There are two words that every man or boy has heard as some point in his life: “Man up.” These words are typically said during times of distress, when issues are difficult to deal with and morale is low.
The phrase “man up” or “be a man” just means to move on from something painful that happened, face a difficult decision head on, or avoid showing emotion during a time or distress or when physically in pain. While the meaning behind the phrase can be good advice – we should face our problems and learn to deal with them, the connotation associated with “man up” is harmful because it can be callous.
Our society has perpetuated this idea that men need to be the strong ones, pushing aside raw feelings and emotions in order to maintain his masculinity. While it’s true, there are many things we need to find a way to deal with and figure out how to proceed, for men with depression, who already feel an overwhelming sense of inadequacy, this mindset to man up is entirely harmful.
Depression can happen to any gender, any age, and at any time, and it should always be taken seriously regardless of who it affects. Some of the symptoms of depression include:
- Changes to appetite
- Fluctuation of weight
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Trouble with sleeping: sleeping too long, not sleeping enough
- Constant feelings of loneliness, emptiness, sadness
It’s important to realize that everyone who has depression experiences it different ways, and they may only experience one symptom or multiple symptoms. There are many treatment options for those struggling with depression, but arguably the worst thing a person struggling with depression can do is to ignore these feelings and “man up.”
Whether their depression is caused by a traumatic life event or chemical imbalance, it must be addressed and not disregarded. Untreated depression can lead to a worsening of symptoms, damage to existing relationships, and even suicide.
Saying man up to a man who is struggling with depression can make him feel even worse because he’s not feeling like he’s in control.