[Men and Mental Health] Why It is More Important To Open Up Than “Man Up.”
Societal expectation and traditional gender stereotypes can play a toxic role in our mental and emotional health. Because of this, men are less likely to talk about things and seek help for their mental health problems.
Men are often expected to be breadwinners, to be strong, dominant, and in control. While these are not inherently bad things, these set of expectations make it harder for them to reach out for help and to open-up.
The inability to ask for help is something which we are all chief offenders of. We believe we can do it all, we believe we do not have a breaking point, but what we fail to realise is this – we are only human. Another thing we fail to realise is that there is great power in asking for help.
But why is it so important for men to be open rather than to “man up?”
To prevent the risk of suicide.
When things become overwhelming, suicide is seen as an easy way out. Those with suicidal ideations believe the world would be a better place without them in it. They feel that the only way their problems will end is by ending their own life. They fail to see a way out of their situation because of:
a) The narrative they keep telling themselves when they self-sabotage and self-criticise.
b) How overwhelmed and overburdened they feel, and because they fail to see the love and support around them. Or the potential they have to live a more fulfilling happier life.
c) Their negative belief system makes them fail to see that there are solutions, ways of managing, and going about things.
Suppression and the stiff upper lip attitude that men continue to exhibit results in poor mental health. Since men do this more often than their female counterparts, a larger percentage of suicides recorded in Britain were committed by men, according to the Mental Health Foundation.
To prevent the use of potentially harmful coping methods.
We have all heard the term “drowning sorrows in a bottle of alcohol.” When it comes to a choice between telling friends and family about mental health issues and the consumption of drugs and alcohol, the latter is an easier pick. But does this make you better or worse? Does it make the problem go away or is it still there when you wake up sober the next day? In fact, substance and alcohol abuse is used as an escaping mechanism and means to forget, rather than a way to combat the issue.
We are all afraid of disappointing the ones we love and messing up all the good we have built in our lives. But the look of disappointment that you are afraid to see when you finally have ‘the talk’ – is it really for you? Are they really disappointed in you or are they disappointed in themselves for ‘not seeing the signs.’ Is it because they are thinking ‘I should have seen this coming; I should have been there?’
Mixing drugs and alcohol with mental health diagnosis like depression, anxiety, bipolar, and chronic stress is just a recipe for self-destruction. You might think that it will help you forget, and it will for just a short while, but it is only going to add more problems onto your plate. Do you want to escape only to have more problems to deal with or do you want to find and act on solutions which will yield better results and help you push forward?
To stop making your mental health worse by downplaying it.
There is a stigma attached to mental health which results in the person feeling a sense of shame. There is nothing shameful in needing and asking for help, and there is nothing shameful about the pain you are feeling. The more you downplay your grief, your trauma, and your mental health, the worse it becomes.
Think of it this way, the longer you leave an untreated wound, the worse it gets. It becomes aggravated, infected, and itchy. Just like an untreated wound, the more you downplay things the more irritable and unhappy you become. Some people become aggressive, and violent with a ‘me against the world’ perception.
To combat and manage your mental health better.
Your mental health effects everything from your physical health, the relationships and type of relationships you have with people, to your ability to carry out everyday tasks and duties at work.
Managing your mental health does not just end at sitting down for a talk with a professional or a loved one, it also means getting enough sleep, exercising, eating healthy and having a holistic approach.
Talking to a professional and/or a loved one can help you gain a better perspective of what is really troubling you and get to the root of the situation. It can help you zoom in on the bigger picture and help you look at things in a way in which you have never looked at them before. Is that alcohol addiction really because you ‘just have an addiction’ or because of the unhealed trauma that’s refusing to shift because you are refusing to acknowledge that it has happened, and those feelings are there? Do you fear that you might have depression, but is it really depression or a deep-seated unhappiness and unfulfillment?
If you would like to open-up than ‘man-up’ book your consultation with our professional therapist today.