Man with white cap in city street

"So why treat depression? Because depression sucks and that is stating things lightly."

Although there are common and shared experiences in people managing depression, we each have our own story and path that led us to the place where we finally put up our hand to say “I need some help.”  

It is often said treating depression can make you feel like yourself again.  To some extent that is partially true, but what if your depression has been untreated for years and even decades?  What if your depression has been a slow simmer, do you even remember what feeling like yourself is actually supposed to feel like?  

I let my depression/mental health simmer since my teenage years, so I am not truly sure what “me” is supposed to feel like. It took my depression reaching a boiling point and then completely boiling over before I sought help.  If my therapist had asked me in our first session to come up with a list of reasons for why I was seeking treatment I wouldn’t know what to have said, other than “please help”. These reasons are the result of my therapy.  

  • If you are reading this as a person that is managing your depression:
    • You may be with me on some of these reasons and undoubtedly will have your own.
  • If you think you are dealing with depression and not receiving treatment:
    • I hope the following reasons can be the catalyst you need to finally seek treatment because getting to a better place is so worth it and boiling over is not pretty for anyone! 

Here are my 10 reasons for getting depression treated:

  1. Better adjusting to difficulties in whatever shape or form they come at you.
    • Life throws things your direction all the time and it can get frigging overwhelming – getting treatment gives you the tools to cope, adjust and possibly even solve the problems.
  2. Helps a person identify those black holes, rabbit holes, worm holes or whatever you want to call them, and how to recognize them when they start and hopefully stop them.
    • If those tunnels happen, treatment can shorten the length of time you spend in them, stop you from going deeper and deeper and deeper, and teach you how to lessen their shitty impact.
  3. Might just improve your relationships.
    • Recognizing the toxic and finding the good and how to grow the good.
  4. Treatment may help you regain a sense of satisfaction with life in general.  
    • Personally, I am trying to figure this one out and let’s just say working on it.
  5. The two ugly emotions of helplessness and anger should ease up.  
    • This was pretty major for me, and damn those two emotions can just gnaw away at you when you are depressed.  They are not gone, but way more manageable and recognizable.
  6. Thoughts of suicide eased up.
    • They still creep in, but not nearly with the same impact or darkness.
  7. If drugs and alcohol are part of your escape plan from life, treatment can help you come up with a better plan where drugs and alcohol are not the first door you open to escape.
  8. Physical health should improve.
    • For me, my psoriasis has virtually disappeared, teeth grinding is far less, my sleep is better, and I just feel better physically.  Depression has such a big impact on your physical health – getting treatment is a great first step to improving your physical health.
  9. Improving self-esteem and self-respect.
  10. Libido and sex improved.
    • For me these have improved and let’s just say they are far more impacted by COVID now than my mental health.

Treating my depression through therapy helped me have a better understanding of myself.  Not sure returning to my old self is even a possibility, but I can build a different and more resilient self – day by day, week by week, month by month – “a self version 2” is taking place.

There is a mental health group in Australia, and they describe depression as big black dog that follows you everywhere, which is visual metaphor that helps me a great deal – it gives me the power to visually frame “depression.”  Sometimes that big black dog is sleeping in the corner minding its own business and other times it can feel like the dog is on my back, pinning me to the ground, growling and snarling in my ears.  

My big black dog now spends more time sleeping and minding its own business – and that, in itself, is why treating your depression is so important – nobody needs the big black dog biting them in the proverbial ass day in and day out.  

Hindsight is always 20/20 and sure I should have tackled my mental health 25 years ago, but I didn’t.  Now I know that seeking treatment for my depression/mental health was such an important moment and milestone in my life.  

The reasons I listed for treating depression are what I experienced and my reasons, but they are just the tip of the proverbial “reasons” iceberg. 

So why treat depression? It would be fantastic to get peoples feedback on this topic.  Feel free to comment on our social media and share your voice with other men. 

– Joe Allan, Guest writer

Interested in sharing your story?

We have an ongoing series featuring depression recovery stories from men (including over 80 personal stories). 

Here is an example, with Oliver’s Story. The rest are on our You Are Not Alone page, under “Real Story Blogs”

For more information, let us know if you are interested and a bit about you at info@headsupguys.org

Approved by the HeadsUpGuys Team - Combining lived experience, clinical practice, and research expertise. Medically reviewed by Dr. John Ogrodniczuk.
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