Why has depression been seen as a “woman’s disease”? Depression is not unwom-anly, but many feel it as unmanly—setting up what Real calls, “compound depression.” Men, he says, feel ashamed of feeling ashamed, depressed about being depressed,” causing them to hide it, and causing those around them—even medical profession-als—to shy away from confronting the condition. Even more important, however, is the fact that many men express depression differently than women. Real will speak of “covert depression” which lies at the core of many of men’s typical “bad behaviors.” like drinking, workaholism, withdrawal, and anger. What sets up the unique traits of depression in men is the particular wounds we as a society inflict on our boys. Real states, “Most depressed women are dealing with issues of disempowerment. And the healing work lies in helping her find her voice. Depressed men struggle with issues of disconnection. I have yet to treat a depressed man who wasn’t cut off—from his feel-ings, his wants and needs, and from others. The healing work is re-connection. The ultimate cure for male depression is intimacy.”
*Sessions may be edited for content and to preserve confidentiality*
Terry Real, LICSW, is a nationally recognized family therapist, author, and teacher. He is particularly known for his groundbreaking work on men and male psychology as well as his work on gender and couples; he has been in private practice for over twenty-five years. Terry has appeared often as the relationship expert for Good Morning America and ABC News. His work has been featured in numerous academic articles as well as media venues such as Oprah, 20/20, The Today Show, CNN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Psychology Today and many others.