Guys Who Look Depressed (Typical Depression)
For the last 15 years, Peter and his wife Glenda have owned a take away business. For the first two years they both worked together until Glenda fell pregnant with their first child. Both Peter and Glenda felt it was important that Glenda stay home to care for their children. Once on his own, Peter had constant difficulty finding a reliable employee and was left on many occasions with the majority of the workload when an employee didn’t turn up. When he arrived home of an evening, he would help Glenda with the children. Peter enjoyed spending time with the children and he felt a real sense of achievement from earning a decent living out of the business. When the GFC hit and people could no longer afford to buy take out as much, their business began to struggle. Peter had to work longer hours and would come home well after the children had gone to bed. He was so exhausted he didn’t even feel like eating and would fall straight into bed. However, once in bed, Peter could not “turn his brain off” worrying about the business and how they were going to find money to pay for their children’s private school. Peter had trouble getting out of bed in the mornings and life felt pointless to him. He and Glenda would argue daily and their relationship was suffering for it to the point Glenda threatened to leave Peter and take the children.
Tom is a 60 year old man who has recently retired from work as a university professor. For years he had been looking forward to his retirement in order to pursue his favourite leisure activities of fishing and golfing. Since retiring Tom has found that he has been attending more of his friends’ funerals, highlighting his own mortality. Tom also found that since leaving work he has missed the daily social interaction and the sense of social worth that employment provided. Tom would often become teary for no apparent reason and not many things got Tom excited. He even lost interest in fishing and golfing. Tom lost all joy from his usually enjoyable activities and he felt he just “exists” these days. He felt worthless and believed that his family would be better off without him. Tom had a sense of being “dead” inside, that something was missing from his life. Tom started accumulating a supply of his sleeping tablets.
Guys Who Don’t Look Depressed (Male-Type Depression)
Ian is a 43 years old Sales Rep. He and his wife have two children. Last year was a bad one for Ian. He was involved in a motor vehicle accident which left him with constant back pain. Ian’s father also died of prostate cancer after a lengthy illness that same year. Ian has always been a positive, optimistic person, however in the last year he had become exceptionally negative and the smallest of things would irritate him. Ian found that he was constantly yelling at the kids who were” always annoying him”. He also felt his wife Amanda was to blame for the way he felt and not a day would pass without them arguing about something. At work, Ian has been told that he is underperforming and his boss has informed him he is at risk of losing his job if things don’t improve. For the last 3 months Ian has been having an affair with a female college at work. Initially he felt “alive” when he is with her however this was only temporary.
Bob has always been described as having “an exuberant and energetic personality”. He comes across as a positive optimistic person. However, in the last 2 years he had become exceptionally negative and the smallest of things would send him into bursts of anger. He spends ridiculously long hours at work and is very successful, although his occasional anger outburst caused him some problems with colleagues at work. Bob drinks to excess and his behaviour is becoming more and more reckless and risk-taking. He takes unnecessary risks on the road and regularly engages in casual sex. Bob regularly blames other peoples “stupidity” for his discontent and restlessness and he overreacts if he feels he has failed or been unsuccessful either at work or in his leisure activities. He is also sensitive to threats to his masculinity. Bob has recently had difficulty maintaining an erection.
You may know (or be) a guy like Peter, Tom, Ian or Bob. The one thing they all have in common is that they are all depressed. Peter and Tom are depressed in ways that almost everyone understands (typical depression). Ian and Bob on the other hand, suffer from a particularly male kind of depression that therapists are just beginning to recognise and understand. Male-Type Depression is particularly dangerous as it does not present like typical depression. As a result, most health professionals fail to recognise it as depression and it consequently goes undetected and undiagnosed for years destroying many lives in the process.