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Published by Harmonia Norah, 2017-08-30 07:33:07

tatler man depression



hours or taking on Lif e s tyle“There might be an increase in alcoho
aid to talk in fear
in-take,” Hill continues. “A loss of appetit
typical signs of depression.”

More worryingly, Jack describes the im


When it comes to depression, Ireland has recently
seen something of a revolution in terms of awareness

and understanding, writes Domhnall O’Donoghue.
However, to borrow a phrase coined by a one-time

political dynasty: a lot done, more to do



attling low spirits is “Depression can show up in relationships, or with
something that affects others,” explains Patrick Hill, a Cognitive Behavioural
us all from time to time. Therapist at St Patrick’s Hospital, Ireland’s largest
independent, not-for-profit mental health service.
Whether we’re the recipient of sad news or we’ve found
ourselves slap-bang in the middle of ‘one of those days’, “With specific reference to men, those who try to
whatever the reason, being down in the dumps is a familiar suppress signs of depression can become extremely
experience for most. irritable and take it out on wives, partners and children, and
also in the place of employment.”
Depression, on the other hand, is a state that is more
continuous, one that affects a person’s everyday thinking, THE WHY AND WHAT FOR
energy, feelings and behaviour. Seemingly straightforward
tasks like concentrating, eating or even getting out of bed in Depression can be the result of a whole host of factors. It
the morning can prove challenging to those wrestling with can reveal itself following a traumatic life event such as
the condition. bereavement. Harrowing childhood experiences, including
abuse or absent parents, can also be the genesis of mental
Comedian, Oscar-winning actor and life-long depression health difficulties, as was the case for Jack.
sufferer Robin Williams’ suicide in his Californian home
stunned the world in 2013. However, the Mork & Mindy star Additionally, a person’s relationship status can often
was not alone in his war against this life-altering condition. have a sizeable influence on their wellbeing, with statistics
Be it fellow Hollywood glitterati such as John Hamm and showing that separated and divorced men are particularly
Owen Wilson or illustrious sporting champions that include held to ransom by depression.
Frank Bruno and Stan Collymore, nobody – even those who
appear to have it all – is immune from depression. What’s more, Hill also notes a rise in the condition
amongst the Irish male workforce post-recession – people
According to Aware, the national charity that provides who have seen the goalposts change dramatically over the
support, education and information around the condition, past number of years and who are now finding themselves
depression is much more common than we might imagine having to slug it out simply to keep afloat.
and affects a considerable 450,000 people in Ireland – or
one in ten – at any given time. Anyone of us, irrespective “Someone may have lost their job or may be in financial
of our age, gender, background or bank balance, can be difficulties. Their work environment may not be a positive
touched by it at some stage in our lives.

Jack McManus, a 37-year-old civil servant from Louth
who was diagnosed with depression over ten years ago, felt
that, on a daily basis, he was being forced to navigate his
way through “a heavy fog that refused to clear”.

He explains: “It was actually my girlfriend – now she’s
my wife – who flagged it and brought it to my attention. I
suppose she was getting fed up with me moping about all
the time.”


