- Fight: "I'm right, you're wrong." Fighting is trying to impose your preferred solution or opinion onto another by insisting, blaming, criticizing, accusing, shouting, or using force. OR you can calmly stand up for your own rights and beliefs by using appropriate measures such as your words in direct "I" statements. "I feel..., I think..., I need..., I want...".
- Submit: "I'm wrong, you're right." You can yield by lowering your expectations and settling for less by giving in, giving up, agreeing to just end the conflict or surrendering to what the other person wants. OR you can calmly stand up for your own rights and beliefs by using appropriate measures such as your words in direct "I" statements. There are times when you are wrong and it's appropriate to admit it. There are also times when faced with a more powerful force submission may be appropriate.
- Flee: "I don't care who is right, I'm gone." You can withdraw by ceasing to talk, retreating to your own thoughts, leaving emotionally, changing the topic, physically leaving the scene. OR you can calmly stand up for your own rights and beliefs by using appropriate measures such as your words in direct "I" statements. When emotion goes up, cognition goes down and it's sometimes useful to leave a heated discussion and take a time-out to let emotions subside, to organize thoughts, formulate "I" statements, "I feel..., I think..., I need..., I want...". Then return to the discussion, calmly, with clarity.
- Resolution: "We both have a piece of the truth. Let's work it out." We can learn to listen to each other, to state our feelings, thoughts, needs and desires and to hear those from another person. With mutual respect, listening and talking, and expressing our feelings using "I" statements we can remain in the struggle long enough to digest what's happened, problem-solve, and pursue alternatives that satisfy both and come up with solutions.
People use three basic responses to conflict. Fight, Submit, Flee. These can be used creatively but sometimes we get stuck in using just one strategy; become rigid and defensive and feel trapped and powerless. There is a fourth strategy, Resolution which can be learned and is mutually beneficial.
Sadness that won’t go away, episodes of crying, dwelling on bad feelings. All of those familiar mood-disorder symptoms are common in women with depression — but not so much in men.
“When men are depressed, they may be less likely to express sadness and more likely to express anger, irritability and aggression,” says clinical psychologist Adam Borland, PsyD.
Other signs of depression in men can include:
Men and women also may share some basic depressive symptoms, like low energy, poor concentration and lost interest in activities they used to enjoy says.
Not all drops in mood are depression. Common sadness or irritability is usually temporary and triggered by something specific. Depression may have no clear trigger. And symptoms seem to take over your life (emotionally and physically), for two weeks or longer.
The effect on a man’s body
The thing about a mood disorder is that it’s not just an emotional problem. It can have physical effects too.
In women, depression can present as panic attacks or eating problems. Men, however, are more likely to complain of headaches, digestive problems or other physical aches and pains, says. They may have trouble sleeping or eating — or sleep or eat too much.
They also may have decreased sex drive and trouble performing in the bedroom.
It’s often easier for men to see a doctor for their physical issues than emotional ones. They may be less willing than women to talk about emotional issues or less likely to realize their physical symptoms are depression.
How to treat male depression
Men who may be depressed should start by seeing their primary care provider, who can rule out other health conditions and discuss ways to treat depression. Usually depression is treated with psychotherapy, medication or both.
Therapy can help patients uncover and change unhealthy thoughts and behaviors that could be contributing to depression. Sometimes it includes finding new ways of dealing with interpersonal conflict or other problems.
Antidepressants treat depression well, but can take several weeks to work fully. Symptoms may lift slowly and gradually.
There are dozens of safe and effective antidepressants available, but they don’t work the same in everyone. It may take more than one try for you and your doctor to find the right antidepressant for you.
What to do if a man is depressed
Many men won’t seek medical care for depression on their own. They may need encouragement from family or friends who’ve noticed a change in their ability to work, interact with others or function in everyday life.
If you think the man in your life may be depressed, here’s how you can help:
For most of us, asking for help can often be difficult. Yes, asking for advice on planting a garden is easy. But for a serious issue, such as your mental health, you may find that you don't want to admit to the problems you're facing.
It's not hard to understand why you may be reluctant. Admitting that you're struggling or feeling overwhelmed is like admitting you're weak or inadequate. Many of us learned as children that it's important to be independent, strong and self-sufficient. That background makes it difficult to tell someone else that you're really not okay.
The result is that people often decide to just try and do the best they can by themselves. In some cases things might just turn out fine, though there are no guarantees. But going it alone could involve considerable amounts of stress and anxiety, and may even lead to bigger and more serious problems.
Another common option is to turn to family or friends. This can be a good idea if those you trust with your problems and fears are truly understanding and are able to offer meaningful support and help. Sometimes they can, but often times they just can't be objective enough.
If you're facing a difficult time or situation, something that's causing depression, high stress and anxiety, and is making it difficult or impossible for you to enjoy life, it may be time to seek out professional help. Doing so can be a difficult choice, since it means asking for help from a stranger, and usually will involve a fee.
However, realize that a professional counselor is someone who has gone through extensive training and has many tools to help those feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to go on. Despite the way it's often portrayed on TV, counseling is not something just for "crazy" people. Most counseling assists perfectly normal people who are simply facing issues and problems that are negatively affecting their lives. There are no reasons to suffer emotional pain when licensed, professional counselors are available, willing and competent to help.
There are many ways to find a counselor. You can ask a friend, your doctor or dentist, teacher or someone you respect to give you a referral. Many communities have counseling centers. If there is a resource at your job you can ask about the Employee Assistance Program. You can find a counselor by simply Googling "Find a Counselor". There are many referral sites that you can search geographically and by topic, e.g., stress, anxiety, depression, marital conflict, parenting.
Asking for help is never a sign of weakness but rather of the strength to recognize when your problems are real and that you need help to do something about them.
Here are some reasons NOT to ignore your Mental Health from the Cleveland Clinic as well as some signs to help you decide if you need professional help.
Adapted from American Counseling Association’s Counseling Corner Blog.