The process of coming to terms with your sexual preferences can be challenging and difficult for some people, it’s something that many of us take for granted. So what happens if you marry following societal social norms and later discover that you are gay? Dr. Loren Olson, psychiatrist and author, can explain this experience better than most, as he has lived it himself.
Although world-wide research over the last 20 years has indicated that women experience depression at 1 ½ to 2 times the rate of men, recent research conducted by Jed Diamond, Ph.D, and others, indicates that male depression has been under-reported and is beginning to rise significantly. In his 2009 book, Male vs. Female Depression: Why Men Act Out and Women Act In, Diamond reported on a major research study that concluded “Women seek help—men die.” The study found that 75% of those who sought professional help at a suicide prevention program were female. Conversely 75% of those who committed suicide in the same year were male.
What Does the Economy Have to Do with Male Depression?
A recent editorial in the March, 2011 issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry, indicates that depression rates in men are likely to increase even more due to the socioeconomic changes going on in the world. The study’s principle author Boadie Dunlop, M.D., from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta writes, “Compared to women, many men attach a great importance to their roles as providers and protectors of their families. Failure to fulfill the role of breadwinner is associated with greater depression and marital conflict.”
When there are stresses at work or men are afraid of losing their jobs, their depression rates increase. As men become more depressed, the suicide rate goes up, particularly as men age. It is important to develop new ways of addressing male depression.
About Jed Diamond, Male Depression Specialist
Jed Diamond, Ph.D. has been a health-care professional for more than 40 years. He is the author of 10 books, including Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places, Male Menopause, The Irritable Male Syndrome, and Mr. Mean: Saving Your Relationship from the Irritable Male Syndrome. He offers counseling to men, women, and couples in his office in California or by phone with people throughout the U.S. and around the world. For more information on men and depression, please go to: http://survivingmalemenopause.com/male-depression/
You can find all mental health video interviews from the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show in the table of contents.
Share Your Depression Experiences
Are you a man living with depression? Has the economy or unemployment impacted your depression? We invite you to call us at 1-888-883-8045 and share your experiences and insights on male depression. (Info on Sharing Your Mental Health Experiences here.) You can also leave comments below.
For those not familiar with the term intersexual, the Intersex Society of North America defines it as:
“a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male. For example, a person might be born appearing to be female on the outside, but having mostly male-typical anatomy on the inside. Or a person may be born with genitals that seem to be in-between the usual male and female types—for example, a girl may be born with a noticeably large clitoris, or lacking a vaginal opening, or a boy may be born with a notably small penis, or with a scrotum that is divided so that it has formed more like labia. Or a person may be born with mosaic genetics, so that some of her cells have XX chromosomes and some of them have XY.”
A vast majority of the time, doctors make a decision as to what sexual identity the child will have. Some intersexuals undergo surgery to “normalize” genital appearance. Other parents of an intersex child are told, raise your baby as a “boy” or “girl.”
Congratulatons! Your Baby is an Intersexual
As a parent, it’s a traumatic experience and confusing to say the least and most are not prepared in any way for the birth of an intersexed child. Thus they rely on the doctor’s advice…and from what I’ve read, it varies widely, from doctor-to-doctor.
For the intersexed child, there are years of doctors visits, not understanding your condition, feeling disconnected from your body, knowing that you are not like everyone else of your gender and the shame of living with that, being socially isolated, plus “feeling” your parent’s feelings about being an intersexual.
Which Brings Us to Our Guest …
Kailana is 39 years old.
“When I first realized I was different is a very hard question to answer mostly because my early medical life as a young kid was confusing. Too many doctors appointments out of town and out of state that I look back on and only remember crappy memories. Too many physical examinations and odd comments and questions. I ended up with a life as a kid and teen only being confused about what I was because doctors and parents kept asking me one question over and over, “are you happy as a boy?”
“The answer was simple, I am not a boy and apparently no one understood what those few words meant. I ended up being ignored and while I looked like a boy, sort of, I did not feel it.”
In 1993, Kailana received an official diagnosis of “intersexual.” She says “the diagnosis pretty much destroyed what little life I had held onto.”
We’ll be discussing the various psychological and emotional aspects of “being intersexual” (read Kailana’s blog post – Intersexual: Raised the Wrong Sex) plus a common question that spans all of mental health: How do you deal with a trauma or traumatic event that is seemingly beyond your control? Watch the video on intersexuality.
About the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show
The HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show airs live every Tuesday night at 5:30 pm PST, 7:30 pm CST, and 8:30 pm EST. Our guest and HealthyPlace Medical Director, Dr. Harry Croft, will be taking your personal questions.
If you miss the live show, you can always click the “on-demand” button on the player and watch the show at your convenience.
Share Your Experiences on Intersexuality
We also invite you to call us at 1-888-883-8045 and share your experience – whether as an intersexual, a parent or loved one, or a medical professional. (Info on Sharing Your Mental Health Experiences here.) You can also leave comments below.
(This post is written by Kailana, who is intersexual. Here, she discusses the impact of the intersex diagnosis and her experieces as an intersexual. She is an upcoming guest on the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show this Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009 at 7:30p CT, 8:30 ET.)
Experiences as an Intersexual
When I first realized I was different is a very hard question to answer. Mostly because my early medical life as a young kid was confusing. Too many doctors appointments out-of-town and out-of-state that I look back on and only remember crappy memories. Too many physical examinations and odd comments and questions. I ended up with a life as a kid and teen only being confused about what I was because doctors and parents kept asking me one question over-and-over: “are you happy as a boy?”
The answer was simple, I am not a boy and apparently no one understood what those few words meant. I ended being ignored and while I looked like a boy sort of, I did not feel it.
