As men we have been taught our whole lives that “Boys don’t cry” and men are tough and don’t talk about their feelings. The problem with this is men then become so closed off emotionally and we keep everything that bothers us to ourselves.
When we keep everything bottled up for fear of being judged or seen as weak the fears doubts and insecurities also grown stronger and get more control over us because they only exist in our minds closed off from rational thought or critical assessment in the cold hard light of day. The analogy I use is when a child has a nightmare about monsters under their bed we prove those fears wrong by turning on the light and showing the child there are no monsters, it is only their imagination that is making them up. Exactly the same, when we talk about our fears, doubts and insecurities with the people we trust they also disappear or at least lose their strength and their power is diminished because when faced with rational thought anything in your life is capable of being handled and repaired.
The major factor that I believe drives the growth of these fears, doubts and insecurities is that most men think they are the only people who are having these thoughts about themselves and their lives. The reality is that we ALL have our fears about what is going to happen, our doubts about ourselves and what we are capable of achieving and our insecurities about whether we are good enough for whatever it is that is important to us. As men we carry great responsibility to be the protectors of our families and to provide for them. If we admit that at times this becomes overwhelming and difficult to deal with then we fear being judged as weak.
In my own experience with PTSD, Depression and Suicide, from being a Police Officer, I have absolutely no doubt that I could have handled everything I saw and all of the violence I was involved in if I had only talked about it more openly and realised this is a very normal reaction to seeing violence and human tragedy. Keeping it all to myself meant that it grew like cancer and eventually it pretty much took over my life and made me an angry, violent and severely depressed human and in the end nearly cost me my life through suicide. Your life is no different, when you’re dealing with “normal” day to day stuff like money worries, relationship tension, parenting challenges, self doubt and fear etc, if you keep this all to yourself then it grows and gains strength over you, when you talk to people about it, and get their objective opinions and advice, you can absolutely make the changes necessary to live an amazing life, I am living proof of that.
Once I had the courage to talk about what was affecting me I began to heal the emotional trauma and get on with a much happier life. The problem was it took a major breakdown and then over 10 years of trying to “tough it out” before I actually came to realise getting help and advice was the only way for to me to move past the shit and live a happy life.
You wouldn’t ignore cancer and hope it went away, your mental health is absolutely no different. It doesn’t mean youre crazy, it doesn’t mean youre weak, it only means you’re human.
Talking about our demons will definitely save our lives.