Having mental illness is really tough for all who have lived with one and can feel like a battle to do just the basic things, hence why we titled our website ‘Battle of Mind’. But for men, they don’t just have to battle the mental illness, which is hard enough, they have to battle their own egos and what society thinks it is to be a man, to oppose the status quo and seek help and find the right therapy that works for them.
In this blog post we discuss the issues men face (from direct experience) and why men (but women too) need to drop their ego to begin to heal and become the strong person they always knew they were.
Please note, this is just a personal perspective from a man who has suffered severe depression, please do not be offended.
Men want to always appear strong
Other men are men’s worst enemy when it comes to mental health, even women can also be a bit of a curse on the mental health of men (although I love women, so don’t think I am a woman hater! 🙂 ), there is some expectations from both sexes that men never show their emotions.
For a long time, in society, it could be said that a man in touch with his emotions is linked with being weak or possibly homosexual which both, as a hetrosexual man, are quite undesirable traits and is likely to face ridicule or become the butt of jokes which nobody wants to be.
Other men pressurise other men
Men tend to look at other men as competition, each man wanting to be the best, the alpha, the best looking, the most desirable, the wealthiest and/or the most successful and needing help or not coping with expectations of what their male counterparts are expecting is all to do with ego and wanting to be accepted in their community.
Some women laugh or judge men that need emotional or mental help
I have seen it many times, a woman say they want a tall, dark, strong man, a man who can protect them and be their shoulder to cry on when they are down but who has he got a shoulder to cry on when he is of low mood, who can he turn to without fear of being judged ‘less of a man’?
Women don’t realise but they can also add pressure on men to be a certain way, to be strong of body, mind and financial pocket when all many men want from their counterpart fundamentally is to be attracted to her and for her to be a decent kind woman.
It doesn’t really matter to us how much you earn or if you need a shoulder to cry on, we would be more than happy to ‘be your hero’ and provide for you. This is what each man desires to become, their partner’s hero.
Feminism is killing the male ego
Not only does it feel not ok in society for men to be seen as emotional but now with the dawning of Feminism we are seeing women taking both men and women’s position in society.
Taking the top jobs, expecting the same pay , still getting maternity leave, possibly even taking the jobs that men would have done before so where does that put men in society? It could be said that it has simply knocked the male ego even further down the pecking order.
Women can be women and men but of course, men can only be men or face the wrath of being mocked by both men and women in society for having too much female energy.
Feminism may be giving women power to do what they want which is all well and good as I believe in equality for all sexes and nationalities but by women taking top jobs it is reducing opportunity for the average male in younger generations, increasing work competition and further devaluing the position of the modern man and putting the health of men at risk.
Feminism is a great movement but as long it creates a truly equal society for all sexes.
Men get treated very differently than women in modern society
The below video shows what men have to deal with internally. Not one person tried to stop the woman beating the man and instead, made fun of him but when the man abused the woman then everyone tried to stop it INSTANTLY! What does this tell us of the challenge of men’s mental health in our modern world…
Is this a fair and just society? Is this ‘equality’? How can a man expect to step forward for help when this is how people in society react to them being beaten or ‘appearing weak’?
This is why men need to step up and let go of their egos! It is actually a vital part of the healing process for men’s mental health. They are not weak to fight back or ask someone to help them, they are actually stronger than anyone may realise.
The battle for men’s health starts with letting go of ego
It is really hard to face ridicule or be laughed at by people we know and it is even difficult when we face being ridiculed by strangers in the street (like in the video above) but men NEED TO LET GO OF EGO and not care what others think.
This is why the man who seeks therapy and seeks medical attention are definitely not weak but incredibly strong! He has to face the potential of being mocked, he has to face his own demons and risk being less desirable to the opposite sex and face his own feelings of undesirable ‘weakness’.
Imagine having a painful and difficult mental illness, now add on the pressure of what is it to be a man in modern society from all corners of the world and you can start to see why more and more men are choosing to complete suicide… The reality is this is no longer a ‘man’s’ world.
