Sunday, August 28, 2005

Men don't cry ...... or do they?

One of the things that has always attracted me to Tom Peters ‘school of management thinking’ is that despite this man being a world icon in management and leadership for the last 30 years, he remains rooted in what I would called 'ordinary-ness' - please forgive the grammar.

I visit Tom Peters Blog regularly and he has just announced that his 95 year old mother has sadly died.

He has also reflected on his battle with depression for many years. Please take a look at this link

Why is it that when people admit to suffering depression it is considered some sort of 'brave' admission?

No one has a problem talking about their battle against cancer or diabetes or heart disease or broken limbs. So why is it seen as ‘brave’ if one admits that depression walks beside us.

I have had times in my life until when 'depression' has been my shadow – happily not for one second since I met Annie ..... and there is a moral there methinks!

I know I am not alone. Indeed I am in good company.
Robbie Williams, Tom Peters and John Cleese to name but three.

Many people suffer depression - it is more common than we like to admit – particularly among men who, of course, are supposed to cope and not bow to all this ‘silly emotional stuff.’

I would be really interesting to hear views about this one.


Rocky said...

We live in a very high paced world. I think the pressure and stress to keep up can be overwhelming at times. I am learning that most of the pressure and stress is self imposed. It has to do with our own personal expectations. For me, depression has been a recurring problem. A ot of the problem has come from my own personal insecurities and a ovewhelming instinct to second guess etc... I am learning a lot about the subconscious mind and how it is trained to react rather than reason. I am learning that this can be trained to react in healthy ways as much as unhealthy. It is all very fascinating, but seems to be true. Depression is a malady that we can learn to manage the same as other physical problems that you mentioned. The problem is that depression has a stigma to it and many people wrongly view it as a weakness in character etc... Therefor, people are reluctant to admit that they struggle with it. I guess the idea that it takes strength or courage to deal with it in the open is the fact that the perception that society takes of depression of being a human flaw so to speak. Very interesting topic that is worthy of much discussion.

Rocky said...

By the way, Yes men do cry.

Trevor Gay said...

Great comments Rocky.

I suspect depression is close to all people at all times ... yes even alongside those who deny they are ever depressed. The good news is most people overcome its effects most of the time.

There are amazing stats like one in six of us in the UK will suffer depression at sometime in our life.

I think many suffer from depression but are never actually diagnosed because they get great support from families or friends or both and 'go through it' to a happy life on the other side of a bout of depression. That is fabulous.

Some people have to struggle with its effects long term. Some cannot learn the coping skills for a variety of reasons.

Your are right it is indeed a fascinating topic Rocky.

You and I have many things in common - as I have always believed.

And yes ... of course men cry :-)

Annie said...

This topic IS worthy of much discussion, Rocky.

I do feel that the word 'depression' is over and wrongly used. 99.99% of us suffer from attacks of the 'blues' in varying degrees of severity. I couldn't agree with you more that anxieties/blues/black dogs are more likely to manifest themselves, not by a 'situation', but by how we deal with it.

Trevor and I have been discussing the physical feeling during a bout of the blues, or depression, if you want to call it that.

Many years ago, before he met me I might add, Trevor suffered depression and he described it as everything black, with not even a speck of white.

In my cases of the 'blues' (in the past, chronic)I can only describe the feeling as having lead weights lodged in my stomach and a tightness in my lungs. Again, this was before I met Trevor.

Would you be able to describe something you feel/see/hear during your low times?

Annie said...

ps. Not enough men cry

Arun Sadhashivan said...

I've been wrestling with depression (At least I call it by its name now..) for the last 10 years. They go from mild - the blues, to really crazy situations, where I've cried.

I figured it out on my own. The solution was in expectation management. I convinced myself before, that I was not worthy if I didn't achieve
And any setbacks along the track to these achievements meant a bout of depression.

I try not to think along those lines any more. I ask myself.. have i bettered myself, my client or my society in some way today?
If YES .. cool! clap myself on my back and reward myself (virtually)
If NO .. try again tomorrow. Feeling sorry for yourself doesn't help. Doing something about it does help.


Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Arun

I think it is all about individuals finding their own unique way of coping - thanks for sharing your thoughts.

As Annie asked how did you feel/see/hear what is is like?


Rocky said...

Depression for me has many definitions. It is not just a single feeling. For me depression is a slow melancholy. It is a never ending feeling of insecurity. It is the belief that nothing can or will work out. It is never being good enough. It is a dull ache in the pit of your soul. It is never being able to reach your potential or celebrate success. It is a constant self doubt and forever second guessing yourself. It is a feeling as though no one could ever really care for you. it a feeling of being hopeless. It is not wanting to get out of bed and face the day, but fearing that you will miss the day. It is the fear that you will fail and the knowledge that it does not matter. It is the fear that you will let everyone down and the belief that is all that matters. Depression is a lot of things. For some people it is fatal. It has never been that for me. That is why I call it a slow melancholy. For me it is all that I mentioned, but it has never robbed my love of life. It is a sacrifice of self. Worst of all, It is not knowing why. To me it is like being short of breath. it is like standing at the bottom of steep incline that you must climb, but it is covered with thick ice. You cannot seem to get your grip, but you keep climbing. That is what it feels like to me.

Mike said...

I lived for about eight years with it constantly--felt nothing mattered, didn't want to get out of bed and go do things, looked for escape in anything and anyone. I thought it was normal. I thought most people were that way--because most people I was around were also that way. I finally had a minor epiphany and changed my situation, and that eased the depression. About six years later, at the top of the world in all respects, one relationship didn't work out--and here it came crashing down. I tried to cure myself by taking a long driving vacation. God helped cure my by almost killing me on an icy mountain road in Virginia. I then took a trip to a totally unknown place with an unknown culture and bought a house. Point is--I did some positive things to get myself out of the depression that was killing me. And it worked. My psyche told me what to do, I just had to calm down a little and listen to it. These things don't work for everyone, but there is usually something everyone can do to alleviate the depression. I think that's why so many people make drastic changes in their lives with no planning--they are following their subconscious to a cure.

Trevor Gay said...

Thank you Rocky and Mike

These are very powerful and very honest insights from both of you. I actually feel a bit humble that you have shared such personal thoughts. I have empathy with many of the comments the two of you make.

Like both of you I have also developed my own coping mechanisms over the years.

My lowest point was almost six years ago - before I knew Annie - when I did not want to live and at that time the 'blackness' I saw in my head and in my eyes had not even a tiny speck of light in the picture. Happily I have never felt as low as that since.

As regards the idea of changing your life to deal with things - In the last 18 months I have had at least 10 major life changes to deal with and many of them could have triggered depression in the average person according to the gurus in mental health. For me the opposite has happened. I feel happier now than ever in my life. The changes I made were in fact needed – I just took an awful long time realising that.

Developing our own coping skills is wonderful but the most important reason I have not become depressed in dealing with all the changes is the love and support of each other that Annie and I enjoy and value so much.

Annie clearly gave me the strength to do the things my subconscious probably knew I had to do.

So I am agreeing that we all have potential solutions to our sadness, blues or depression - whatever word we wish to use.

If you find someone to share your life with who will offer you love and support then the task of coping is greatly eased.

Annie said...

"they are following their subconscious to a cure."

That is a fantastic line Mike. Thanks for sharing that, and your experience.

Thanks Rocky too for your very open explanation of how you actually feel. You are a gifted writer. Your analogy of standing at the bottom of a steep, icy incline is very interesting. I would like to share this piece with a friend of mine who becomes crippled with depression.