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Why Men Stay Silent

Updated on February 17, 2018

Men are typically silent about their health for many reasons. Here's why:

Physical Health

The typical man hates to appear weak or cause a fuss when it comes to major health problems. I say major, because everybody knows when a typical man gets the flu, he will act like it's the worst thing in the world. I'm certainly the worst person for doing that. If I get the flu, everyone will know about it if they want to or not!

However anything more serious or potentially life threatening, will generally be ignored until the last possible moment, or unfortunately in some cases, when it's too late. This is because he doesn't want to burden anyone with his troubles. It is also because he is probably scared of the treatments.

I know this from experience. I once had a liver infection, which just started off with feeling sick, and after two weeks of sleepless nights, time off work, and physically being unable to walk far or stand without feeling the need to pass out, I finally went to the doctor,as the pain was getting unbearable.

Thinking I needed antibiotics, he had different plans however and sent me to hospital, where I needed an operation. Hospitals and operations terrified me, and still do to this day, but my mistake was leaving it so long to go to the doctor. The irony is that antibiotics would have done the trick had I been to the doctor sooner.

What a fool I was! I could have avoided my terrible time. I was also told that there was a high chance I could have died as my liver was on the verge of exploding. All because I didn't want to do anything about it until I finally had no choice.

Now I don't have children, so if I had died, the effect on others wouldn't be as bad, but it got me thinking about how men were typically unwilling to acknowledge their health until forced to. It was actually my parents who forced me to go to the doctor.

In Australia, we are lucky enough to have a healthcare system which makes hospital cover free, and depending on the general practitioner free or at least a good chunk of your money given back. I say this because I am aware healthcare systems differ from country to country, but if you have cover, use it!

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Mental Health

This subject can be a very tricky issue. However it's not uncommon for men to suffer mental health problems. I realise this problem isn't gender specific, but I bring it up because men are typically the one's who won't admit to it, let alone do anything about it.

Again, the typical man doesn't want to admit to something seen as a failing. Mental health is a very important issue, because it can literally affect so many aspects of life.

Men typically see mental health problems as a weakness, something to be ashamed of. Nobody wants to admit to it, as there is the fear of what others might think. There is also the stigma of being seen unable to cope with something others seemingly have no trouble doing.

For example, I have been in situations where I've gotten depressed over a workplace, but I haven't wanted to admit it in case I was seen as incapable of doing my job. The only reason the issue was brought up was when a good friend identified depression due to a gradual change in behaviour over time. My friend made me realise it was a common reaction, and that I probably had other colleagues who were depressed and didn't want to admit to it.

Having a mental health issue isn't a weakness. It's my opinion the weakness is only there when the person suffering doesn't want to do anything about it. It takes a strong person to identify they are having problems, and to seek help for it, whether it be professional help, or talking to a trusted friend.

Regardless of gender, If I notice someone showing signs of depression, I usually like to check with them privately if there is a problem. The worst thing that can happen is the person wont tell me. That's their problem. But men like myself don't typically like getting emotional, so I like to check in with them, regardless of whether signs are present.

Obviously there's a difference between simply asking someone how they are, and being prepared to listen.

Overall

Men, if you have a physical or mental health problem, do something about it. Not only for yourself, but for your family. Think how they will be affected, you get so physically unwell that you die? Think how your behaviour may affect them if you have a mental health issue?

Do it for yourself and for them. Nobody will judge you if you ask for help. We like to appear strong, and it takes a strong man to seek help.

Women, as well as taking care of yourselves, if you notice problems with the men in your life, encourage them to seek that help. You should know how ignorant men can be with these issues.

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