my life began to change.

Whether its an effect of social media or not, recently theres been a wave of men admitting to anxiety, depression or addiction, or of having attempted to kill themselves, or knowing someone whos seen the act through, problems which respect neither class, race, age or status and which, statistically and anecdotally, seem to be on the rise.

When Stormzy or Prince Harry admit that they, too, have feelings, struggles and doubts, these confessions challenge the Strength Myth which men have long laboured under. They also represent a tacit plea for help, a kind of Save me from what Im supposed to be, which usually means autonomous, successful, potent, dominant, along with all the other clichs of whats been termed hegemonic masculinity.

And when another male celebrity Ant McPartlin being the latest checks into rehab, you sense that the work being done by organisations such as the Campaign Against Living Miserably (which aims to raise awareness of mental illness and prevent suicide in men) or Tom Chapmans Lions Barber Collective (which is turning a worldwide network of barber shops into safe spaces for men to open up in) is vital.

People are opening up more instead of hiding; things are getting better, says Chapman from his salon in Torquay. Men are starting to feel comfortable talking to one another about their worries, problems and self-doubts, or going to see a GP or a health professional. Chapman decided to set up the Lions Barber Collective as a charity engaged with mens mental health awareness after a friend killed himself. Theres something about the relationship between a barber and their client where theres complete trust, he says.

The Campaign Against living Miserably cites figures from the Office for National Statistics that suicide currently stands as the biggest single killer of men aged under 45 in the UK. In 2014, there were 6,109 suicides in the UK, of which 76% were male. The ratio of male to female suicide has shown a sustained rise over the past 30 years. In 1981, men accounted for 62% of suicides, with the figure rising to 70% in 1988, 75% in 1995 and 78% in 2013.

All of which is why its heartening that in recent years the conversation on the meaning of masculinity has been growing in volume, running parallel to a wider openness on mental illness and health in society today.

The Royal Foundations Heads Together charity harnesses Princes William and Harry and the Duchess of Cambridge to a mission encouraging people to open up about these problems. At a speech given on World Mental Health Day in October 2016, Prince Harry said: Too often we think mental health problems are things that happen to other people, not us. But we will all experience pressure on our mental health at some point during our lives. The more we accept that, the better we can help each other. Catching it and recognising it early saves lives. Its time we ended the shame around mental health the fear of judgment that stops people talking or getting help.

When
When Stormzy admits he, too, has struggles, it challenges the Strength Myth which men have long laboured under. Photograph: Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage

A few months after my breakdown I returned to the UK and spent a deep, grey winter with my tirelessly patient parents, in the room where I grew up. News arrived one day of a family friend whod taken an overdose thankfully she survived. And on a train one evening I fell into an initially sheepish conversation with a woman in her 50s, each of us cryptically tiptoeing around what we both guessed was going on in each of us.

Well, Ive been ill, I told her, rather euphemistically.

Me, too, she said. Er mind if I ask what kind of ill?

It took some gentle work to overcome a barrier of shame between us, but once we had, the talk became extraordinarily candid and affirming. Shed been visiting her support group. She recounted details of her own psychotic episodes and an attempt to kill herself, then handed me an A4 pamphlet simply entitled My Story, which was heartbreaking along with being one of the bravest, most honest stories Id ever read. We made friends and resolved to stay in touch.

My own story developed, too. I spent a year living monastically in a friends boxroom in Bristol, discovering that recovery is a process rather than a destination, a project of constant modifications and setbacks with modestly miraculous breakthroughs that convince you that life is worth living. Things that have helped me include: learning, sobriety, therapy, meds, volunteering, tai chi, vitamin B, walking, talking, working and much more.

Something else helped. A few days after being taken to hospital, someone I hadnt seen for a decade read my Facebook message and wrote to say: From now on, Kev, be completely honest and open about this stuff. Confront it all head on. And seeing as youre a writer, write it all down. I was consoled by his concern, but also perplexed as to why he was so adamant about this tactic. It turns out his sister had taken her own life.

Recently I was back in Berlin to share the story I wrote down with the people who picked me up and kept me going. It turned into a book I made with my friend Enver, called Torchlight: a Publication About Asking for Help, which details my experiences of breakdown and recovery.

If that sounds like a rather crass sales pitch at the end of a story of common human dysfunction, Id counter that by saying that while we are overwhelmed by digital technologies these days, theres a striking lack of social technologies to assist people in asking for help, talking about their experiences, or sharing the methods they use to deal with the darkness. Facebook offered me the chance to ask for help, but any recovering Ive been fortunate enough to do has been social in the original sense of the word: person-to-person, with friends, family, therapists, study groups, recovery fellowships, sympathetic employers and colleagues, with people I met randomly on trains or in rooms, always in collaboration with others. Recovery is a social exercise that can be assisted but never replaced by digital technologies.

Something else I know now is that we fall apart, alone and in private, but we heal together, with others, the ones who arent shocked or scared by what they see when the mask of shame is removed.