450,000 PEOPLE IN



place – they could be overworked, doing extra hours or taking on “There might be an increase in alcohol consumption, smoking or drug
too much,” Hill explains. “They could be too afraid to talk in fear in-take,” Hill continues. “A loss of appetite or, indeed, overeating are all
that it may jeopardise their position there. All of this drives them typical signs of depression.”
into isolation.”
More worryingly, Jack describes the immeasurable amount of hours he
RUNS IN THE BLOOD spent “musing over death”. The dad-of-three adds: “At times, I often
entertained suicidal thoughts. Thankfully, I never acted on them.”
However, in many other instances, it’s not just the aforementioned
environmental factors that can lead to depression; people may have HELP IS AT HAND
an inherent tendency towards it as well.
Talking to your doctor is the foremost route to accessing the range of
A British research team recently isolated a gene that appears to mental healthcare services that are available. Once diagnosed, there are a
be prevalent in multiple family members with depression, leading number of treatment options available for depression and all its variants –
scientists to believe that as much as 40% of those with the such as psychotic depression, a condition where delusions, hallucinations
condition can trace it to a genetic link – compared to 60% of those or false beliefs are present, or bipolar disorder, which involves both
who attribute it to environmental factors. depressive and elated or manic periods. Sinéad O’Connor, Stephen Fry,
Jean-Claude Van Damme and Catherine Zeta-Jones are only a handful of
Furthermore, Healthline, the influential medical website, also popular personalities who have openly discussed their grapples with this
cites research that illustrates how those with parents or siblings who particular illness.
have depression are three times more likely to have the condition.
“Depression and other types of mood disorders are very treatable,”
WARNING SIGNS Hill reiterates. “There can be extremely positive results from the many
treatments that are available. Remember, you’re not alone – communicate
Aware explains that depression can manifest itself in many different and welcome support from friends and family.”
ways. Feeling sad, anxious or bored can all be symptomatic of the
condition, as can difficulties with energy or being susceptible to Treatments usually come under two main headings: medication and
non-traditional sleep patterns such as under-sleeping, over-sleeping talking therapies. For some, a combination of both might be the most
or frequently waking during the night. appropriate treatment plan. Therapies can take many forms, with a whole
host of options now available, from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to
Many people with depression often experience poor concentration holistic treatments to group workshops. Furthermore, there are many
as well as a loss of interest in hobbies, family or social life, while other complementary options available and worth exploring, including
feelings of guilt, a fear of failure or issues around self-esteem are meditation, yoga and acupuncture.
also commonplace.
“If you have depression, it’s of the utmost importance that you are
What’s more, Hill reports that amongst men, there may be a loss active in your approach to the way you deal with it,” emphasises Dr Claire
of libido or a withdrawal from intimacy, while physical symptoms Hayes, psychologist and Clinical Director at Aware. “It’s not enough to
like aches in the stomach, chest or back can often be present. think that medication alone will improve your quality of life. Look at your
diet, your fitness routine.

“Also, while you might feel like you want to withdraw or retreat While there are many factors attributed to this nationwide progress,
from society, you should really push yourself to be social – you
might not feel better as you leave your house, but you will after whether it’s the availability of information on the internet or a refusal to be
interacting with friends or doing something of interest.
the reluctant inheritors of the previous generations’ non-communicative
“Many people also find writing useful and it can have therapeutic
benefits,” Dr Hayes adds. approach to such topics, Dr Hayes also feels that a tip of the hat is due to

Encouragingly, both Hill and Dr Hayes point to Ireland now rivalling the numerous sporting stars who have bravely opened up about their own
some of the leading countries in the world in terms of the support
and expertise that are available to give to those with depression. trials with depression, which, in turn, has normalised mental health issues

“We would definitely be on a par with the major cities and countries for others.
when it comes to treating mental health conditions,” Hill notes.
“Part of the reason that people’s perception on depression has evolved
can be down to well-known Irish celebs and sporting stars such as Niall
It is important to recognise the enormous strides that have been
made in this country over the past number of decades in relation to Breslin and Conor Cusack, who have been very open and honest about
the subject of depression. While the age-old stereotype of Irish
men being able to talk a blue streak about any subject under the their experiences,” Dr Hayes points out. “As such, others now feel that it is
sun – expect anything of a personal nature – certainly has merit, in
recent times, there definitely appears to be a shift in our ability to nothing to be ashamed about.”
let the guard down and engage in conversations that may have
once been taboo or out-of-bounds. Hill also cites the influence the sporting world has had on men in terms

“In the past number of years, the dialogue has really moved of eliminating the stigma and diminishing the fear that once went hand and
forward – and that’s nationwide,” says Dr Hayes. “People now know
that they can improve their quality of life if they seek professional hand with depression.
help and take responsibility for their own well-being.”
“My local football club, for example, is promoting mental health awareness
Dr Hayes also illustrates that within Irish schools today there is
an extremely open and healthy discussion taking place around amongst the players and are working with professionals to achieve this,” he
issues of mental health, which is equipping thousands of young
people with a language to articulate how they feel, whether to their states. “There seems to be a feeling now that it’s OK to have depression,
peers or their parents or guardians. All of which only serves to
destigmatise the subject of depression in this country. and it’s something that can be discussed and addressed. It’s important to

“Students and pupils might return home with literature that has reiterate this message at all times: it’s a highly treatable condition.”
been distributed in schools, which often acts as a catalyst for
conversation,” Dr Hayes reports. Interestingly, in terms of gender, even though women are more likely to

suffer from depression than men, we are disproportionately

more inclined to die by suicide than females, as the sad

case of Robin Williams demonstrates.

