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I Don't Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression
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I Don't Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  1,025 ratings  ·  119 reviews
Twenty years of experience treating men and their families has convinced psychotherapist Terrence Real that depression is a silent epidemic in men; that men hide their condition from family, friends, and themselves to avoid the stigma of depression's "un-manliness." Problems that we think of as typically male; difficulty with intimacy, workaholism, alcoholism, abusive beha ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published March 2nd 1998 by Scribner (first published January 1st 1997)
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4.23  · 
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 ·  1,025 ratings  ·  119 reviews

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Michael Britt
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There needs to be a 6th star option for this book. This is by far the most important and impactful book I've read in recent memory. This is a subject that doesn't get talked about, and that many feel like they can't talk about, so that's why it's so important. So many men going through life carrying and passing on their burdens of shame and depressions, some not realizing it, and some not meaning to. We all do it. Because we can't talk about it. Or at least we're made to feel like we can't talk ...more
Aug 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any man who can even think about sitting with his own feelings for 5 minutes; anyone who knows a man
About half-way through. Subtitle could be "Masculinity in the Simon Family Tradition"-- I can picture generations of us reading this and saying, "How the hell did he find this out about me? I've never told anyone..." One or two might then look at the title and do a Homeric "DOH!" But forget about them-- I'm all over these pages. Less so now, by degrees, but there's still so much I haven't sat with, and didn't have the words to name, so I'm still going... I'll be back once I've finished (the book ...more
Apr 29, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Interesting analysis of how depression manifests itself differently in men than the "classic" symptoms generally thought of. Especially good discussion of how violence, workaholism, and depression are passed from parents to children, particularly sons.

As a mother of boys, I also appreciated the sections on society's expectations of masculinity and femininity and how reinforcing those stereotypes can do damage, teaching boys that they can't express their emotions.

The descriptions are therapy ses
Kevin Orth
Oct 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books on the topic of depression. Men and women are equal - and not the same. In some ways, we experience ourselves differently and society has different pressures and expectations. Any man who has experienced depression, anyone who loves a man who has experienced depression would be well served by reading this book.
Josh Czinger
Jan 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
This was the first book I've read on this particular topic, and it was a bit of a pail of cold water in that it was shocking and refreshing. The author draws extensively from his own personal experiences with depression as well as the stories of the patients he's worked with. This creates a cross section of examples of overt depression that he then connects back to the covert depression that is harder to identify. He identifies a few methods and tools that can be used to bring the causes to ligh ...more
Ed McKeogh
Nov 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help
(1) Thank you, Mr. Real, for THIS. AMAZING! BOOK.

(2) For the better part of my life, I've felt out of step with social expectations and not understood why. After reading this book, I get it. I finally get it. I feel as though I've been wandering in the wilderness for a long, long time, when I suddenly find myself standing before an information-rich, emotionally wrenching though inspiring and hopeful "You Are Here" sign. It's almost laughably easy to trace where I've come from, and it's heartenin
Jun 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
As happens with lots of college students, there came that point where I needed to talk to someone. It wasn’t just that I was in over my head, it was that I didn’t care and didn’t plan on getting better. On my second try, I found a therapist who was a good fit for me. She had a different background and a different perspective. In addition to being great to talk to, she pointed me towards some helpful literature. Easily the most beneficial thing she had me read was this book, I Don’t Want To Talk ...more
Kristen Atherton
Nov 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Literally everyone needs to read this book. You won’t regret it.
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of most important books I have read in order to understand, empathize and forgive myself and others. Essential reading.
Amy Mair
Nov 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
I connected to this book on many levels, especially as a wife and mother. Highly recommended read. We need to stop devaluing our emotions as a society.