At torchlightsystem.com you can buy Kevins book Torchlight, watch his short film and purchase Practice Cards which offer hints for daily living when suffering from depression and anxiety. The Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123, and Mind on 0300 123 3393

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/13/why-do-men-suffer-depression-in-silence

Youre Allowed To Leave

click photo for more information
Youre Allowed To Leave
“If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave. Mo Willems. Youre allowed to leave any story you dont find yourself in. Youre allowed to leave any story you dont yourself in. Youre allowed to leave a city that has dimmed your light instead of making you shine brighter, youre allowed to pack all […]

This Is How You Love Someone With Anxiety

click photo for more information
This Is How You Love Someone With Anxiety
Someone with anxiety is inclined to assume everyone is going to leave. So much so, sometimes they might be the ones to ruin a relationship. The truth is they battle something they cant control and there is a sense of insecurity within themselves when it comes to relationships. They know its difficult and they dont […]

Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming

click photo for more information
Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming
A lecture explaining why using our imaginations, and providing for others to use theirs, is an obligation for all citizens Its important for people to tell you what side they are on and why, and whether they might be biased. A declaration of members interests, of a sort. So, I am going to be talking […]

‘Beer yoga’ is a real thing, now, because of course it is

click photo for more information
‘Beer yoga’ is a real thing, now, because of course it is
Hmm, beer.Image: bieryoga/facebook Nothing like putting down an icy cold beer. Except, of course, achieving a higher state of being and eventual transcendence of the Self through the practice of yoga. But what if you could do both, at the same time? SEE ALSO: Australia’s oldest living prime minister really knows how to chug a […]

What Its Like To Be In Love When You Have Depression

click photo for more information
What Its Like To Be In Love When You Have Depression
No one will love you until you learn to love yourself is an easy enough phrase to believe is true. But its terrifying, especially when you have depression. What if you never learn? As a teenager, it made me fear for my life as an adult. I was certain I would never be capable of […]

What Anxiety Actually Is, Because Its More Than Just Worrying

click photo for more information
What Anxiety Actually Is, Because Its More Than Just Worrying
Anxiety is the restless nights of sleep, as you toss and turn. Its your brain never being able to shut off. Its the thoughts you over-think before bedtime and all of your worst fears become a reality in dreams and nightmares. Its waking up tired even though your day just started. Anxiety is learning how […]

Hate To Break It To You But You Are The Reason Your Life Sucks So Much

click photo for more information
Hate To Break It To You But You Are The Reason Your Life Sucks So Much
If you think your life sucks, it probably does. If you think the world is out to get you, it probably is. If you think you deserve more, you probably do. The only thing in the world holding you back from achieving greatness is in fact you. If you think the world is out to […]

Bill Gates Says U.S. Likely to Maintain Aid Levels for Africa

click photo for more information
Bill Gates Says U.S. Likely to Maintain Aid Levels for Africa
The U.S. will probably maintain its current levels of aid to Africa despite President Donald Trump’s proposals to slash funding, according to Bill Gates, the world’s richest man. Trump said in May his government would no longer allocate funding for family planning, a move that has the potential to undermine aid programs in the poorest […]

Democratic attorneys escalate legal fight against Trump

click photo for more information
Democratic attorneys escalate legal fight against Trump
The Trump resistance movement cheered when Democratic attorneys general in several states sued to block the president’s plan to bar travelers from some Muslim majority countries. But with far less fanfare in the months since, an emboldened coalition of Democratic state attorneys general has unleashed a torrent of lower-profile litigation they argue is necessary to […]

Simon Cowell comes through where Britain’s NHS does not

click photo for more information
Simon Cowell comes through where Britain’s NHS does not
Just as the case of Charlie Gard drifts out of headlines and his family attempts to find peace after their long battle both with the infants condition and Englands nationalized health service, another somewhat prominent example has gained some attention and it involves none other than famous star searcher and producer Simon Cowell (from “American […]

Guam’s faithful look to God as North Korea threat looms

click photo for more information
Guam’s faithful look to God as North Korea threat looms
Hagata, Guam (CNN)Father Paul Gofigan began his homily with a question for the parishioners in Guam’s biggest place of worship — the Catholic Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral Basilica. Gofigan was referring to the length of time the Guam Homeland Security department estimates it would take a North Korean missile to reach the island. It’s […]

Trust me, I’m a fake doctor: how medical imposters thrive in the real world

click photo for more information
Trust me, I’m a fake doctor: how medical imposters thrive in the real world
Versions of Jodie Whittakers bogus TV medic do exist. But fantasists and charlatans tend to operate outside the hospital, where victims have been assaulted, misdiagnosed or offered false hope Within the first half-hour of the BBCs psychological thriller Levon Mkhitarian who encountered 3,363 patients in two years, working across seven NHS trusts on oncology, cardiology, […]

The remarkable history in your cereal bowl

click photo for more information
The remarkable history in your cereal bowl
(CNN)This morning, more than 350 million people devoured a bowl of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. All told, more than 128 billion bowls of Corn Flakes are consumed each year. While perusing the cereal box, peering over the bowl and gripping a spoonful of the stuff, few of these sleepy diners know that two men created those […]

Alleged Islamic State recruiter Neil Prakash receiving consular help from Australia

click photo for more information
Alleged Islamic State recruiter Neil Prakash receiving consular help from Australia
Coalition says basic assistance being given due to hopes alleged conspirator will share intelligence on terrorist group Australia is giving consular help to the alleged senior Islamic State recruiter and conspirator Neil Prakash, with hopes he will share intelligence on the terrorist group, a federal minister has said. Australias most wanted man, who has been […]

Tanzania’s ghost safari: how western aid contributed to the decline of a wildlife haven

click photo for more information
Tanzania’s ghost safari: how western aid contributed to the decline of a wildlife haven
International projects helped turn a rich and fertile Tanzanian valley into vast tracts of farmland, teak forests and sugar plantations The long road from Dar es Salaam brings you through sparsely wooded hills and fields to the narrow northern neck of the Kilombero valley. Theres a bend in the road, then the land opens out, […]
load more posts