“This is on account of the fact that females, by

nature, are better disposed to discussing personal WITHIN IRISH
issues such as how they feel, so they know that they SCHOOLS TODAY,
are not alone in their suffering,” Dr Hayes suggests. THERE IS AN
“I have seen first-hand how amazed men are AND HEALTHY
when they hear other men describe similar DISCUSSION
symptoms and realise for the first time that others TAKING PLACE
are experiencing the exact same struggles. There are AROUND ISSUES OF
phenomenal services out there – all you need to do MENTAL HEALTH
is take the first step.” ITM

HIGH PROFILE DEPRESSION SUFFERERS Below left to right : Stephen Fry, Brad Pitt, John Hamm, Halle Berry, J.K. Rowling, Stan Collymore

“If you know someone who’s depressed, “I see it as a great education, as one of the “I was sitting in my car, and I knew the gas “I have never been remotely ashamed of
please resolve never to ask them why. seasons or a semester: ‘This semester I was coming, when I had an image of my having been depressed. Never. What’s to
Depression isn’t a straightforward was majoring in depression.’ I was doing mother finding me. She sacrificed so much be ashamed of? I went through a really
response to a bad situation; depression the same thing every night and numbing for her children, and to end my life would rough time and I am quite proud that I got
just is, like the weather. myself to sleep — the same routine: be an incredibly selfish thing to do. out of that.”
Couldn’t wait to get home and hide out. But J.K. ROWLING, AUTHOR
“Try to understand the blackness, that feeling of unease was growing and one “It was all about a relationship. My
lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness night I just said, ‘This is a waste.’” sense of worth was so low. I had to re- “Mania starts off fun, not sleeping for
they’re going through. Be there for them BRAD PITT, ACTOR programme myself to see the good in me. days, keeping company with your brain,
when they come through the other side. Because someone didn’t love me didn’t which has become a wonderful computer,
It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s “I did do therapy and antidepressants for mean I was unlovable. I promised myself I showing 24 TV channels all about you. That
depressed, but it is one of the kindest, a brief period, which helped me. Which is would never be a coward again.” goes horribly wrong after a while.”
noblest, and best things you will ever do.” what therapy does: It gives you another HALLE BERRY, ACTOR CARRIE FISHER, ACTRESS AND AUTHOR
STEPHEN FRY, ACTOR, PRESENTER AND AUTHOR perspective when you are so lost in
your own spiral. It helps. And honestly? “I had developed manic depression... the “Once it hits, then cause and effect start
“I clung to unhappiness because it was a Antidepressants help! main symptom is the constant voice in the to kick in. I sleep 18 hours a day, so I don’t
known familiar state.” “You can change your brain chemistry head telling you to kill yourself” see sunlight over sometimes a period
HUGH LAURIE, ACTOR enough to think: ‘I want to get up in the SINÉAD O’CONNOR, MUSICIAN of a week (my worst ever bout, I spent a
morning; I don’t want to sleep until four in month in bed), which I’m sure a doctor then
“Depression is something that has always the afternoon. I want to get up and... go to “It’s like a kettle. If it’s a kettle, you turn would tell me makes the body shut down
figured in my life but now I’m dealing with work and...’ Reset the auto-meter, kick- the kettle off, you know what I mean? I even further. My personal world grows
it. I wish I’d done this years and years ago start the engine!” wish I could put a hole in my head and let smaller, I detach from friends and family
because it’s been really helpful.” JOHN HAMM, ACTOR the steam come out. The steam was getting – partly out of self preservation, partly
JACK DEE, COMEDIAN so high and the pressure was just getting a not wanting them to see the man bounding
little bit much for me.” around days ago, now looks visibly older,
FRANK BRUNO, BOXER weaker and pathetic.”

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