“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Depression in Australian men is a silent epidemic with an estimated 1,800 male suicides per year; that’s around 5 per day – on average!
A sobering fact; within the next fortnight, 100 sons, brothers, uncles and Dads will think that they’ve no other choice than to take their own life. In 2015, 75.4% of Australia’s suicides were men. In the same year, every two days saw the self destruction of an Australian tradie.
I don’t mean to post something so morose but… come on! I read something that put these statistics in a different light to properly highlight how little is being done for prevention or even awareness for this.
If five whales beached themselves tomorrow on Bondi Beach (or any beach for that matter) a massive effort of news headlines, money and public outcry would spill forth trying to save them. There’s none of that for these men who can see no other option.
In my current situation I find myself having to admit that I am suffering depression – I’m not the man I once was and nothing I’ve done seems to help. Unfortunately it has everything to do with the disillusion of the relationship with my Son’s mother a little over a year ago. With that though, there was nothing outrageous about it – simply a break up because two people weren’t seeing eye-to-eye and the relationship wasn’t working.
Through my readings on the matter, I’ve come across an interesting article about the psychology of break ups from the male perspective; Men never truly get over break ups and this got me to thinking – it’s totally true.
When the break up happened, there were emotions, obviously; but I stood up rather quickly afterward, thinking that I was in a good place; and for a time, I was. But in hindsight it has become clear I was performing quite a convincing pantomime of well being for the benefit of those around me and my Son.
Interestingly, my emotional Black Dog comes in the form of isolation (self imposed) and a spike in anger and feelings of general rage. This has detrimental effects on all aspects of my life, work, friends and any sort of potential new relationships. I find myself not being able to ‘get over’ the smallest of things with feelings of resentment and rage lingering much, much longer than they should; if at all! My physical black dog comes in the form of an RSPCA rescue Great Dane X Mastiff named Rocky.
As a male, we’re raised with the ‘boys don’t cry’ adage that honestly, to this day makes talking about my feelings very difficult and if it happens at all, it’s either after some large event, although more often than not the dam breaks about an hour and twenty minutes into Marley and Me – every time…
This has made not only admitting that there’s something wrong, but getting the courage to seek help or at least put my foot on path to getting help extremely hard and in all honesty, I do feel like a failure – that I wasn’t able to ‘keep my shit together’ and I’d let it get this far.
I’ve found a community of like minded Men in Dads in Distress that offer a support network and services to blokes who are feeling my way inclined. I hope that my involvement with them will help – will offer me a way back to the man that once was; I hope so, I liked that bloke.
I just hope that I can get a handle on this and get back to a good place before my boy gets wind of it. The Son should not pay for the sins (or short comings) of the Father.