"Traditional gender socialization in our culture asks boys and girls to 'halve themselves.' Girls are allowed to maintain emotional expressiveness and cultivate connection. But they are systematically discouraged from fully developing and exercising their public, assertive selves--their 'voice' as it is often called. Boys, by contrast, are greatl
Jessica Mercado
Mar 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of those life-changing reads. A helpful look into the male mind and heart and how it can so easily be damaged and gone untended for a lifetime because of society, lineage and a plethora of other reasons. As a wife of a military vet and struggling with how to overcome this hardship in our marriage I feel hopeful and motivated by the insight and essential tips in this book. Already set to read some of his others! Most excited to learn more about what I can do as a women and wife now.
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scary
As I’m “self-help adverse”, this was- at first- daunting to even contemplate reading. And yet, it shouldn’t be for anyone who enjoys the writer’s engaging,novelistic style in discussing the cases he lays out in chapter after chapter. Each one illustrates his points and each point is made clearer because of the open-hearted, humanistic way that the writer has.

It certainly helped me in my struggles with issues of self-hatred. Maybe it’ll help you too.
Timothy Rice
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book transformed me from a C-minus father to an A or even A-plus. I’m indebted to Terrence Real for collecting his years of therapy research to teach men how to access their feelings and stop the transgenerational cycle of unhealthy masculine socialization. I look at my son completely differently now— I truly and utterly love him. Can’t wait to read this again.
Joseph Kelly
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As someone who has had my own bouts with depression in the past, I know firsthand how excellent men are at hiding their problems.

You have no idea what the men in your life – particularly the men of older generations: X, Baby Boomers, Silent (I mean c'mon) – are carrying around with them, and it's not your fault. "They never talk about their problems!" It's true, they don't. Whatever tragic cocktail biology and society has stirred for men, its effects – relational disconnection, emotional stunte
Apr 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mental-health, memoir
This book appeared at an excellent time in my life. It covers covert and overt depression, carried emotions, and dealing with family systems. A lot of the material focuses on a masculine experience, but regardless of gender if you've associated your worth with outside achievements and disconnected from people around you, the case studies could be comforting and helpful to you.

Real manages to interweave his own story of family trauma, addiction, and depression and that gives him credibility beyo
Jenny, The Distracted Bee
In 1998 this book would have been 5 stars.

However, 21 years later certain subjects (e.g. expectations of male vs. female) have been explored much more in depth.

Appropriately, parts of Real’s work reads like a thesis essay, using numerous references to prove his deductions from his personal findings... which isn’t exactly what I was looking for.

What does stand up are the case histories.

I will come back to this (I’ve put it aside because I’m working on not being codependent and forcing people to
Simran Kaur-Colbert
Dec 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I wanted to read this book because I struggled in understanding how to engage and respond to loved ones with depression. I learned a lot more. I learned about the role of feminism in prompting folks to understand the ways depression manifests in men. Without knowing it the book made me reflect about the angry and violent men in my past and not trying to be an armchair psychiatrist but if nothing else this book makes you think of the unspoken needs of so many people, especially surrounding love, ...more
Koen Crolla
Nov 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: psychology
Whenever anyone complains about the lack of rigour and the prevalence of magical thinking in psychology, psychologists and other non-scientists are quick to accuse them of not knowing anything about the field and getting all of their information from pop-culture caricatures. It's interesting, then that psychologists keep writing books that conform exactly to those alleged caricatures. Real's characterisation of the field, the problems he sees with it regarding male depression, his proposed solut ...more
Dec 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
""People see weakness in a woman and they want to help. They see weakness in a man and they want to stamp it out"
I have hugely benefited from reading this book. It is a must read for men who are suffering from any kind of depression. And, also for women who want to understand sexism faced by men when it comes to mental diseases.

In India, according to a 2012 report, married men committing suicide is double the number of married men. In a study popularly known as roommate study, it was found that
Laura Perry
Feb 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
I got this book for my husband, to give him a little self-help for anxiety and depression, but I ended up reading it myself. I learned a lot about family dynamics and now I understand more about how I was affected by the family I grew up in. The book is essentially a series of descriptions of the author's counseling patients and their family situations that ultimately led to depression. He uses his patients (with the names changed, of course) to illustrate the ways in which men in particular ten ...more
Ronald Wendling
This book has been around for a long time, but to me it remains as important as it was when first published. Depression in males is commonplace, and that has a lot to do with how we males are socialized. Even though there is plenty of evidence that baby boys are more responsive to their feelings even than girls, this vulnerability to feeling is still wiped out by what society expects males to be.

