I Don't Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression

Paperback | March 2, 1998

byTerrence Real

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A revolutionary and hopeful look at depression as a silent epidemic in men that manifests as workaholism, alcoholism, rage, difficulty with intimacy, and abusive behavior by the cofounder of Harvard’s Gender Research Project.

Twenty years of experience treating men and their families has convinced psychotherapist Terrence Real that depression is a silent epidemic in men—that men hide their condition from family, friends, and themselves to avoid the stigma of depression’s “un-manliness.” Problems that we think of as typically male—difficulty with intimacy, workaholism, alcoholism, abusive behavior, and rage—are really attempts to escape depression. And these escape attempts only hurt the people men love and pass their condition on to their children.

This groundbreaking book is the “pathway out of darkness” that these men and their families seek. Real reveals how men can unearth their pain, heal themselves, restore relationships, and break the legacy of abuse. He mixes penetrating analysis with compelling tales of his patients and even his own experiences with depression as the son of a violent, depressed father and the father of two young sons.

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From Our Editors

A national bestseller, this groundbreaking examination of male depression was hailed by Robert Bly as a book that "moves on to new ground in language and in story . . . exhilarating in its honesty and its grief". "A hopeful and important book because it shows a way out of depression for men that carries with its a potential for ending ...

From the Publisher

A revolutionary and hopeful look at depression as a silent epidemic in men that manifests as workaholism, alcoholism, rage, difficulty with intimacy, and abusive behavior by the cofounder of Harvard’s Gender Research Project.Twenty years of experience treating men and their families has convinced psychotherapist Terrence Real that depr...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 8.44 × 5.5 × 1 inPublished:March 2, 1998Publisher:ScribnerLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0684835398

ISBN - 13:9780684835396

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From Chapter One: Men's Hidden Depression When I stand beside troubled fathers and sons I am often flooded with a sense of recognition, All men are sons and, whether they know it or not, most sons are loyal. To me, my father presented a confusing jumble of brutality and pathos. As a boy, I drank into my character a dark, jagged, emptiness that haunted me for close to thirty years. As other fathers have done to their sons, my father-through the look in his eyes, the tone of his voice, the quality Of his touch-passed the depression he did not know he had on to me, just as surely as his father had passed it on to him -- a chain of pain, linking parent to child across generations, a toxic legacy. In hindsight, it is clear to me that, among other reasons, I became a therapist so I could cultivate the skills I needed to heal my own father -- to heal him at least sufficiently to get him to talk to me. I needed to know about his life to help understand his brutality and lay my hatred of him to rest. At first I did this unconsciously, not out of any great love for him, but out of an instinct to save myself. I wanted the legacy to stop. One might think that I would have brought to my work a particular sensitivity to issues of depression in men, but at first I did not. Despite my hard-won personal knowledge, years passed before I found the courage to invite my patients to embark upon the same journey I had taken. I was not prepared, by training or experience, to reach so deep into a man's inner pain -- to hold and confront him there. Faced with men's hidden fragility, I had been tacitly schooled, like most therapists-indeed, like most people in our culture -- to protect them. I had also been taught that depression was predominantly a woman's disease, that the rate of depression was somewhere between two to four times higher for women than it was for men. When I first began my clinical practice, I had faith in the simplicity of such figures, but twenty years of work with men and their families has lead me to believe that the real story concerning this disorder is far more complex. There is a terrible collusion in our society, a cultural cover-up about depression in men. One of the ironies about men's depression is that the very forces that help create it keep us from seeing it. Men are not supposed to be vulnerable. Pain is something we are to rise above. He who has been brought down by it will most likely see himself as shameful, and so, too, may his family and friends, even the mental health profession. Yet I believe it is this secret pain that lies at the heart of many of the difficulties in men's lives. Hidden depression drives several of the problems we think of as typically male: physical illness, alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, failures in intimacy, self-sabotage in careers. We tend not to recognize depression in men because the disorder itself is seen as unmanly. Depression carries, to many, a double stain -- the stigma of mental illness and also the stigma of "feminine" emotionality. Those in a relationship with a depressed man are themselves often faced with a painful dilemma. They can either confront his condition -- which may further shame him -- or else collude with him in minimizing it, a course that offers no hope for relief. Depression in men -- a condition experienced as both shamefilled and shameful -- goes largely unacknowledged and unrecognized both by the men who suffer and by those who surround them. And yet, the Impact of this hidden condition is enormous.Copyright © 1997 by Terry Real

From Our Editors

A national bestseller, this groundbreaking examination of male depression was hailed by Robert Bly as a book that "moves on to new ground in language and in story . . . exhilarating in its honesty and its grief". "A hopeful and important book because it shows a way out of depression for men that carries with its a potential for ending a legacy of violence".--"The New York Times Book Review"

Editorial Reviews

Pamela Warrick Los Angeles Times The most provocative in a flood of new books on depression...The only volume that speaks exclusively to and about depressed men.