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Men, too, get depressed |

Health And Family

Men, too, get depressed

SAVOIR FAIRE - Mayenne Carmona -

Recently, a male friend confided to me that he was down in the dumps emotionally.  To put it bluntly, he was in deep depression.   I looked at him from head to toe and noticed that he was at least 30 lbs. overweight, was shabbily dressed, and had a head full of grey hair. He did not look like that a year ago, the last time I saw him.  On the surface, this man has no reason to be depressed.  He belongs to a wealthy upper crust family, has all the toys for big boys (I saw him pulling up the driveway of Polo Club in the latest Jaguar), lives in a plush apartment building, and has everything going for him, or so I thought.

Trying to do my charitable act for the day, I spent an hour talking to him, realizing afterwards that this man’s depression was due to the fact that he was self-absorbed. Having lived a life of luxury, he did not have to struggle to make a living. Except for wine, women, and song, he had no interest in other worthwhile activities.  He did not engage in sports or exercise, he was not involved in any charitable organization as he thinks the poor are poor because they are lazy. Social action and civic consciousness have no place in his selfish mind. To top it all, all his girlfriends had left him, and his grownup children from a past marriage have no interest in spending time with him.  All these factors are enough to drive a man into the deep end, even if it is his fault that he is in this rut.  I tried to make him realize that his depression is of his own making, but I guess one can’t teach “owld dawgs” new tricks. I gave him names of counselors that he could consult to help him cope with his depression. I also warned him to take his depression seriously and seek treatment before it was too late. He admitted that he sometimes had suicidal thoughts, but the consequences of hell and eternal damnation prevented him from killing himself.

I received a call from him the other day and he thanked me for giving him a doctor who has put him on medication, which has improved his depressed mood. He also told me he is starting to lose weight and is now going to the gym per my advice. He also asked me for my favorite charity and offered to give a donation. I am happy that my one hour with him is showing some positive results.

We always thought of depression as a female illness which hits women especially when they are undergoing menopause. Some women sail through menopause with no emotional changes but for others, there are psychological issues and physical changes which result in mood swings, irritability, tearfulness, and depression.  But there is more to depression than menopause. Some women have experienced depression and mood swings since they were teenagers and are taking medication.  In the past, people with this condition were called “manic depressive,” but in today’s language, they are called “bipolar.”  

People who are depressed should seek help. There are doctors , counselors, and specialists for mental health. A variety of treatments, including medications and psychotherapies (talking to therapists), have proven effective for depressive disorders.  

Jeannie Goulbourn has put up the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation in honor of her daughter Natasha and this foundation is focused on treating people battling depression and other mental issues. 

On Monday, May 23, the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation has a full day of lectures by noted specialists. The venue is San Antonio Parish Center. Registration is at 8 a.m. The morning session from 8:30 a.m. to12 noon will tackle “Depression and its consequences.” Dr. Lourdes “Honey” Carandang  will talk on “Family support for depression.” Dr. Natalie Rasgon of Stanford University Hospital will talk on “Can depression kill?” The afternoon session, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., is about “Alternative modalities for depression.” This includes:  “Nutrition for depression,” “Acupuncture for depression, stress, and sleeping problems,” and “Physical manipulation for mental and physical balance.” 

For more information, call Maryjoy/Joan at 843-8831/32; 843-8835/38.

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