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  • Have You Got Cold Feet?

    For those of you who are enjoying Cold Feet on ITV currently, you will have seen how men silently fall into depression, the effects that depression can have on a family and how it can permeate through to every task or action with a man's life.

    Those that haven't seen Cold Feet - there is one particular story line thread which revolves around a character who is suffering from depression and follows his journey until a friend recognises the symptoms.

    Pete (the character) plays a good part, showing how men, in particular, operate in their daily life, as usual, while under immense pressure until a situation is released that acts as the trigger for depression.  In the series, Pete imagines that he has committed suicide however this is simply an imagination - but for some, the act of suicide is a real option for them!

    The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics report that men represent the highest suicide numbers at 16.8 per 100,000 and that men aged 45 - 59 represent the highest risk - a number that is, in my opinion, far too high. For reference, in women the suicide rate was 5.2 per 100,000 - still an equally shocking figure!

    When coaching men that suffer from depression, they are almost usually, completely and utterly lost - they usually have many many negative thoughts per day across a range of areas in their life and I can say without hesitation that every client I have coached suffering with depression has contemplated taking their own lives.

    For some men, it's the utter helplessness they feel with the complete inability to communicate their emotional distress which often increases the frustration and anxiety experienced.

    Some triggers of depression include:

    Overwhelming stress at work, school, or home

    Marital or relationship problems

    Not reaching important goals

    Losing or changing a job; embarking on military service

    Constant money problems

    Health problems such as chronic illness, injury, disability

    Recently quitting smoking

    Death of a loved one

    Family responsibilities such as caring for children, spouse, or aging parents

    Retirement; loss of independence

    Because every man is individual, he may suffer from the above or indeed a different trigger into depression but in my experience of working closely with men - it is usually a compound effect that puts extra-ordinary stress on a man which is the start of a negative cycle of thought patterns which can quickly escalate into depression.

    Am I Depressed?

    Men report to me that they sometimes know when something isn't right with them - but often don't realise its depression. It is usually somebody else that recognises depression in the person and most likely due to a change in behaviour. Just some examples of the types of behaviour that may indicate you could be suffering from depression include:

    you feel hopeless and helpless

    you’'ve lost interest in friends, activities, and things you used to enjoy

    you're much more irritable, short-tempered, or aggressive than usual

    you're consuming more alcohol, engaging in reckless behaviour, or using TV, sports, and sex to self-medicate

    you feel restless and agitated

    your sleep and appetite has changed

    you can't concentrate or your productivity at work has declined

    you can't control your negative thoughts

     

    What Can A ManCoach Do For Me?

    When dealing with clients with depression, an approach that works well uses very simple techniques to help the client document then reflect with me on their emotional, physical, mental and stress levels.

    Many clients have noted that this simple technique increases their clarity of themselves, their thought patterns and gives them the opportunity to spot patterns of depressive thoughts and behaviours.

    We also use tools to challenge negative thinking - this is powerful in supporting the client to understand that in actuality, the negative thoughts are usually, not exclusively, just that - thoughts which we can learn to challenge.

    I advocate exercise and relaxation methods to assist in balancing mindfulness with the ability to increase physical activity - thus releasing all the good hormones!

    The longer term outcome is to certainly reduce any anti-depressant medication you may be taking while increasing your overall state of mind.

    If you are suffering from depression or know someone that you suspect is suffering from depression, please contact me for a FREE chat.

    ManCoaching isn’t a silver bullet - you need to WORK with me through a programme to achieve a better outcome for yourself, but I can tell you that I visibly see men that work hard ON themselves and they look physically different in both stature and mental state.

    I'd like to thank Hayley Ramm for suggesting that I write this article. Hayley operates a coaching practice for young children which promotes confidence and resilience. Her website can be found at www.high5ers.co.uk