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Depression and Men
According to a Newsweek, February 26, 2007 article, six million American men would be diagnosed with depression that year; and this is just the tip of the iceberg, because millions more suffer in silence.

American psychologists have been slow to recognize how men’s emotions affect their behaviors, perhaps this is because long ago their predecessor’s decided that having a uterus was the main risk factor in depression and other forms of mental illness. Depression was and has continued to be viewed as a female problem as a result of fluctuating hormones and overly emotional natures.

Some symptoms of depression can be so severe (such as drug, sex or gambling addictions or alcoholism) that they are frequently misdiagnosed and mistaken for the symptom (i.e., the addiction issue) rather than the true cause which caused the depression in the first place. It is not uncommon for a person to be labeled an alcoholic or drug addict when, in fact, the true diagnosis should have been depression.

Depression has been linked to heart disease and attacks, strokes and high blood pressure all of which affect men at a much higher rate and an earlier age than women (although women are quickly catching up). During the past 50 years, American men of all ages have killed themselves at a rate that is at least 4 times more common than women and this doesn’t even take into account all the so-called “accidents” that were in fact suicides. And yet, with all these statistics facing us, men are still frequently told and definitely still believe that they must be the strong ones, the macho male figure and that depression is for the weak, certainly not for a real man.

What a barbaric concept!

Depression can manifest in many different forms. One person may find it difficult to experience pleasure while another may be preoccupied with death. Physician and patients alike search through and try various medications and treatments looking for help. The anti-depressant that works for one person may do nothing more than cause nausea in another, or even make the depression worse.

As Dr. Miller has stated in his Newsweek Special Issue article, “No matter how sophisticated the tools and treatments become, good mental-health care is also about helping people cultivate a sense of well-being…”

If you can imagine or visualize your life as one long journey that you travel, then you can also visualize that the road you travel on from point A (birth) to point B (death) is not always straight and can be filled with dips and potholes. Sometimes, there are mountains or lakes that we must or want to circumnavigate. There are side roads and short side trips that we might want to take. Sometimes, there are detours that we must deal with. We must adapt to the demands of our environment. During the course of this journey and these detours, we sometimes find that we encounter “trigger points”. These “trigger points” are wounds that have not healed with time. Sometimes they are wounds that we carry around with us almost like a protective shield, but they are not protective nor are they a shield and they can cause you to experience anger, hurt, fear, guilt and depression.

When this occurs, subconsciously we might withdraw into ourselves in interpersonal relationships, or we might become oversensitive and react in a hurt manner without apparent reason, sometimes we become particularly hurtful, without actually wanting or meaning to. When this occurs, you have been given the opportunity, the ability and capability to bring the painful experiences (or trigger points) into the light. With the aid of hypnosis, you can look at these experiences under the soothing blanket of hypnosis and in this way you can begin much more quickly, the healing process.

The first step in this healing process is releasing and forgiving. Forgiveness is necessary to free your spirit. Releasing is the first step in the process of forgiveness and moving forward. When you release the hurt, bitterness, resentment, fear or anger that you are experiencing, you take back control of your own life. You feed your spirit and you increase your capacity for joy, love and happiness beyond measure.

This is not easy. As Dr. Edward M. Hallowell, a Harvard psychiatrist and author of “Dare to Forgive” states, “Forgiveness… has to be cultivated; it goes against a natural human tendency to seek revenge.” It is for this reason that he recommends getting help to accomplish this.

Trying to accomplish this by yourself, without help, using your conscious mind only can be a slow, difficult and painful process; however, by using the relaxation techniques utilized in hypnosis and the power of your subconscious, it is possible to increase the effectiveness of the releasing process. Working from the inside out, releasing negative thoughts that have been harmful and freeing the spirit so that the healing process and take place may be the most important first step to regaining mental-health. “Repeat a positive statement often enough and it will become ingrained in your subconscious” says Adrian Calabrese, Ph.D., Woman’s World, October 18, 2005. Hypnosis with it relaxation and repetitive nature is uniquely able to help you work through this process of releasing and resolving old issues, helping you regain strong mental-health, freeing your spirit and taking back control of your life and cultivating a true sense of well-being.

Remember, anytime is the right time to take back control of your mind and body, to demand and expect a New Beginning.

Linda Simmon, C.Ht.

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