Archives for Men and Depression

Coping with Depression

Crying to prevent my depression

My life improved when I accepted crying as a body function - like blowing your nose or peeing. I never worried that someone might think I was a wuss because I blew my nose. So, why is water coming from my eyes considered a weakness and peeing is not?

I got to pondering this enigma after a major depression that followed the death of my parents - 16 months apart - and then the death of my dog 8 months later. It took a couple years after these losses for the depression to really kick in. But when it did, it kicked in hard.

What I learned in my recovery was that I hadn't grieved properly. When sorrow smothered me, I stuffed it. When sadness came on me at work, I flung myself at a project to stop the tears. I was not going to cry - at least not in public. Of course, it's okay to cry right after someone dies or at the funeral. But not two months or two years later.

Get a grip. Suck it up. Enough already.
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Living with Depression

Robin Williams: Celebrity vs non-celebrity suicide

Robin Williams.

Ernest Hemingway. Kurt Cobain. Marilyn Monroe. Vincent VanGogh. Sigmund Freud. Spalding Grey. Frida Kahlo. Shakir Stewart (Def Jam). Cleopatra. Junior Seau. Roy Raymond (founder, Victoria's Secret). Socrates. Sylvia Plath. Hunter S. Thompson. L'Wren Scott. Virginia Woolf. Abbie Hoffman. David Carradine. Wendy O. Williams. Mary Kay Bergman (SouthPark voices) Robert Enke (soccer).

These are the suicides you hear about in the media. Because of their accomplishments and talent, their suicides supercede the hushed rule in newsrooms throughout...
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anxiety and dreams

When Your Disability Involves Your Brain

I have a soft, mushy spot in my heart for dogs, military vets and and people with mental illnesses and brain injuries. So, when I went to the AOL home page to retrieve my email and saw a photo of a young man with his arm around a dog and this headline -  "Airline Staff Allegedly Abused Veteran" - I had to click. In the story, Jim Stanek, a disabled vet who served three tours in Iraq and now has PTSD and TBI (traumatic brain injury) describes how he and his service dog Sarge were treated by United Airlines.

It is one of those flight-gone-bad stories that makes you want to escort the boards of directors at all the major airlines onto a plane, seat them in coach, close the doors, disable the bathrooms and leave them on the tarmac for eight hours with only peanuts, pretzels and water.

Stanek was trying to get back to his home in New Mexico after a fundraising event for
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Suicides in the Military – A Daily Dilemma

On the suicide front, there was some really bad news and a shred of good news on the front page of my local newspaper last week. The bad news: 154 active duty, American troops killed themselves during the first 155 days of this year. That's nearly one suicide every day. What this means is that more troops are dying of suicide than bullets or IEDs.

The shred of good news is that this story ran on the front page of our local newspaper - above the fold. Even Aljazeera ran it as the lead story on its homepage. Unfortunately, the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times did not run the story on their front pages.

But at least some editors around the country thought it was important enough news to get on the front page. Which is really good news.

Newspapers generally don't cover suicides unless the suicide has inconvenienced our lives, has a high rubber-necking score or you are famous. I know this is morbid, but I have been a journalist for 30 years and I know about these things.

For example, if someone jumps from a highway overpass during rush hour causing a massive traffic jam - that is news. Or person shoots himself at the local shopping mall - that's news. When famed NFL linebacker Junior Seau puts a gun to his chest and pulls the trigger - that's news.
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Coping with Depression

Depression & Therapy: We’re Not Closing the Gender Gap

Ever had one of those moments where you realize you are not as enlightened as you thought you were?

I had one Sunday morning, reading a front page story in The New York Times, Need Therapy? A good man is hard to find. Seems the number  of male therapists is  dwindling. Only 10 percent of the members of the American Counseling Association are men, down from 30 percent in 1982. "Some college psychology programs cannot even attract male applicants, much less students," according to the article.

"The result, many therapists argue, is that the profession is at risk of losing its appeal for a large group of sufferers - most of them men - who would like to receive therapy but prefer to start with a male therapist."

The bitchy little feminist in me says, "na-na-na-na-boo-boo. Now you know what it's like for us to go to male gynecologists!" But in this battle, that kind of thinking is fatal. Of the four people I have known who committed suicide in the last five years, all were men.

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Coping with Depression

Fatal Depression: Hope vs Physical Pain

One of my girlfriends called last night and left a message. I played it this morning. Her boyfriend killed himself. He was such a great guy. Probably one of the kindest, gentlest men I had ever known and equally manly - a commercial fisherman.

He was only in his 40s but his rheumatoid arthritis had gotten really bad over the last few years. He had an ankle replacement and picked up one of those horrible infections in the hospital that nearly killed him.

He was in constant pain. Unrelenting pain - non-stop fuel for depression. He didn't bring it up unless you asked but you would see it in his face and the tightness of the muscles in his back and shoulders. He couldn't work. He couldn't do any of the activities he loved to do. My girlfriend, a saint, became the sole provider. It was hard on her. It was hard on him. Throughout it all there was the physical pain. He hated taking the pain medication but without it, the pain was too much.

I won't go into the details but he was thoughtful to the end, leaving a note and doing "it" far from their home.
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Coping with Depression

Mr. Feinberg: Depression is Real

The last time I checked, my head was still attached to my body. Yours is probably, too. So is Kenneth Feinberg's, which is why I do not understand why Mr. Feinberg, the oil spill claims czar, has decided to pay claims for "physical" health problems but not "mental" health problems.
"Mental" health problems are conditions that disrupt a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. They are conditions and illnesses that involve our brains - and the last time I checked, mine was still in my head and attached to the rest of me.

So, how can a health problem that involves my brain NOT be a "physical" health problem?  If my pancreas doesn't produce insulin they way it should, it is a "physical" health problem. If my brain doesn't produce "serotonin" the way it should, it is a "mental" health problem. It is all happening in my body - so why the distinction between "physical" and "mental?"

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All we are saying is give mental health care a chance

Amen. Hallelujah. God bless America.

Health care passed.

I am one of the few taxpayers who does not care how much I must pay in taxes to guarantee that everyone in this country -- and I mean everyone -- receives the medical care they need when they are hurt or sick.

To me, this is not a political battle. It is common sense. We take care of each other. When someone is hurt, sick or in pain, you help them. That's how I was raised. My mother called it The Golden Rule: "Do unto other as you would have them to unto you." It is that simple.

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Coping with Depression

Men and depression: Can we help you, please?

We had another murder here last week. Actually, it was three murders and an attempted suicide. According to news reports:

What friends, family and authorities do say is that it appears that as Neal Jacobson sank deeper and deeper into depression, something terrible was building inside him.

The once successful mortgage broker from New Jersey left his company and moved to Florida to care for his ailing father, who died...
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The questions Robert Enke has helped us ask…

I was a panelist last Friday on the BBC radio program called World Have Your Say. The title of the program was Should You Make Your Mental Illness Public? Debates like this are being held throughout Europe as the continent mourns the suicide of Robert Enke, the beloved German soccer player and young husband and father. Enke kept his illness from everyone but his wife. And now we are asking ourselves all kinds of questions about how mental illness should be handled in...
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