You haven’t been yourself lately.

You have put on a few pounds. Probably from eating too much of your favorite  comfort foods. Lately the more sugar the better.

You toss and turn all night never rested when you get up. You have been drinking more than usual to go to sleep. Your wife keeps bringing it up and you have a snap trigger on your temper. You, the easy going guy on the staff have actually  ripped into coworkers. You think they would understand how to do their jobs by now.

In fact you are mad at the whole world. You have a constant chip on your shoulder.

Your wife, whom you adore, says  you are shutting her out of your life. The truth is that your libido is pretty much gone and you are embarrassed. She is afraid you are having an affair. You are afraid of losing your “manhood.”

There seems to be no way out and you find yourself watching inane television shows every evening.

What is the matter?

You could be depressed. Trouble sleeping, losing interest in sex, overeating, drinking to control your irritability, an inner world of anger, withdrawing from the ones you love, are all possible symptoms of depression.

Sometimes men are not good at identifying their feelings. (Yep me, too.) For some reason in our culture it is more permissible for men to have anger than other emotions and it not unusual for feelings to be twisted into anger. Sexual desire is one of the ways society teaches us to measure our “maleness”.

Some of our coping behaviors are negative. Alcohol is a depressant which will only aggravate your depression.

Positive coping behaviors can include: exercise, counseling, practicing gratitude, developing positive self talk. Your doctor and counselor can be of greatf help in establishing your health plan.

Depression is an illness. You are not alone. Depression is not a character defect, it is not a flaw.

More women than men seek help for depression. I think it may have to do with the thin veil of anger we wear over our emotional life and a misunderstanding of what it means to be a “man”.

What to do? If you recognize some of these patterns of behavior, talk to someone about it. Your spouse, the one you are afraid to share with, may be relieved to know what is going on inside your heart.

Make an appointment with your doctor for a depression screening. Find  a counselor, someone who can help you identify your feelings and label them. Labeling can be a relief in understanding what you are experiencing.

You are not alone.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Moses was not alone. Joshua was not alone. You are not alone. “For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”