Our Yogi Brothers; Men and Depression
The focus of my work, in yoga, creatively and academically, has been with women. Having grown up in a household of 5 females, I have always been most acutely aware of the circumstances that girls and women have to contend with in order to survive and thrive.
I can only hope that my work as a teacher, writer and theater artist has helped to alleviate some of the emotional, mental and physical turmoil that still cripples women in our life’s work.
I have focused on women for obvious reasons. I’ve experienced or witnessed many of the atrocities women all over the world are still subjected to: physical violence, sexism, bodily harm and trauma, poverty and systemic neglect and lack of support. Unfortunately the list continues to be long. I figured the boys are doing just fine taking care of their own through the “age-old” systems (law, medicine, politics and even in art) that still value their lives more than ours. Synchronistically, one of my sisters has posted on this very subject of female lives being devalued in her June 12 entry of her blog, written from India.
So it’s rare for me to linger on the problems of our menfolk. Today, however, I read an article in The New York Times that haunted me as I thought of many of my male friends, specifically men who experience depression, something more often associated with women. And I’ve already written about the way yoga may help women.
The New York Times article reported on a study showing a high correlation between men suffering from depression and ruptured relationships with siblings. Apparently, not even losing a parent in your youth was as significant a factor in later depression as not getting along with your brothers and sisters.
I started thinking about a couple of my ex-boyfriends who wrestled with depression and were at a loss what to make of it. I remembered fellow artists and male colleagues whose work was deeply affected by depression. And I thought about why the brotherly- sisterly thing might be such a key factor.
Was it just the usual explanation of females being more relational-centered in general? I’ve been fortunate in that, despite our less than ideal childhood and some rough spots in our early adulthood, my sisters and I have been good to each other. And I’ve often considered my bond with them to have been stronger than my bond with my parents ever was. So if our yogi brothers are missing out on this, might they truly feel unconnected?
Perhaps there’s real medicine in the old cliche about living in peace with your brothers and sisters?
[tags]men and depression,yoga and depression, yoga and health[/tags]