Mike King discusses his depression

I first met Mike King when he invited me as a guest on the Nutter’s Club…that night he threw me a curve ball…he asked me to fill in for him for 4 weeks as host.

I was thrown in the deep end, but it was an opportunity that I really appreciated. I still appreciate the trust he passed to me to take over his show for a few weeks when we had only really just met

It is no secret that Mike suffers depression…and we are lucky that he shares his trials and tribulations in defeating this evil affliction.

Mike covers many of the same things that I deal with on a day to day basis.

Also have a listen to him talk to Duncan Garner about this post from Facebook.

I have a confession to make, for the last few months I have been struggling with depression. At first I thought I was just having a few bad days and it would pass, but as the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months things got worse. But here’s the thing, instead of recognising I had a problem, I thought everybody else was the problem. That’s the nature of depression. When you’re in it, it overwhelms you. Little by little it takes over, it dominates and then finally it suffocates you. I became highly sensitive and very negative. Other people’s looks and comments would be misinterpreted which led to frustration and anger, followed by regret, remorse and inevitably back to anger. A vicious cycle that kept repeating itself day in day out. And still I didn’t think I had a problem, “surely it was everyone else’s fault, after all I’m the one who’s getting hurt” was my reasoning. To cope I threw myself into my mahi, and when I wasn’t working I was painting, anything to keep myself busy, anything to stop that annoying voice in my head telling me I was useless.

The turning point came 4 weeks ago in Dunedin while I was filming a tv show with my good friend Dale Husband. Dale is one of those beautiful souls who sees the good in everything and everyone and likes nothing more than brightening people’s days with a kind word. Anyway we were standing in the Octagon getting ready for another full on day of filming when Dale started charming a group of locals and making them laugh. The first thought that popped in my head when I heard them was “oh for f•*k sake will you shut up! No one can be that happy all the time, surely?”
And that’s when the penny dropped. Within a millisecond of that thought popping in my head I said out loud to myself “you’ve got a problem and you need to get it sorted!”.

This was followed by the weirdest feeling in the world. On the one hand the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders as I took ownership of my situation. On the other hand I was overcome with emotion and guilt when I realised what a nightmare I must have put my loved ones through while fighting my demons. I remember seeing the apprehension in Jo’s eyes when I got back to the motel that night obviously wondering which Mike would be walking in the door and the relief when I asked her to make an appointment for me with the doctor “because I think I’ve got my depression back”. That’s when she hugged me and said “that’s a really good idea babe” but I knew in her head she was saying “thank f•*k for that” and rightly so.

When depression comes roaring back it really knocks you. Being able to recognise the symptoms and the triggers is key, but the depression suppresses your ability to recognise it.

I have now been back on the meds for 3 weeks and while things are not yet back to normal I can definitely feel a change not only in my mood but in the mood of my loved ones. I have often said on the Nutters Club that “there is only one thing worse than having depression and that’s living with someone who has depression’ and this latest experience has really brought that home. So I would like to thank my beautiful partner Jo for standing by and not only supporting me but shielding me from the world while I try to get better. To my family and close friends sorry for being a pain, I didn’t mean to be, I just got bitten by the black dog but I’m coming right now.

The worst aspect of depression is exactly what Mike says there…depression has caused immense hardship for loved ones…that is what hurts the most, the hurt you have delivered to them because of depression. Luckily they are also very forgiving.

Finally I am not posting this looking for sympathy or to be a hero. I’m posting it in the hope that other men who maybe going through the same thing will gain strength from this and get the help they need.
Depression is a bitch of an illness in as much as you don’t see it coming and, often, you don’t know you’ve got it until its too late. So if you recognise anything in my story or anything below do yourself and your family a massive favour and head to your doctor for help. You won’t regret it. Love, light and happiness to you all.

Depression isn’t about being sad…for me it is intense anger…snapping at the drop of a hat…constant fight mode, the sore shoulders, chest and arms from being constantly alert and ready to fight. It is a switch in your brain that you need to learn to turn off.

