In Thomas Moore’s book, Care of the Soul, he writes eloquently about the gift that depression may offer people. It’s an opportunity to embrace emotions that we often don’t deal with, leading us to a better understanding of ourselves and how we want to direct our life. Though he acknowledges that depression can become debilitating to many people, he still posits the idea that there is a side to it (even in the most extremes cases of debilitation) that can be a gift to us, and that as friends and family of someone who is depressed, we play a crucial role. Moore writes:
“When as counselors and friends, we are the observers of depression and are challenged to find a way to deal with it in others, we could abandon the monotheistic notion that life always has to be cheerful, and be instructed by melancholy. We could learn from its qualities and follow its lead, become more patient in its presence, lowering our excited expectations, taking a watchful attitude as this soul deals with its fate in utter seriousness and heaviness. In our friendship, we could offer it a place of acceptance and containment.”
Depression is a very important topic that is often not talked about, especially when it strikes men. But in in our silence on the matter many men are not able to find the help they need. My hope is that the posts I have written the last couple of weeks on this topic have at least peeled back some of the veil of silence and helped you to begin to think more on this issue…especially if you have a loved one in your life who is suffering from it.
Check out my last three articles on the topic:
The Angry…I Mean, Depressed Male: Do You Know Him?
Communication: What ‘To Say’ And ‘Not To’ Say To A Depressed Man
Pressed to the Ground: A Theological Re-Frame of Depression
And though there are many books on this subject, here are three that I have found to be helpful and insightful.
Unmasking Male Depression: Recognizing the Root Cause to Many Problem Behaviors Such as Anger, Resentment, Abusiveness, Silence, Addictions, and Sexual Compulsiveness by Archibald Hart
I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression by Terence Real
Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker Palmer