Understanding Depression: A Legitimate Illness

What is depression? Depression affects both men and women, albeit with distinct challenges. Women are diagnosed more frequently than men, and imbalances are thought to contribute.


Garry Ebrey, Diploma Counselling.Accredited Counsellor.

1/9/20242 min read

a person drowns underwater
a person drowns underwater

Taking Care of yourself.


What is depression?

Depression affects both men and women, albeit with distinct challenges. Women are diagnosed more frequently than men, and imbalances are thought to contribute. Depression profoundly impacts life aspects like relationships and employment, yet some misconceptions persist, portraying it as a weakness rather than a legitimate illness.

Depression extends beyond occasional unhappiness, often persisting for weeks or months. In the UK, it ranks among the most prevalent mental health issues, emphasizing its severity and the need for proper care. Friends and family play a crucial role in supporting individuals grappling with depression, but workplace challenges may arise due to attendance and performance issues.

Depression can affect anyone, and its causes are multifaceted. Men may underreport or experience different symptoms, leading to potential underdiagnosis. Left untreated, depression can escalate. When they are ill, even with depression, men are much less likely than women to access primary healthcare services.

Various factors can contribute to depression, such as stressful events, chronic illness, family history, loneliness, social isolation, substance abuse, childhood trauma, hormonal imbalances, and other illnesses.

Symptoms vary in intensity, classified as mild, moderate, or severe. They encompass physical, psychological, and social aspects, impacting daily life and interpersonal relationships.

Men may exhibit symptoms like irritability, sudden anger, aggression, increased loss of control, and greater risk-taking. Unfortunately, male depression is often misdiagnosed due to factors like symptom recognition, downplaying signs, and reluctance to discuss feelings.

Antidepressants can aid in easing the symptoms of depression and associated anxiety. Talk to your GP about any worries you may have about taking them.

Even the most everyday or routine tasks, like getting out of bed in the morning or reading the mail, might be difficult when you're depressed. Nevertheless, when discussed with your GP, and following their advice, the following activities occasionally work.

  • Exercise and keeping active. There is evidence that physical activity, even if it is just a short walk.

  • Avoiding alcohol and drugs.

  • Avoiding stress (including work-related stress).

Continuing to engage in enjoyable activities. Depression takes away someone's enjoyment of things they used to get pleasure from. However, giving up on enjoyable activities may worsen depression. Make an effort to schedule one enjoyable activity for each day.

None of these are miracle cures - overcoming depression takes time with the support of your GP, Counsellor, friends, and family can support you along the way.

Both men and women frequently provide care for those who are depressed. It may be challenging for those who find themselves in this circumstance to take care of their own physical and mental well-being. You should always consult your GP to make sure you remain healthy.

In conclusion, understanding the nuanced experiences of men and women with depression is vital. Dispelling myths, seeking timely intervention, and fostering a supportive environment contribute to effective depression management.

Garry Ebrey

Diploma Counselling

Accredited Counsellor

This was published in the East Peckham Magazine. January 2024