There isn’t any one cause of depression for men. If there were, there would easily be a cure for it. There are many different factors that go into a man falling into a depression. As I try to figure this whole thing out, I’ve found some that might seem relevant to what I’m going through…
- Overwhelming stress at work, school, or home. I don’t think I’m overly stressed at work, but I do put extra stress on myself. Y’see, I’m a perfectionist and I’ve been put into a role that’s full of responsibility. I have found lately, however, that I’m missing things here and there which result in small errors. Nothing big, but errors that should have been easily prevented in the first place. I end up being extra hard on myself, which adds to my stress levels. I’d like to think I’m alright at my job, but I put unnecessary stress on myself to be perfect and any little imperfection that is noted by my supervisors only adds to the weight I already placed on my shoulders.
- Not reaching important goals. This may be the biggest trigger for me, and it’s something I only brought on myself. As I’ve written about before, I had big plans for November 2014. I wanted to take my family to Florida and have them all experience what I experienced as a kid with my family. A few months ago, it was realized that it wasn’t going to happen this year and probably not next year, either. That was a major blow to me as a man and a provider for my family. Trust me…this subject is an entirely separate blog post in itself but suffice to say that not being able to afford a family vacation certainly added to my current mind frame.
- Constant money problems. Up until recently, I had my credit card maxed out (and only making minimum payments) and I had been living in overdraft on my bank account for over five years. While not thousands upon thousands of dollars in debt, we were only living paycheque to paycheque. The realization that we weren’t going to Florida came to a head when my wife and I had a very serious conversation about finances a couple of months ago. We’re now on a much better track (and you can read about our financial journey at our joint blog – link), but really coming to terms with my poor financial decisions has been like a hammer to the head. I’m a guy who lived with his head in the sand when it came to finances. Out of sight, out of mind…right? Well, when confronted with those “out of sight” choices my mind went to a negative space.
- Losing a job & job insecurity. It was just over a year ago when I was let go from my previous job. I had quit a job to move to be with my wife and needed something to get me through. The job started off great, but quickly delved into something that probably triggered depression at the time. I was only out of work for a month, but then the stress of starting all over again for the second time in two years after being employed at the same place for over five years was a little bit much. I’m still stressed out over trying to fit in and trying to do my best. That constant stress can add up after awhile. Plus after I started, I saw three people get let go in a relatively short amount of time. Even though I’ve almost been here a year, I’m in constant fear of getting called into the boss’ office and being told that it’s just not working out; that I’m doing fine, but they’re looking for better. That feeling rarely goes away when I’m at the office.
So while any man can suffer from depression, there are some factors that make a man more vulnerable to the illness. One is the inability to effectively deal with stress. I put so much pressure on myself in all aspects of my life that I sometimes shut down and say “fuck it”; effectively putting my head in the sand again. I wish I knew how to combat stress in a productive way. I guess that’s just one more blog post I’ll have to write as I work through this thing.