Realising it’s time for change
The founder of BoM is a man, he has been there, he has confronted these issues personally, he has felt the shame of having a mental breakdown, for feeling like a failure even after gaining a vast education in Architecture, IT, Teaching and Art and the feeling of being undesirable by women because he knows what is expected of him as a man ( his ex fiance confirmed this when he had a severe breakdown and she left him after 4 months through his recovery process).
Loosing everything and having nothing, there wasn’t really anywhere else to go further down into the dark pit of despair of what it is to be a man, so I was left with a decision…end it all and stop struggling or get up and fight back…
I couldn’t give up…I loved my family too much and I wasn’t going to pass on to them how much pain I was feeling because it was hard to deal with, I was going to beat this!
Rather than let the darkness of what life had become win and leave this earth, act on my feelings of hopelessness I took the difficult decision of telling my family how I was feeling, how I was close to ending it all and then, seeking medical help from my GP.
That was the start of the difficult healing journey.
Facing the difficult reality
It was hard, I didn’t know how the hell I was going to start getting better or my life recover in every aspect after what I felt was a total disaster at turning 27 being £30k($40k) in debt, no job, no money, no opportunity, no car, no house and eventually no partner but what I did know is I didn’t truly want to give up on life I was just desperate for an opportunity and for things to improve and for this agony to be lifted from my chest...the only person who could change it all though… that was me!
I had to let go of my ego of ‘what it is to be a man’ and actually show just how strong a man I am. It is only when you have nothing that you really see how strong a person you really are, there are many more challenges to face in this situation.
How to let go of ego
I guess the first step in letting go of ego is to know you are opposing what society expects of you as a man so THAT MAKES YOU A STRONGER HUMAN BEING.
Secondly you need to know that lots of people in society have connections, they may not be the greatest person for the job, that skilled or work very hard but they know people or have rich parents so YOU HAVE DONE THE BEST YOU CAN UP UNTIL THIS POINT WITH THE RESOURCES YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN.
Thirdly you need to accept that maybe men your own age have more than you ‘materially’ right now but that might change when you are well again, what you have experienced is something that has been incredibly painful to bare and many men wouldn’t and don’t always cope with it. YOU ARE A STRONG MAN, YOU ARE CONSIDERING GETTING HELP.
Fourthly , to let go of ego you need to realise that many people around you have been fortunate enough to have their parents or relatives pay for everything for them. Just because you have less doesn’t make you less of a man, it makes you a tougher man BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO WORK HARDER TO ACHIEVE THINGS, YOU ARE STRONG.
Fifth is the realisation that the only person really judging you IS YOURSELF. YOU ARE TALKING TO YOURSELF AND FEAR EMBARRASSMENT OR RIDICULE. IF YOU CAN FACE THE PAIN OF MENTAL ILLNESS YOU CAN CERTAINLY FACE A FEW SNIGGERS FROM UNEDUCATED AND INEXPERIENCED BUFFOONS.
Sixth is the fact that most kind people will never laugh at you when they know your story. MOST PEOPLE WANT TO HELP PEOPLE TO BE HAPPY AND DON’T LIKE TO SEE DISCOMFORT IN ANYONE, SEEK HELP , PEOPLE WILL HELP YOU.
Seven is I can guarantee (thats right I can GUARANTEE!) that YOU WILL BE MENTALLY STRONGER ONCE YOU COME OUT THE OTHER SIDE. Now that is something that is always worthwhile having as a man and something no money can buy. Mental strength is a god given virtue that only few possess.
Pressure on men is making the battle twice as hard
I bare my soul on this website , I show my flaws and I don’t care who sees it because I am over what is expected of me as a man from strangers in society, I know who I am and I know I have worth which isn’t about being financially sound.
The battle men face in confronting the fact they have mental health and pressure to perform and achieve great materialism in an ever increasing competitive and populous society is really quite a sorry state of affairs this is now how we value our worth. I guess from my own experiences of falling into the
70 or 80 years 20 years spent educating, 40 spent working and then die. How do you make your life worth something by owning things by transfering coin and paper from one person to the next or by experience, helping others and doing what you can to make the world a better place? If I had to choose I would always choose helping a million than having a million in my bank account, that is how I and all men should value their worth, how many lives can we make better by being alive?
Let’s reassess what it means to be a man!