Depression in Men
Why It’s Hard to Recognize and What helps.

As men, we often believe we have to be strong and in control of our emotions at all times. When we feel hopeless, helpless, or overwhelmed by despair we tend to deny it or cover it up by drinking too much, behaving recklessly, or exploding with anger. But depression in men is a common condition. The first step to recovery is to understand there’s no reason to feel ashamed. Then you can face the challenge head on and start working to feel better.

In my experience those hit hardest by depression are those who seem the toughest. We think we have failed and the feelings of failure are profound.

Understanding depression in men
Depression is not a sign of emotional weakness or failing of masculinity. It is a treatable health condition that affects millions of men of all ages and backgrounds, as well as those who care about them—spouses, partners, friends, and family. It can also lead to heart disease and other serious medical problems. Of course, it’s normal for anyone to feel down from time to time—dips in mood are an ordinary reaction to losses, setbacks, and disappointments in life. However, if intense feelings of despair and hopelessness take hold of you, and interfere with work, family, and your ability to enjoy life, you may be suffering from depression.

Unfortunately, depression in men can often be overlooked as many of us find it difficult to talk about our feelings. Instead, we tend to focus on the physical symptoms that often accompany depression, such as back pain, headaches, difficulty sleeping, or sexual problems. This can result in the underlying depression going untreated, which can have serious consequences. In fact, men suffering from depression are four times more likely to commit suicide than women. It’s important for any man to seek help with depression before feelings of despair become feelings of suicide. You need to talk honestly with a friend, loved one, or doctor about what’s going on in your mind as well as your body. Once correctly diagnosed, there is plenty you can do to successfully treat and manage depression.

Signs and symptoms of depression in men

Men can experience depression in different ways to women. You may develop the standard symptoms of depression and become sad and withdrawn, losing interest in friends and activities you used to enjoy. Or you may become irritable and aggressive, compulsively working, drinking more than normal, and engaging in high risk activities.

Unfortunately, men are far less adept at recognizing their symptoms than women. A man is more likely to deny his feelings, hide them from himself and others, or try to mask them with other behaviors. The three most common signs of depression in men are:

Physical pain. Sometimes depression in men shows up as physical symptoms—such as backache, frequent headaches, sleep problems, sexual dysfunction, or digestive disorders—that don’t respond to normal treatment.

Anger. This could range from irritability, sensitivity to criticism, or a loss of your sense of humor to road rage, a short temper, or even violence. Some men become abusive, controlling, verbally or physically abusive to wives, children, or other loved ones.

Reckless behavior. A man suffering from depression may start exhibiting escapist or risky behavior. This could mean pursuing dangerous sports, driving recklessly, or engaging in unsafe sex. You might drink too much, abuse drugs, or gamble compulsively.

I understand and have felt most of the signs and symptoms of depression listed above.

Differences between male and female depression

Women tend to:

Blame themselves

Feel sad, apathetic, and worthless

Feel anxious and scared

Avoid conflicts at all costs

Feel slowed down and nervous

Have trouble setting boundaries

Find it easy to talk about self-doubt and despair

Use food, friends, and “love” to self-medicate

Men tend to:

Blame others

Feel angry, irritable, and ego inflated

Feel suspicious and guarded

Create conflicts

Feel restless and agitated

Need to feel in control at all costs

Find it “weak” to admit self-doubt or despair

Use alcohol, TV, sports, and sex to self-medicate

Triggers for depression in men

There’s no single cause of depression in men. Biological, psychological, and social factors all play a part, as do lifestyle choices, relationships, and coping skills. Stressful life events or anything that makes you feel useless, helpless, alone, profoundly sad, or overwhelmed by stress can also trigger depression in men. These could 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

IF ANY OF THIS RINGS A BELL PLEASE SEE YOUR DOCTOR.

Tick those triggers off yourself…there are ten…I hit seven of them.

If this resonates and you are thinking to yourself…shit I might have depression then please go see a medical specialist. When I went to see my doctor I was absolutely shocked to discover my issues were because of depression.

 

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