I cannot really explain myself better than this. I did not know I was intersex or even what intersex was until I was 22 years old and diagnosed with Adrenal Genital Syndrome and later with a XY/XO Karyotype that was explained to me to be Turners Mosaicism.
I hope that doesn’t confuse people but my diagnoses were in 1993 and many people make the mistake of assuming I am saying I am a Turners woman. Which I am not. I am an 45XO/46XY Mosaic Assigned male that is a true hermaphrodite by gonadal developement with some Turners features with Adrenal Genital Syndrome which is usually called Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia now adays. I have no official diagnosis for the Form of CAH I am affected by, although 17B is the most likely.
This is second and third-hand information, ie, this is a judgement by me based on information provided by others. I am still waiting for that first-hand official diagnosis that seems to be eluding me. For the last 16 1/2 years, I have been stuck with a XY/XO karyotype and Adrenal Genital Syndrome DX with no clarification or validation that both diagnosis are in fact correct.
The Impact of an Intersex Diagnosis
The intersex diagnosis, in 1993, pretty much destroyed what little life I had held onto. I lived as a guy. I served in the military for four years where I was diagnosed as being intersexual and left the service. Then I came home looking for answers and found none.
My local medical records were purged after I came home in July of 93; thanks to my mother. I have now spent 16 years looking for more information and ended pretty much being treated like crap by all the doctors and medical staff I have encountered because of the standards in place for treatment of intersex people. The medical standards used for decades has destroyed my faith in doctors.
Acceptance of Intersexuals and Intersexualty
The staff of the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show asked for information about family and society acceptance and I will make it clear that family can be the worst people to rely on when they are ashamed of what they have allowed doctors to do. I hope people understand that, in society, I am generally well-treated, it is the family issues of acceptance and the medical issues with acceptance that are difficult to live with.
Medically, I am treated or I should say not treated because the provisions of HIPA allow doctors to withhold information that they believe could be damaging. HIPA laws are being misused to hurt people like me who need answers and fair treatment in a so-called society that is supposed to be humane. Unfortunately, the medical world is not humane. The medical practitioners and their practices have contributed to more damage and harm to the entire intersex community than they or their forefathers could have ever understood would happen.
My apologies, but I am a well-versed Intersex activist who understands extremely well how crappy of a life a person can have when it is doctors and family who are hurting people, when they should be helping them.
I will close with saying that without my friends open, loving acceptance of me, I would have no life at all. See society is ready and willing to understand and accept people as Intersex. The medical world needs to open up our records and to share with the world just how varied humanity actually is. I will say that, hopefully, those with some clout do themselves a favor and ask for our permission first before sharing information about us, so that no additional harm is done when we find out that the world is being shown us when no one else will acknowledge who we are.
I hope this helps, although I sort of doubt that people will understand. An intersex diagnosis only really matters when those with the ability to understand it actually acknowledge them. Otherwise an intersex diagnosis just makes life difficult when no answers are available to explain it.
Tuesday’s show was a small step in helping others who struggle with Transsexuality.
Healthyplace.com Medical Director, Dr. Harry Croft (psychiatrist, board-certified in adult psychiatry, addictions, and sex therapy), while in residency, worked in a program that evaluated individuals wishing to change their sexual orientation. During the show, he explained the emotions that a transsexual person lives with everyday.
Dr. Croft reminds us all that those who feel they are trapped in the body of the sex they cannot identify with often realize those feelings at a very young age. (Read Dr. Croft’s blog post on the “Psychological Process of Changing Sex“.)
Our guest, Maxime, a male-to-female transsexual, experienced her first transsexual feelings at around 6 years old. Growing up, she felt awkward and didn’t have much support from her mother who asked/warned her to never discuss her feelings.
Now that she is transitioned, she dedicates herself to sharing her experiences by making videos and posting them on youtube. You will have to watch our show to see how Maxime has overcome life’s obstacles and where she’s at in her life now.
As you may know, there is a solution for transsexuals, but it is not an easy process. It includes undergoing hormone replacement therapy (also referred to as “post-op”) which helps to bring about physical changes to become more of a man or woman. Sexual reassignment surgery is the next step but can become so costly (and most likely not covered by insurance) that often times the individual doesn’t go through with it. Whatever you decide, Dr. Croft explains this is a very long process and requires a huge emotional/psychological/financial commitment.
If you missed the show on the psychological aspects of sex reassignment, you are still able to catch it by clicking the “on-demand” button on the player. We encourage you to watch and gain insight into the world of transsexuals and hope you will share it with someone who might be going through this difficult process.
To see more of our guest Maxime and her personal journey with transition, go here to watch her videos.
Upcoming Show on Alzheimer’s Caregiving
I hope you’ll join us Tuesday, August 18, as we discuss the stress of being an Alzheimer’s caregiver. If you, or someone you know, would like to be a guest or share a story, contact me at producer AT healthyplace.com.
Have you ever heard the term “A man trapped in a woman’s body?” Unfortunately, this is a reality for people who identify themselves as Transsexuals. This Tuesday, we will discuss the psychological process of undergoing a change in sex and attempt to understand the negative connotations that surround the subject.
Our special guest, Maxime, will let us in on her difficult childhood as a male while confused about his desire to be female. With a less than supportive mother who struggled with mental health issues, Maxime kept her secret to herself and held strong to her fantasy of one day becoming the woman she felt inside. Maxime has now successfully transitioned to female and works to help others explore their identity issues by posting video blogs on Youtube.
If you are struggling with this issue or other issues related to Transsexuality, we hope that you will watch our show and be encouraged by our guest. You can also find helpful information on our website under Gender, GLBT.
Have comments or story you’d like to share? E-mail me at producer AT healthyplace.com.