“I don’t know what to do, I feel lost and alone.” Steve (not his real name) is a 38-year-old man, who is married with 3 kids, working at a local factory. “I have no energy and don’t want to do anything; I don’t play touch anymore and I think my wife is going to leave me.”
Steve, by attending his doctor, is doing more than many men do. Many men, unfortunately, do not seek help to address what is often a medical condition that is impacting on their personal lives - depression. Men commit suicide, abuse alcohol and use drugs at a much higher rate than women. They are also less likely to seek out medical professionals for help. This then impacts upon their families and friends, which can result in domestic violence, relationships breaking down and loss of employment, which contributes to the self-harming cycle, potential further use of alcohol or drugs, which often ends in suicide.
Steve had a long discussion with his general practitioner and completed a physical examination and some blood tests to exclude organic causes of depression. By going to his general practitioner and identifying that there are concerns, he was able to get help. For Steve this was a combination of medication, discussions with his wife and general practitioner about depression and the impact that it has on him, her and the children. He needed to attend counselling both by himself and with his wife and started playing touch football again. Steve felt that he started to re engage in friendships that had lapsed, redeveloping his sense of a community that was there to support him. He also set time aside to play with his children and time for himself, to go running or to the gym.
Today, Steve is running 3 times a week, spends time with his wife, family and friends, becoming healthier and more active than he was previously. He is no longer using medication and remains under the care of his general practitioner.