Midlife Depression in Men
Depression in men, that is what I hope to help.
I am blogging for any man that is struggling with depression and/or losing weight and has no clue how strength training and real food nutrition can change their life.
I am blogging for every person that believes that being in their best physical condition cannot be rocket science.
I am blogging for people who are out of shape and want to get into shape.
I am even blogging to help depression in men who are over 50 and even they want to get into better shape.
They want to do their best to be their healthiest and stay healthy.
They want to be strong and healthy for their wives, for their children, for themselves, family and friends.
I am even blogging for the man or woman in depression who has no hope left.
Not only do they carry the weight of fat on their bodies, but even worse, they might be carrying the weight of depression, estrangement, divorce or many of the other disasters that can happen to a person if they live long enough.
Give an Example of Depression in Men
Here is one possible person:
His name is ‘Joseph'.
He is 50 years old.
He lost his career.
He is divorced.
He lost the relationship with his children.
He is even estranged from other members of his family like his sisters and/or one of his parents.
Estrangement and the Collapse of Life
I am blogging for anyone that has devoted their time to something or someone and then everything collapsed.
Some misfortunes wreak more havoc than others.
He/She has children but they have not returned their calls/text/emails/physical mail in years.
They do not know where they live or what they do unless they hear about it through the grapevine.
Especially in the case of losing the relationship with a child, the sense of rejection, loss and mourning are very deep.
I am not just blogging for men and women over 40 and 50, but also for young people who don't have despair from their careers or marriages, but they are struggling with their own obstacles.
Believe it or not, depression in men and suicide are major contributors to death of men under 35.
Read more about the catastrophe of young male suicide here.
Men rarely go seek out help for depression because it just does not seem manly.
So instead, they suffer in silence and that can lead to the worst possible outcome.
Which is more manly, to suffer in silence and then off yourself or to find a way to FIGHT back and crush your depression?
Meds for Depression in Men or Muscles? Which is More Effective?
Sure, I get it that a guy might not want to go to a doctor and get prescribed medication and I do not even protest that.
But what man does not want to get physically stronger?
All men want strength, physical strength and mental strength will follow.
If you are combatting depression, lift weights to lift your depression.
This is the unique angle that I want to contribute to the world for treating depression in men.
What if young men, instead of offing themselves because of depression, instead they start strength training and eating real food, they might get so strong that they no longer think suicidal thoughts.
How great would that be?
I am blogging for ‘Tim' or ‘Brian' who are young men and have everything to look forward to but cannot get out of the rut of depression and suicidal ideation.
Depression in men and male suicide is a silent epidemic and I know that these young men can help themselves with strength training and better nutrition.
Many people can withstand the loss of their car, home, job, marriage or physical loss of a parent easier than the cutting of the ties between them and their own child who are now adults.
How do you recover from or deal with loss?
How can we help someone with depression, a friend or our own?
On a superficial level, how do we help a person who lost nothing but their slim appearance.
In high school they might have had an athletic build and by the time they have five to ten years in the working world, they could be a hundred pounds heavier.
So, I am writing for the man, who wants to rebuild his life.
Rebuild his body and/or rebuild their emotions despite their sense of loss and failure.
As long as they have some spark within them that they do not want to give up and throw in the towel, I want to share the best exercises and strategies that I myself have experienced or heard about that can help a person get fitter in mind and body one day at a time.
I say one day at a time because it is an overwhelming feeling to attempt to defeat long term depression in men, obesity or family alienation.
Treatment Resistant Depression in Men
Typically a person who has faced clinical depression, might have already done so in a hospital setting where they can be prescribed a myriad of antidepressant cocktails that might make them feel better.
These drugs might work for some individuals no doubt and perhaps those people can get back to life in short order.
Other people have treatment resistant depression and the months that they spend in the hospital might just result in eventual loss of their job or career no matter what rung of the corporate ladder they had climbed.
Antidepressants all come with warnings of potential side effects, some of which include dry mouth and sweating for the more benign and some which include loss of feeling in the lower body, disinterest in intimacy, indifference to things which previously made them excited and in the worst case hallucinations and/or suicidal ideation.
Depression and obesity seem to be inextricably linked.
Not everyone who is depressed will be overweight or vice versa, but there is no question that neither condition is something that we feel good about.
I am writing for the person that is battling either of these situations, depression and/or obesity, and the reasons why they have found themselves in either state is irrelevant.
The common denominator is that they want to get out.
When you look at Hashi Mashi, you might think it is only about strength training, nutrition, weight loss, body building, the benefits of deadlifts, the benefits of squats, real food, pushups, pull ups, walking and running.
You might think it is all about losing weight, how to lose fat fast, how to get back into shape.
Lift Depression in Men with Deadlifts & More Weight Training
All the above are true, but that is because I discovered a way to cope with depression without excessive medications is to deal with the ‘depression' of the body.
Overweight and out of shape is no fun and when you start to eat real food and get leaner and fitter, that will very likely improve your state of mind.
So if a person is only interested in weight loss or getting fitter in body, there are good tips and resources on this site, and they are not too complicated and probably like any effective diet will tell you to eat more quality food and move more.
What is more novel on Hashi Mashi is using the quality of food and exercise to help treat depression and create a path for a person to cross the bridge from the state of depression to living, from isolation to being social again, from estrangement to reconciliation, from self hate to appreciation of what we have now and a desire to improve going forward, from living in the past to living in the now, from the ruins of their life to rebuilding a new field, a new home.
The Estranged Life of ‘Joseph'
‘Joseph' does not have a favorite magazine.
In fact, he stopped reading magazines once he found himself living on his own.
His favorite tv show is Seinfeld, a show about nothing that can make him laugh and forget his pathetic reality.
The first thing Joseph does each morning is somewhat contradictory.
