Thursday, July 9, 2009

Stephen Harper and depression

A family tragedy that Stephen Harper has not forgotten
Lawrence Martin, The Globe and Mail: Much is unknown about Stephen Harper. He's more remote than recent Prime Ministers. Among his many qualities, a sunny disposition is not to be found. Much is internalized.

The other day, he surprised us with a touching eulogy for Dave Batters, the former Saskatchewan MP who took his own life. The Prime Minister spoke of how the 39-year-old had struggled with severe anxiety and depression. Depression, said Mr. Harper... 'can strike even the sturdiest of souls. It cares how how much you have achieved of how much you have to live for.'... 'Dave was a very human politician,' Mr. Harper said. 'He opened himself to others. It strengthened his hand in representing his constituents, but it rendered him vulnerable to depression, as it can to any of us.'

Dr. Tom Keenan, Calgary Herald: In his aptly-titled book I Don't Want to Talk About It -- Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression, Harvard psychotherapist Terrence Real calls chronic depression a 'silent epidemic in men.' He notes the 'problems that we think of as typically male -- difficulty with intimacy, workaholism, alcoholism, abusive behavior, and rage -- are really attempts to escape depression.' Real explains that... 'boys, and later men, tend to externalize pain: they are more likely to feel victimized by others and to discharge distress through action.'

Cleveland Clinic: Some mental health care professionals suggest that if the symptoms of depression were expanded to include anger, blame, lashing out, and abuse of alcohol, more men might be diagnosed with depression and treated appropriately... Depression in men often can be traced to cultural expectations. Men are supposed to be successful. They should restrain their emotions. They must be in control. These cultural expectations can mask some of the true symptoms of depression, forcing men to express aggression and anger (viewed as more acceptable 'tough guy' behavior) instead.
Image: CBC