Let me start by saying I am not a professional doctor or therapist. I don't claim to have all the answers. I just know that no one had answers for me when I needed them most, so I want to share what I learned on my journey with my husband's depression.
Depression is so difficult for the person suffering from it, but it can also affect the people around them. If those of us that are healthy are prepared, we will be a better strength for them. Remember 1 in 4 will suffer at some point in their life from some type of depression. You will have this touch your life.
I had an interesting conversation with my son the other day. He was reading history about our forefathers and the early men of our country and he noticed something. They had meaningful relationships with each other. Man to man. They were affectionate with each other and could express their love to one another in a normal man to man way. Their interactions showed real caring and tenderness toward each other. That man bond seems to now be gone in most places of America. The comradery with a group of men that have to work closely together seems to give them strength. Maybe that is a missing link into why American men are having such a difficult time sharing their struggles with depression. The bonds between men are different now. They have been taught affection, crying, or hugging between men is a weakness or the sign of an alternative lifestyle. It is not.
Look at third world countries who have nothing. Their communities still rely heavily on each other. The men are not isolated as just the lead of their home, they stick together to make their community work. They also seem to have less issues with depression. It could also be the stress placed on men today in our world. I am sure most American men feel like they can't do enough for their family. The pressure on them is very high and the outlets for them have dwindled. Just an interesting observation that may be contributing to the problem for men. I know my late husband was happier the few times he was able to spend quality time with his male friends.
Here are some links to a few of the websites I have used to find information. These are some of my favorites.
Empowered Life Solutions (Covers Anxiety, Depression, Healthy Living, and Happiness)
NAMI - National Alliance on Mental Illness
Nine Things You-Shouldn't Say to a Depressed Loved One And What to Say Instead
The Emily Effect (Prenatal Mood Disorder)
Real Men Get Help
Mental Health (read the questions at the bottom)
Here are some descriptions I took from several websites, medical posts, and other information. I am sorry I can't give the original writers the credit they are due, but I have put this together over many years from different sources. This shows 9 basic types of depression but each type can have sub types.
Remember: Depression is like a finger print, it is different for everyone.
Atypical Depression - Often considered a sub-type of Major Depression or Dysthymia and is the most common type of depression. Normally talk therapy works well. Symptoms: Two to three times more common in women than men. Oversleeping, overeating, weight gain, irritable, relationship issues, a sense of heaviness in the arms and legs - like a form of paralysis.
Situational Depression - About 3 times more common than major depression. Medication is rarely needed and it clears up over time, but it should not be ignored. Symptoms: Situational depression is triggered by a stressful or life-changing event, such as a job loss, death of a loved one, trauma, and even a bad break-up. Excessive sadness, worry, or nervousness. Diseases can cause this type of depression.
Postpartum Depression - Affects about 85% of new moms. May need a combination of talk and drug therapy. Symptoms: Some sadness after their baby is born, up to 16% of women the sadness is serious enough to be diagnosed.
Major Depression - Affects 7% of the US adult population. Usually antidepressant medications are needed. Symptoms: major depression, extreme sadness, hopelessness, lack of energy, irritability, trouble concentrating, changes in sleep or eating habits, feelings of guilt, physical pain, thoughts of death or suicide.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder - Affects 5% of women and is much more severe than PMS. Help for this may include a combination of talk therapy, drug therapy, and nutritional therapy. Affects women during the second half of their menstrual cycles. PMDD can be severe enough to affect he relationships. Depression, anxiety, mood swings more severe than PMS.
Seasonal Affective Disorder - 4 to 6% of US population is estimated to be affected by SAD. Light therapy or artificial light treatment is helpful. Anxiety, increased irritability, daytime fatigue, weight gain, occurs in winter climates of places with less sunshine.
Bipolar Disorder - 2 to 3% of the US population are affected. Usually treated with drugs called mood stabilizers. This is the highest risk group for suicide. Periods of extreme high to low to high (also called manic depressive disorder), high energy, excitement, racing thoughts, poor judgement. There are 4 basic subtypes: Bipolar I, Bipolar II, Cyclothymic Disorder, and Specified Bipolar.
Dysthymia - Hits 2% of the US population. Usually responds better to talk therapy. Low mood over long period of time, chronic depression, people can function adequately, but not optimally.
Psychotic Depression - 20 % of the people with depression have episodes so severe that they see or hear things that are not really there. This type may require a combination of antidepressants and anti-psychotic medications. They lose touch with reality, false beliefs, delusions, hallucinations, catatonic, do not leave their bed.