On one hand, he is grateful that he awoke, on the other, he is not, he wishes that he woke up to a different reality than the one he is in.
He wishes that when he woke up, he still had a job, and still had connection with his children.
When Joseph wakes up, he usually remembers his state of disbelief, the perpetual shock of estrangement.
The first thing that Joseph wishes is that he would know how to get out of his funk.
How does he get out of his depression?
How can he ever repair his relationship with his children?
Can he ever mend fences with his family?
Can he ever be happy again?
Will he ever smile and laugh again or will he forever be moping and sulking?
Can he lose weight, will he ever stop wearing baggy sweaters to hide his over the belt stomach?
Joseph has already been living like this for 10 years.
He is terrified about the prospect of living like this in the future.
He has bouts of suicidal ideation that started years ago as a side effect of the many cocktails of antidepressants that he was prescribed.
As much as he wants to check out of the world, he is still driven by a small glimmer of hope that perhaps one day he will see his children again, maybe they will smile again to him, maybe they will call him Dad again.
Unfortunately, somehow in the USA, being really nice to your Dad one day of the year has become a really big deal, so big that any father who is suffering with estranged adult children is forced to face his failure more publicly.
“Are your kids taking you out today?”
“What are you doing for father's day?”
“Did you see your children?”
Perhaps innocent questions that people ask which stab a father with estranged adult children deep in his heart to the point that he'd rather die than have to live with constant feelings of shame and humiliation of being that father who did not get together with his kids.
Joseph thinks how ironic it is that the pills that he takes to reduce depression leave him feeling like he wants to end his life.
He knows that next to dying because of depression, the next worse situation is living in depression and he wants to get out of that state of depression, desperately.
Depression and Obesity, a Lethal Mix
Over these last ten years, Joseph has ballooned up to 275 pounds and not only is his mental health a shambles, so is his physical health.
He is consumed by not only the question of how to get out of depression, but how to get back into shape?
How can he lose weight?
One evening he realizes that his waist has gone past 50 inches.
He wants to know how to lose fat fast.
He wants to know if it is possible for him to get back into shape after 50?
He wants to know what to do to lose weight and get stronger.
He thinks that maybe if he can become slim again, this will help him with his confidence that has taken a pretty big shellacking.
The challenges of Joseph and others like him are daunting:
- How can they reconcile their broken relationships, with their children, their parent(s).
- Perhaps even more striking, how can they reconcile with themselves? In Joseph's case, over the last 10 years since his divorce, he has pummeled himself relentlessly and has no love or approval left for his own self. He only hangs on by a thread because he is frankly too lazy to end it all.
- Can he find work again?
- How can he get his life back, and if not the life he had, any semblance of living as opposed to sitting in his small apartment all day and watching Maury read off dna test results. Even those shows render Joseph more despondent as he watches people who seemed to do pretty heinous things to their loved ones, like cheating and the like, reconciling with them in the span of a 30 minute show.
- How can he lose weight? He is so confused by all of the diet advice out there. He is short of breath and long on sitting. He feels like he has no energy to do anything. How can he get into shape?
In 5 years, Joseph’s fantasy is:
- To remarry a smart, clever, funny, beautiful woman inside and out whom Joseph will love for the rest of his life. She will be his Queen, his number one.
- He dreams of becoming lean enough to regain his health and be attractive to such a person as his dream woman.
- He dreams that one day he will hear the voice of his own children calling him Dad, speaking to him like the father he yearns to be for them.
- He dreams of a day that he does not wake up wishing that he did not, but rather wakes up grateful that he has another day of life and hopes that he can be productive in the world again.
- He dreams that if he ever finds a way out of his depression, he would love to help anyone else struggling with depression in men and/or obesity.
His 3 wishes right now would be:
- Be healthy in mind and body
- Be wise in mind and body, to do the right thing, to say the right things, to think the right things to help pave the way to reconnect with his children and to find out how to stop abusing his body with food that he uses more as a way to medicate his depression than to fuel his body.
- A job, a way to be productive and earn a living again so that he can afford to take care of himself and others.
In Joseph’s free time:
- Typically he lives in the past.
- He replays all of the traumas of losing his family, career, marriage, all of his failures.
- He attempts to make himself feel better with Ben & Jerry’s, especially Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch and other processed concoctions from Oreos to Pepperidge Farm Chocolate Chip cookies.
- He then gets more depressed because he got more fat.
- He then spends even more time reading how to lose the weight that he just put on with another meaningless and unnecessary binge.
His Next Holiday will be:
- His next big nightmare. Holidays are the worst times, the moments when he can break down crying when he watches other families together. Just about any holiday is a killer, he has not heard from his kids for any holiday, he spends thanksgiving alone, he spends the 4th of july alone and the worst is father’s day, a day that no longer belongs to him. He spends all of father's day hoping that one of his children might reach out and remember him, all the way till midnight, but then sighs, and groans his way back to bed, sometimes with a klonopin to take the edge off so he does not think about jumping out of his window to relieve his mental pain.
- His biggest regret. That is a tough one. Letting himself get out of shape, failing in his marriage, as a father, even getting married in the first place because the pain of estrangement and being treated like as if he was nothing by the courts could not ever be worth getting married and risking such a future that he would only wish on a murderer or rapist. Just about his whole life he regrets because he sees no success, only failure.
He is secretly proud of:
Three words that Joseph’s friends would use to describe him:
- Talented but too depressed to use his talents.
- Wasting his life because he really has more good points that he never sees.
Generally, other men in the world like ‘Joseph', are most likely over 50 or at least 40. They lived long enough to marry, have children, build a career and experience both divorce and estrangement.
My hope is to encourage and help the other ‘Josephs' in the world to not give up, to focus on themselves, to rebuild their life and fight the silent epidemic of depression in men.