Men need to be men, but men need to be able to rely on others as well.
These days, mental health is a big deal. You might think that of course, it has been for a long time, but you’d be thinking in the most optimistic terms since mental health is still a major concern for a lot of people, and it’s not handled in the best of ways by a lot of folks. Whether people want to admit it or not, men are often at a far greater risk of mental health issues than anyone else, and for a few simple reasons that might sound juvenile and ridiculous, but are serious as they can be. Given the society that we live in and the stereotypes that run rampant throughout what is known as ‘civilization’, it’s not too surprising to realize that mental health is such an issue.
Let’s put it out there: the mental health of many men isn’t the type of issue that many people have considered to be that big of a deal over the years, no matter what is said. The accusation that’s hidden behind that sentence isn’t meant to evoke any sense of guilt or even a sense of entitlement though, far from that. It’s meant to state that as men, we don’t get a lot of sympathy, and in a lot of ways, we don’t look for it. Admit it guys, for every one of us that wants sympathy, or empathy, or any type of -thy, there are ten or more guys that will puff up their chest and claim that they don’t need therapy, they don’t need help, and they don’t need anyone else to help them out of a bind. I ought to know, I’m one of those sad sacks that hearkens back to a time when men’s mental health amounted to ‘suck it up’ and ‘be a man’. Hey, that line of thinking isn’t entirely outdated, not yet, because it’s still a moment of strength that can be used to great effect in the right situation. The simple fact is that like many things male, it’s been deemed harmful and not at all helpful.
“Be a man”. That phrase alone still comes with a lot of pride in some situations, and stands out as an empty platitude in others. One can’t help but wonder how being male became such a double standard, and when. These days, being a man appears to be a little more difficult simply because the ills of the world are being laid at our feet more often than not. Do we deserve it? Some of us might, since there are plenty of guys out there that don’t give a damn about anything other than their own lives and what they can get out of others, and out of the world itself. But laying that kind of crap at the feet of every man and stating that we’re inherently evil, problematic, or simply troublesome is more than unfair, it’s damaging to the point that men are being forced hop from one foot to the other in an attempt to live our lives without offending anyone for fear that we’ll be outed as violent, racist, misogynist, or as simply one of the worst human beings to ever walk the earth. This, along with many other issues that come with being a human being, are what trouble men today.
You’ve heard that being a woman is hard, right? Well, men don’t get to say such things that often.
The standard of being a man has changed greatly over the years.
It has to be made clear that the days of being men have changed quite a bit since the time of our ancestors, not just because being a man appears to have changed with time, but because we’ve done our best to make it change. None of us living in this era know what it took to be a man centuries ago, no matter how much we read about it or hear it from those who were there back in the day. We aren’t those guys, no matter how much some of us try to be. But defining who and what men are at this time is becoming more and more difficult since like it or not, the standards have shifted. Where once we were the hunters, the providers, and the lords of the manor, we’re still all those things, but many men have learned other skills and have changed the standard of what it means to be male. Hell, some men don’t even want to be identified as male any longer.
We all love statistics, don’t we? Men don’t always get this benefit when it comes to something that affects us.
Yeah, I know, it sounds cynical as hell and it’s probably not 100 percent true. Many would claim that they want to hear what men have to say, that they want to know about the problems that men go through. But somehow, the voices of those who claim that men rule the world and don’t have any comparable problems tend to screech the loudest and end up drowning out those of us that want to state that yes, men do have plenty of problems. Are they different problems? Of course they are. We don’t give birth, we don’t suffer from post partum, we weren’t persecuted and looked down upon thanks to our gender for so many years. But holy hell, men still have issues that women might not want t think about. Why, how you ask? Well, if anyone spends the time to listen, they might understand why men commit suicide at a much higher rate than women. Men are often three times more likely to commit suicide than women, but as for why, it’s fair to say that there are a lot of reasons, and most of them are usually very personal.
Seeing inside the head of men might scare a lot of people sometimes.
Has anyone ever told you ‘Don’t try to get inside my head’? It’s wise advice to take since trying to climb into someone’s head, so to speak, is a difficult and tricky process that only a psychiatrist should be attempting. Friends and family tend to think that they know their loved ones best, but the trouble with this line of thinking is that sometimes the people you think you know the best are the ones who keep the biggest secrets from you. Whatever reason a person might have for keeping secrets is bound to be personal and, in some cases, to prevent anything bad from touching those they care about. This is a bad reason to bottle anything up, since talking to those who can listen, and possibly help in their own way. But men are supposed to hide their emotions, right? We’re supposed to not tell other people about our feelings, yes? You can be a man and trust others when your emotional check engine light starts flashing.
Some would blame the problems of men on women, but that’s not the case.
Or rather, let’s say that women are not the only problem that men have, and sometimes they’re not even THE problem. But the dynamics between men and women are hard to figure at times since things have changed so many times over the years that trying to sort out whatever issues might exist between men and women is nigh impossible sometimes. But when it comes to comparing the issues that men and women do have, men’s issues tend to get overlooked because the truth is that women have been downtrodden in the past, and yet they’ve been every bit as powerful as men when it comes to the different arenas that they controlled. If one really wants to think about the difficulties between men and women, in this era, it comes from the idea that many still believe that women are not treated fairly, and do not have the same opportunities that men do. One unfortunate result of female empowerment, as positive as it’s supposed to be and is most times, is that it can, and does, end up coming at the expense of men’s mental health now and then.
Men need strong women, and a strong woman knows how to support her man.
Men and women need each other, it can’t be said enough and it can’t be escaped since we can’t exist with one another. From a biological perspective we all need each other, no matter how badly some folks want to think that this isn’t the case. But from an emotional and psychological level, it’s still up for debate since psychological strength is different from one person to another. But since we’re speaking about the emotional turmoil and mental health of men, it needs to be stated that men do need to rely on women as well as other men from time to time. A strong woman isn’t simply a woman who does things on her own and knows how to take care of herself. A strong woman is someone who knows how to find and inspire strength in others, building them up when they need it, and listening intently to them when necessary. Supporting a man’s mental health doesn’t make a woman any less, it makes both the woman, and the man, far luckier than most since that support makes them both stronger.
A man’s mental health is important for his mental health.
So, what does it take to be a man? Do you need to stand up, grow a pair, take it like a man, and all that normal jazz that we hear while growing up? No, not really, but it does help to learn strength, learn how to ask for help when it’s needed, and learn that being a man isn’t all about being the lone wolf and the strongest person in the world. Men’s health is every bit as important as anyone else’s, and it’s up to you, as a MAN, to understand when you need someone to help you out of a mental jam. If you feel lost, empty, alone, and in need of help, don’t be the hard-headed man that our ancestors were. The road ahead doesn’t have to be lonely. Your mental health, as a man, is too important to go it alone when you need help.
WTR? (Why’s That Radass?)
Guys, pay attention and take heed, you are not a one-man army when it comes to your mental health. If you need help, there’s always a licensed professional that you can go to. Family and friends are there to support you. Seriously, don’t go it alone, there’s no reason to fight this battle on your own.