It’s a cultural expectation we were raised to have, according to Dr. John S. Ogrodniczuk, a professor of psychotherapy at the University of British Columbia. “The catchphrase, ‘Big boys don’t cry’ prevails,” he wrote in a 2011 study on the topic.
But for the millions of men who experience depression, these expectations can make life especially hard. That’s why organizations such as Heads Up Guys, based in Vancouver, are getting the word out that depression is not a sign of weakness — rather, “[I]’s a fact. Guys get depressed.“
They want to dispel the misconceptions around depression, such as the condition is a sign of personal weakness, unmanly or not something “real men” experience. Actually, it’s a real illness, and it’s treatable; sadness is an emotion everyone feels, including men.
Real strength is facing your challenges and taking control of your life — and that can include therapy, medication and a mindfulness practice, among other things.
Depression, one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States and the leading affliction for adults aged 15 to 44, is just one of the topics we’re looking at during National Men’s Health Week.
Just know this: You’re not alone.
And Twitter knows. With hashtags such as #ImNotAshamed, #WhatYouDontSee and #SickNotWeak, men are tweeting their experiences and proving that depression is nothing to be ashamed of.