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Mental Health In Modern Men

Updated on April 6, 2016

Mental Health In Men Today

I’m 25, my hairline is receding, I’ve gained quite a lot of weight since leaving university, I’ve got gout and have had depression. Out of all these things, the latter point of depression still seems to be the sticking point even in today’s ever changing society.

Granted, I’m gutted about the hair, weight and gout but depression came first and with no cause. I have an amazing family, great friends, a comfortable life where I haven’t had any fears about food or shelter and I received a good education. So why can’t I sometimes turn that frown upside down, cheer up or grow a pair?

Depression still seems to be a public taboo in many countries. It’s something which people seem to either not talk about it to anyone or take stacks of pills.

I wonder what has happened to us, to people. Have people always felt like this? Or was the social shaming in the past just greater and a man feeling ‘blue’ was a sign of weakness. It still feels like a sign of weakness in today’s world.

I wonder why there seem to be so many more cases today in regards to mental illnesses. Are we becoming a sadder species? Or more scientifically aware about mental illnesses being a real thing, not an excuse where you can just suggest someone to ‘man up.’

Perhaps it’s society as a whole. Our diets, a country’s attitude to which jobs you should have and what you should be doing with your life. Is it the heightened pressure of jobs and fear of failure and lack of money? What is it that’s making people less happy?

There are countless theories, so let’s have a look at some facts.

1 in 8 Australian men are expected to experience a mood disorder in their lifetime and over 20% are expected to experience an anxiety condition. More than 6 million men in America have depression each year. Facts in other countries are similar and whilst women do have a slightly higher percentage chance of becoming depressed far more men commit suicide. For men aged 35 and under the biggest cause of death is suicide, with 78% of suicides in the UK being committed by men. When you add recent spikes in suicides for men in their 20’s you being to really see that depression in men is still something that just isn’t widely seen as an open topic.

Depression isn’t just feeling sad, it’s also mood issues with anger, irritability, frustration or feeling nothing. Violence can be an outpour of depression instead of crying, so it’s not all tears and tantrums as some believe. Men tend to handle depression/mental illness differently to women. Reckless behaviour, drinking, fighting and fucking.

There are so many different forms of depression and mental illnesses but all feel like a terrible thing to admit to having. You can’t always stop yourself from getting physically ill, but even today having a mental illness feels like you’re letting yourself down. Could you imagine having the flu and feeling guilty and ashamed? Imagine feeling like the world is looking at you like some pathetic excuse of a man. You, and your flu. Can’t you just get over the virus, you weak human. God, why can't you get a better immune system.

We don’t feel like this for the flu, so why does it feel like that for depression?

I guess what I’m trying to get at is men today still feel the need to look ‘manly’ and contain anything that society or the public could see as weak, childish or dramatic. But depression and other mental issues shouldn’t be seen as that, or feel like it.

This article was to help me just as much as you. I HATE talking about things like this. I feel weak, stupid, angry then empty about it. But, you know what, fuck it. There is no definitive life plan for everyone, or a certain path you must follow. It’s ok to sometimes feel lost, pointless, empty or just generally down. There are millions of people, men and women, out there who are in the same or similar boat.

Yes, they probably have better hair and are gout-free but still, If it helps me to write about it, helps you to know that someone else feels shit for no reason sometimes too or helps raise awareness to the ‘stigma’ of male depression then I’d be satisfied. This piece wasn’t easy, I will regret it but I shouldn’t shy away or feel ashamed by it. True, I’m not going to be hitting the streets singing about it like a number from the movie Fame, but even privately people who have problems should give themselves some slack. You aren’t doing it on purpose. People don’t sit there and think ‘oh, let’s feel like a drain on society and be a moody git’

We’d all be skipping around like Mary friggin Poppins if we could but we’re not designed for 24/7 gut busting laughter.

A lot of us have issues, inside or out. But just know that you really aren’t alone and try not to blame yourself or feel guilty. Bottling it all up and doing nothing is a recipe for disaster. Try to find a good outlet, be it talking to someone, writing about it or just having a cup of tea and watching your favorite TV show. Personally I like sticking my earphones in, listening to some upbeat music and having a mini dance. It’s all easier said than done and if I read this on a particular bad day I’d tell the writer to shove his useless advice up his arse. But honestly, the hard work starts with yourself.

I’ve posted a few links below for stats, but also for anyone considering about the idea of chatting to a pro. I personally hate talking about it, but I tried it years ago and am glad to say that at least I gave it a shot. The guilt and shame was honestly reduced when I tried recommended ways to help. If you’re not feeling right then have a look and a think and try and to make some steps towards sorting it.

We're complex things. We're all different, let's deal with it.

If your car breaks, you try and fix it.
If you’re sick, you see a doctor.

If you suffer from depression, why can’t you try both?
That’s try and fix it and maybe see a doctor, not break your car and get sick.

Ah, they say end things on a joke.

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml

http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/menstats.html

https://www.mantherapy.org.au/

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    • Rob Wayne profile image
      Author

      Rob Wayne 16 months ago from Taiwan

      Completely agree and this is part of my point. The higher suicide rates in men shows the difficulty in anyone, but particularly men, to discuss their mental health issues. It's tough for us all and there feels like there's a stigma around it. If it's not society it's certainly our damn pride and fear of looking weak, when opening up about this is anything but weak! I'm glad to hear you moved on and were able to open up and that you're on the road to recovery. Good luck and keep your head up.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 16 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Hey, I tried that bit about bottling up your feelings, too, and I ended up in the mental health unit! It took quote a bit of cognitive behavioral therapy to help me realize that it was okay to talk about my feelings. Now that I am more open about it, I am finding a lot of people in this same boat. It is tough to deal with depression, but it is possible!