'I don't have to pretend anymore'
I was diagnosed with depression ten years ago – but I had been struggling with it since childhood.
I felt there was something inadequate about me – that everyone else was able to cope and it was just me who wasn’t able to live his life in the right way. The shame this brought meant I found it hard to talk about how I was feeling to those closest to me, let alone act.
Eventually I saw a GP who understood I was going through depression. Prescribed antidepressants, I began to feel more able to cope with the everyday strains, and learn the difference between ‘feeling low’ and the more serious chronic depression in my life.
I’ve found huge support from writing about depression – from other people who are depressed and because I don’t have to pretend anymore.
Sometimes if you admit you’re vulnerable it can be the strongest thing you can do.
- Steve Baxter is one of the authors of the Men's Health Forum's Beat Stress, Feel Better
|This article reflects the experience of the individual. It is not health information from the Men's Health Forum under the terms of the NHS England Information Standard.
It’s tough for men to ask for help but if you don’t ask when you need it, things generally only get worse. So we’re asking.
In the UK, one man in five dies before the age of 65. If we had health policies and services that better reflected the needs of the whole population, it might not be like that. But it is. Policies and services and indeed men have been like this for a long time and they don’t change overnight just because we want them to.
It’s true that the UK’s men don’t have it bad compared to some other groups. We’re not asking you to ‘feel sorry’ for men or put them first. We’re talking here about something more complicated, something that falls outside the traditional charity fund-raising model of ‘doing something for those less fortunate than ourselves’. That model raises money but it seldom changes much. We’re talking about changing the way we look at the world. There is nothing inevitable about premature male death. Services accessible to all, a population better informed. These would benefit everyone - rich and poor, young and old, male and female - and that’s what we’re campaigning for.
We’re not asking you to look at images of pity, we’re just asking you to look around at the society you live in, at the men you know and at the families with sons, fathers and grandads missing.
Here’s our fund-raising page - please chip in if you can.