Something, we all tend to do in our lives when things begin to get too much is reach out for help and try and get some kind of therapy. Whether what we’re suffering with is a minor or even massive issue, we all tend to go down the route of seeking therapy or support from professionals when we struggle to cope just on our own. But, for men it’s very different it’s not as easy as wanting to go to therapy or finding a therapist. There is such a big stigma even in 2020 around men and mental health and the way society portrays this almost negative light over it, why men can’t be sad or why they can’t have issues on their own.
But, that’s so far from the truth, it doesn’t matter what gender you’re, anyone can suffer and it’s important that no matter who you’re you get help. Men’s suicide rates have been worryingly a lot higher in recent years and more and more men are suffering from mental health issues. Just because to some they should be considered as these ‘tough’ guys that shouldn’t be crying or feel upset, doesn’t mean they don’t. The stereotype and the stigmatism that has surrounded men and mental health for years is why men are so scared to speak up because they’re afriad of judgement.
Some of the reasons, why men feel like they can’t actually go to therapy is because half of the time, they believe there’s nothing wrong. They don’t want to admit that their world is falling apart, they don’t want to look like a coward in front of their friends or even so a failure in front of his family for cracking. I’ve seen a fair few men that I love that have fallen apart due to mental health but feel like they can’t speak up and it is heartbreaking. Which when you think about it, is pretty upsetting. It’s not about wanting to get therapy, because they want too. But, they get so caught up in this mindset that this whole facade of them being ok takes over, for them to reliase that later down the line it’ll make them feel a lot worse.
Another reason is the fact that they don’t believe they should go to therapy solidly because they’re the one that’s supposed to have their life together. They can’t be falling apart or have other stuff going on in their head. Men often believe that they have it all together because that’s what they feel they have to be, constantly on their A-game, without anything affecting that. But, often when that is crowding their train of thought they then become very miserable and their mental health deteriorates very quickly.
Maybe, it’s the fact they feel they’re going to get judged and that’s not the kind of position they want to be in. Whether it’s by someone they know, they’re afriad of people laughing or making jokes about it and not being supportive. Or maybe it’s because they’re worried that the therapist themselves will judge them immensely. But, that’s not true, you’re to a therapist a patient, they’re a professional that takes on a professional manner and are there to help you never to judge.
They might feel that because they have a partner, that’s where they’re there for. It’s quite common in relationships to overload your feelings onto your significant other because you trust them and you trust that they will understand and give you advice. However, it can be quite overwhelming sometimes if you’re both struggling at the same time, you might not be able to give clear advice or it will be a one-sided argument where you’re only focusing on one person’s issues.
They may even get into that headspace of it’s fine I have a bottle of whisky in the cupboard that will help or a pack of cigarettes which will curb the emotions for a while. But, alcohol is the worst and it has so many sides effects, quite often no matter what gender you’re alcohol is a key aspect of trying to feel a little sense of happiness and having no control over your body because it numbs the pain. It’s about what you feel after, the pain in your stomach the severe dehydration and the negativity coming back but ten times faster. If you abuse it, it increases your risk of depression and suicide massively.
It may be that they feel if they speak about how they’re feeling that other names will be brought up in conversation, like in a way they’re complaining about others and how they make them feel. Which is normal sometimes other people in our lives can cause us to feel upset. But, it’s not a bad thing to talk about that if that’s truly making you feel down. Don’t think of it as complaining, think of it as being honest, you can speak exactly how you want and say exactly how you’re feeling. There is no room for judgement or right or wrong answers.
Maybe it’s the fact they don’t want to take medication, which is completely normal. Not everyone likes to take medication as they’re worried about side effects or the fact it may make them feel worse. Or, even that someone close to them will see them taking them and they’ll have to speak about why. Medication is often given out if any type of mental health issue is severe and is causing you a lot of discomfort and is stopping you from living your daily life. But, often a combination of medications and specific therapies are the quickest and most effective way of helping you push through what you’re suffering from.
Maybe, they’re worried and feel like they won’t know what to say, or how to act or even put into words how they’re feeling. The truth is, just be yourself, be you and sit how you want to and don’t be worried to go in-depth and really describe how you’re feeling. You could start by saying what you feel you’re suffering with and ask what experience they have treating that issue. Talk about benefits or treatment that might be the most beneficial, ask about how the treatment works, how do they access your progress, avaliability, costs, future sessions etc.
It’s not a sign of weakness to want to seek therapy, it doesn’t mean that because you’re reaching out for help that you or anyone else should think differently of yourself. Men going to get help and men’s mental health should be a lot more normalised than it is. It’s that first step of self-awareness, that first step for you to go onto bigger things and to help your mental health.
Normalising the conversation around mental health, being able to share your story or other stories regarding men and how they benefitted from therapy. Understanding that seeking treatment doesn’t make you weak, in fact, it makes you stronger. It doesn’t make you any less defective or any less masculine. That’s such a vital point to remember when you first reliase that you might need therapy. It’s also important to know that therapy is a place to help you be able to gain more control, learn all the tools that can help you to be able to cope.
It’s totally fine to be worried about telling loved ones or friends that you’re feeling low and you want to seek therapy. But most will be supportive and if they’re not it just proves they’re toxic people that should be cut off. Sometimes with you speaking up, you may find that the other person you’re speaking too as well is suffering and by you speaking up you’ve given them the strength to do the same. It’s important to know you’re not alone in feeling the way you do and also in regards to speaking up as most men are in exactly the same position.
Men’s mental health matters too
It’s important to get rid of that stigma and reliase that men’s mental health is just as important. Just because they’re seen as these people that need to be tough and have their life together and they don’t have the right to fall apart. But, because of this stigma, it’s actually made more and more men suffer from mental health issues. It’s damaging for them to even feel that if they seek help, they will be judged immensely.
No matter what, it’s important that if something is really causing you to feel low or like you can’t live your normal life without feeling severely depressed then seek help. Normalise the fact that it’s ok to talk about mental health if you’re a guy, that it’s ok to fall apart and to crack sometimes and that doesn’t make you less strong, in fact, it makes you a lot tougher because it takes strength to be able to say you need help.
Call Anxiety UK on 03444 775 774 or visit their website here.
Go on over to Men’s Health Forum website.
Call Mind on 0300 123 3393 or visit their website here.
Call YoungMinds on 0808 802 5544 or visit their website here.
This is a rather moving documentary made by Bobby Johnstone about his experience with mental health in hopes to inspire society to be able to speak up more about mental health in men.
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