The result of the suppression of feeling in males is well worth understanding because it has a lot to
Feb 20, 2010 rated it liked it
In both books (How Can I Get Through to You and I Don't Want to Talk About It), Terrence Real uses stories (names and important details changed to protect the clients) from his work with patients to explore the world of men's emotions. In How Can I Get Through to You, Real explores the complexities of male - female relationships. In I Don't Want to Talk about It, the book begins with male overt depression and covert depression. Real argues that covert male depression is more prevalent than our s ...more
Richard Jespers
Jan 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Excellent book about male depression. Real explains so many things, not only about my own life, but in the entire masculine culture of our civilization: alcoholism, workaholics, physical and sexual abuse. Real seems to fill in the blanks left by the inconclusive nature of my own traditional psychotherapy twenty-six years ago.

Favorite quote:

"My work with depressed men has led me to turn the conventional thinking about sons and their fathers on its head. If we give credence to the research detaili
Jesus Galindo
Apr 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lessons Learned:

We inherit much more from our parents than we think. Yes. Our parents pass along their physical features, mannerisms, and ideas onto us; however, we also acquire their fears and pain from them.

My fellow brothers - dealing with depression is tough. However, we need to take care of ourselves if we wish to have long and prosperous lives. According to Terrence Real, Men are less likely to seek help when they are sick and tend not to comply with the treatment as well as women do. We
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Transformative, compelling. Great content with personal narrative and client stories interwoven throughout text. Solid feminist companion literature that tackles the often-overlooked epidemic of male depression. The book distinguishes male and female depression and shares that they look different more because of societal norms and expectations than biological reasons. Great for practical application.
This was a decent read-- it really delved into how men handle depression differently that women. I enjoyed how the therapist was a family therapist and incorporated relationships into his therapy. What I was expecting though was a bit more guidance, maybe checklists, about how men handle depression differently, whereas this book was more case studies and personal experience.
Mano Chil
Dec 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In a few words in order to beat depression in men, men have to start relating with their wives or family members and have to take care of them and have them as top priority in their lives.

Men can't shut themselves out, build a wall around themselves and not communicate if they want to control their depression.
Jun 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is about what it is to be a Man that almost no one, anywhere is talking about. Even though this book is very well written, I found it hard to read at first. The more I read it the easier it gets, the more this foreign idea finds the truth in my life.

Please, consider reading this for yourself, your family and your children.
Jan 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wishlist
Very informative book about male depression and how men deal with depression different than women. A good read for men dealing with issues of anger, workaholism, or find problems connecting with others. Also a good read for anyone going into the psychology or counseling field to recieve another take on male depression and how it exhibits itself.
Kalem Wright
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
“I Don’t Want to Talk About It” argues that patriarchy lies at the heart of men’s depression. Although women lose enormous autonomy and privilege, men lose the capacity to authentically connect and instead search for self-esteem through performance, dabbling in process and substance addiction to nurse their pride when they fall short. Among other ideas, Real posits an interesting and provocative argument that partners and families collude to hide the reality of men’s depression through focusing ...more
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DEPRESSION 3 14 Oct 24, 2009 07:48AM  
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“Just as girls are pressured to yield that half of their human potential consonant with assertive action, just as they have been systematically discouraged from developing and celebrating the self-concepts and skills that belong to the public world, so are boys pressured to yield attributes of dependency, expressiveness, affiliation—all the self-concepts and skills that belong to the relational, emotive world. These wholesale excisions are equally damaging to the healthy development of both girls and boys. The price for traditional socialization of girls is oppression, as Lyn Brown and Carol Gilligan put it, “the tyranny of the kind and nice.” The price of traditional socialization for boys is disconnection—from themselves, from their mothers, from those around them.” 1 likes
“The covertly depressed person cannot merely vault over the avoided pain directly into wholeness, as hard as he may try. The only real cure for covert depression is overt depression. Not until the man has stopped running, as David did for a moment that day in my office, or Thomas did when he let himself cry, can he grapple with the pain that has driven his behavior. This is why the “fix” of the compulsive defense never quite works. First, the covertly depressed man must walk through the fire from which he has run. He must allow the pain to surface. Then, he may resolve his hidden depression by learning about self-care and healthy esteem.” 1 likes
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