It’s uncommon for me to feel depressed but for much of yesterday that was my experience. Symptoms included irritability, fatigue and a feeling of a sort of nothingness. When a friend asked me how I felt I said, “I feel hormonal” I realise that this adventure is part of this process I am going through for a guy of my age.
It’s known as the andropause of male menopause. In many ways, the male menopause passing is a”dark night of the soul.” It’s a time to perform down and feel our feelings, to feel the pain in the past, and to manage unfinished business so that it can be healed. It may also be a time of rebirth, a time of letting go of old dramas so that we can sense the love that awaits us second half of life. I feel withdrawn and I project my sense of being pulled unto my partner.
I do what gloomy men do. They project their melancholy outward and attempt to find someone to blame. In many ways I’m not the guy I was and it disturbs me. I was affectionate but now I’m not. Many who read this site will understand how I listen to lines from songs. The tune lines I hear and listen too are frightening me too. I hear them and I know they’re speaking to me and I trust they will go away but they do not The song that I hear today is one I have not heard in years. I hear it in cafes and I hear it in stores. It’s a song written by Neill Diamond. This tune has the following lines inside.
This is what it seems like on a few days and I wish to run away from it all. All this is a sort of internal combustion which in most men becomes a silent killer. They turn to some kind of dependence or to another relationship to be able to avoid feeling the pain and therefore avoid crossing the threshold to the second half of life. Yet I know the procedure. It generally, if not necessarily, involves the experience becoming more extreme instead of lessening.
One does go to a dark night or into a dark forest. In connection with male menopause there is not much light available. It’s for this reason I share this sort of non-event through this writing. If I can help men, and thereby help their spouses, to recognise the procedure then in some way I’m shedding some light to the darkness. I don’t have any clue what such sharing will mean. I fear ridicule. I fear that nobody could ever return to reading what I write because of what they will think of me. Yet I will continue to write about this dark night of the soul because I can and because it’s what I wish to bring healing and light too.
This healing isn’t just for myself but for others that are much less able to talk about their experience. I lived in a household where the term depression was taboo. I live in a culture in which the word depression is taboo. My mom lived much of her life feeling depressed and feeling guilty about feeling depressed. She had every reason to feel that way but wouldn’t share it. It made getting near her nearly impossible. I learned to get near her by getting sick and manipulating her somehow.
As a kid I had what where believed to be heart issues. I never did have physical heart issues but the symptoms all pointed that way. It’s my intention to produce the experience of depression and its association with the male cycle known as andropause not the taboo subject it is. I have enormous resistance against doing so but this is no reason to not do it. When writing about this topic I need not too. I wish to write about all of the beauty, the power and the elegance available beyond the experience of duality. Yet I see so many spiritual seekers who speak about, and hope too, the benefit of personal salvation and transcendence that are emotionally miserable to a large extent.
What they need to do as many spiritual seekers desire to do is avoid painful feelings. Male menopause can drive a massive wedge between a couple who have been happily married for several years. The man is taken into the dark and changed by a process he will resist and that in most cases can ruin him. Women who witness this procedure say they want the man back that they knew. They do not want the monster he has become. If it doesn’t ruin it will in many cases destroy the connection. At this time I will see how easily that could happen in my life. I’m to some extent more lucky.
I have not allow the issue drag and drag although it’s dragged on. I’ve asked for help from someone outside the relationship trained in these matters. It’s got worse since this time I started talking to the councillor. Yet I know from experience that you very often take two steps forward and one step back. People sometimes feel they are taking more steps backward since the procedure opens up more painful encounters. This isn’t always a step backward but it seems that way. Sometimes you go deeper into the darkness before getting insight into the coming dawn. I’ve of yesterday taken one step back.
Previously I’d have had another drink and then another few drinks which would have lead to a more drinking. This method of avoidance is previously. Today I will take a protracted walk to a sacred well and circumnavigate it. Exercise is one key method of relieving the symptoms experienced with male menopause and the experience of depression. I will try, as best as I am able, to not be rejecting. This frees me and makes my spouse defensive. Simple expressions of kindness help. Patience helps tremendously for both parties but isn’t an excuse for continuing denial or avoidance of the real issue. I will look at what’s positive. While I could be in a dark wood my fantasy life is more than living. It appears to be a preview of coming attractions.
I had for a long time stopped remembering my dreams. I believe that this was a reply to the denial I was going through at the moment. Now I am through (I hope) this period of denying that the dreams have returned. This is polarity. What is averted in the conscious mind plays havoc in the unconscious. Now that denial has opened up other choices the subconscious has become alive. I’m able to do this since the period of time I’ve spent in honouring my dreams as a spiritual practice.
The 10th September, 2011 was World Depression Awareness Day. It was a day where we where invited to try to make melancholy an experience we refuse to deny. It’s in our interest not to continue to deny it because it’s among the top growing medical issues in the Western world. One day will not do it. Awareness of the signs and how they differ in men and women and the procedure involved will help. It’s in teaching an awareness of how the method starts and how it can grow is a start towards the end, not of melancholy, but of this cycle what can become chronic depression. Step one, and I think it’s a large first step, is to be brave enough to acknowledge that the sense of shame that hides the underlying depression and which lets it start to become chronic and more difficult to change. The solution isn’t to learn how to lie about the feelings of pity and their associated motions of anger, sadness, grief and melancholy.
The solution is not necessarily in a different relationship but at the deepening of the one you already have that originates from the deepening awareness of your multidimensional psychological experience in this world of opposites. Additionally, it helps to know about which are natural cycles within the human condition. This is particularly important for men because women are far more mindful of bicycles because their bodies are more tied to these cycles. Having written this site and walked and circumnavigated the sacred well I feel better. This does not mean that the depression won’t return and that I won’t feel irritated or depressed. It’s a procedure. I’m in more psychological danger to the extent that I avoid feeling the feelings that come up. I’m in more danger when I just deny the motion of what’s a natural life cycle. The cycle of birth and death and rebirth. I’m not different from many because I resist the passing part of creation. I’m different in the sense that I am prepared to cross the threshold even when I do it all of the while screaming.