Men’s Worst Enemy Is Within
Since it is International Men’s Health Week and I just happen to be a man, I thought this month I would talk about how we can be our own worst enemy when it comes to mental health.
When I was growing up in a rough and tumble rural area of southern Queensland, there were expectations of me as a boy.
I couldn’t cry, I had to be tough and I never asked for help, especially emotional.
We had a school counsellor and even a school chaplain but we would not dare ask for help for fear of reprisal from our mates.
Any form of weakness was not tolerated.
That was just the way it was.
You still had your Mum for emotional support but this was always behind closed doors and never in front of Dad.
Leaving home was about not looking back, always moving forward and making your own way.
You had to be tough, independent and look after yourself.
If you suffered with depression or anxiety, it was up to you to pull your socks up and keep on going.
Perhaps this is why so many men of my generation and older have troubles asking for help and suffer in silence?
Nowadays, I see my teenage sons have a more open relationship with their emotions as society openly encourages the sharing of emotions and the availability of various services to seek help.
As a father, I need to also show them how to express their emotions in a healthy and positive way which has been made easier by the societal acceptance of openness for males.
Middle aged and older males will generally continue to have difficulties asking for help as this is the way many of us were brought up.
This doesn’t mean we don’t need it, it’s just that many of us don’t know how to ask for it.
Men of my vintage and older, we all need to be stronger by accepting our weaknesses and getting help if we actually need it.
Happy International Men’s Health Week!