“It’s okay to be a man who battles depression. It doesn’t make you any less of one.”

“I remember the first time I hurt myself. I punched a wall repeatedly, resulting in a few bruised knuckles, and some scrapes on my hands. Some of my scars are still visible.

“I found it hard to deal with who I was, and who I thought I should be. Even though it might not make sense to someone who hasn’t been there, I felt like it was the only way to release the intense emotions I was feeling.

“Men and women who deal with depression are seen differently. Men with depression are often perceived as weak, and are just told to suck it up. Women with depression are often viewed as just looking for attention, rather than actually considering it a serious condition, which deserves proper treatment.

“University is difficult. It’s hard to cope with its demands all while trying to stay positive. I often find myself trying to study, but I can’t focus. There is too much going on in my head.

“Depression makes basic things harder than they already are. I was incredibly homesick in my first semester. I didn’t know anyone. I struggled with such a large change, and dove into a deep sadness. I wanted to meet people, but that’s the thing about depression — it doesn’t care what you want. I neglected the people around me, and couldn’t bring myself to create any new relationships. I wanted to make new friends, meet new people, but I couldn’t. I didn’t.

“My depression isn’t always bad. There are times where I am extremely happy with who I am, and where I am in life. Depression, for me, sort of comes and goes. It’s like the ocean’s tide.

“Every day can be an emotional rollercoaster. I can be happy one second, and just like that, sad or mad the next.

“I often convince myself that my friends don’t like me, don’t want to see me, or don’t want to talk to me. It hinders my ability to make new friends because I’m constantly inside my head talking myself down to new possibilities. I hate that I have let friends down because of it.

“Depression isn’t seen as manly, mostly due to the fact that men are always supposed to be tough and keep their feelings to themselves. That stereotype can make us feel ashamed of something that many people struggle with. It needs to change. It’s okay to be a man who battles depression. It doesn’t make you any less of one.

“What I’ve learned is that depression can be dealt with. The best thing you can do is share your struggle with someone you trust. It can be anyone, and having someone listen to what you have to say can be the difference between a win and a loss in your battle.”

– 19, Male, Canada

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