Having mental discomfort is tough, really tough.
For all who have lived with any form of mental health issue often feel like its a battle to do just the basic things. It is this reason we were initially named ‘Battle of Mind’ back in 2016 because it’s exactly how it feels.
But for men, they don’t just have to battle the mental illness in the mind, which is challenging enough. Men also have to battle their own egos and what they believe that society thinks it means to be a man.
They must oppose the status quo, choose to seek help and go within. Eventually discovering the right therapy that works for them. In this article, we discuss the issues men face when improving their mental health.
As the founder of Seek A Therapy is a man, this comes from direct, lived experience. We explain why men need to challenge their ego’s to begin to heal. Thus becoming more resilient and even stronger than they already are.
Please note, this is just a personal perspective from a man who has suffered severe depression, suicidal thoughts, and anxiety.
A man that is now able to reflect on his past and analyze what pressures men face in their daily lives. Hopefully, by sharing this it may help to change perspectives and or help find solutions to improving men’s mental wellbeing.
Men Want To Always Appear Strong. It Is Important To Men’s Mental Health
Other men can be men’s worst enemy when in a group and it comes to mental health. Shockingly, even women can also be a bit of a curse on the mental health of men. There are some expectations from both sexes that men never show their emotions and just appear tough and a wall of steeliness.
For a long time, in society, it could be said that a man in touch with his emotions has been linked with being weak. Weak or possibly homosexual which both, as a heterosexual man, are quite undesirable traits. There is an innate fear of facing ridicule or become the butt of jokes. It is very real for men, which of course, nobody wants to be. When we don’t care what others think by challenging our preconceptions, this is when we can heal. We let our ego go, and that takes a lot of strength!
Other Men Pressurize Other Men
It could be said that a lot of 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. Asking for help or not coping with expectations of what their male counterparts are expecting is all to do with ego. Once we stop this idea of competing to be the best we can seek help to change. In fact, by seeking therapy you are building more resilience than your male counterparts. So if you are still competitive then there should be no shame in seeking therapy. When you go within you are building extra strength and understanding of how the mind works.
Some Women Laugh Or Judge Men That Need Emotional Or Mental Help
Over the years, as I was dating, I have heard many women say they want a tall, dark and strong man.
A man who can provide and protect them. To be their rock and symbol of strength. The reality is men and women in society in core areas are becoming equal. Areas such as career, earnings, and opportunity. But society expectations on men still haven’t. This expectation of men since the dawn of humanity and society’s changing political beliefs is not helping the situation.
More competition for less opportunity and men’s desire to still be strong and the provider makes things harder for them to achieve. Men will always want to be seen as strong whether physically, mentally or financially but ideally all. Status matters to men because it gives an impression to the opposite sex about their desirability.
Women don’t realize but they can also add pressure on men to be a certain way. To be strong of body, mind and financial support. Some women laugh at men that are in touch with their emotions, sensitive and not meeting the stereotypical tall hunk.
For men, it doesn’t really matter to us how much you earn or if you need a shoulder to cry on. We often are happy to ‘be your hero’ and provide for you. This is what each man desires to become, their partner’s hero but sometimes expectations can bring a sense of inadequacy.
Battle For Equality Is Also Impacting Men’s Mental Health
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. Expectations for more women in top jobs regardless of capability and simply due to inequality of the past. Expecting the same pay, still getting maternity leave. Even taking the jobs that men would have done fifty years ago, so where does that put men in society?
Although equality is completely morally right it is having an effect on men’s mental health. As equality becomes mainstream, there is an imbalance as the scales are tipped the other way. A large emphasis on women taking power and men’s ability to influence professionally, shrinking.
Women can be women and men too. 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.
Please note, this is not an attack on a positive movement, hell no! Feminism is giving women the power to do what they want which is all well and good.
Of course, both sexes and all nationalities deserve equal opportunity. But by adding too much emphasis on top jobs ‘having to be’ women will be reducing motivation with no role models for young men. Feminism can be a great movement but as long it creates a truly equal society for all sexes. Man and woman side by side not one in front fo the other.
We need to recognize when men are not being treated as an equal because of history. We must also continue pushing men forward at the same pace as women and minorities are also being pushed forward. This will help maintain positive mental health in all of society.
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 from beating the man. Some even made fun of him! When the man abused the woman then everyone tried to stop it. INSTANTLY!
What does this tell us of the challenges men face within society? What does it mean for men’s mental health in our modern world?
Is this a fair and just society? Is this ‘equality’ that we all seek? 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’? See how difficult it is for a man to be able to get therapy and also feel that he is ‘strong’.
This is one of the biggest challenges men face. Men must 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 improve their cognitive processes. That is what therapy is. It is like going to the gym for the mind. If we can use that perspective with our men in society things may change. A focus on the strength building and not needing help. Its also not the ‘ok to talk’ campaign either. A lot of men don’t like talking at the best of times! Let’s help men get help by letting them know they are building strength and resilience in therapy! To seek therapy is a strength in itself!
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). To improve men’s mental health, we men NEED TO LET GO OF EGO and not care what anyone thinks. All that truly matters is what we think about ourselves!
This is why the man who seeks therapy and seeks medical attention is 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.
A Big Part Of Improving Men’s Mental Health Is Realising It’s Time To Change
The founder of Seek A Therapy is a man. A man who has been there. He has confronted these issues personally and 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 still feeling of being undesirable or a reject. Internally, he knew 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. His ex-wife also had a huge focus on money).
Loosing everything and having nothing back in 2011, there wasn’t really anywhere else to go further down. I couldn’t go further into the dark pit of despair, so I was left with a decision…end it all and stop struggling or get up and fight back…
Giving up was not an option…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. For things to improve and for this agony to be lifted from my chest...I realized though, the only person who could change it… 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 to lose that you really see how strong a person you truly are.
How To Let Go Of Ego And Improve Mens Mental Health
I guess the first step in letting go of ego is to know you are opposing what society expects of you as a man. THAT MAKES YOU A STRONGER HUMAN BEING.
Secondly, you need to know that lots of people in society have business connections. They may not be the greatest person for the job, that skilled or work hard but they know people. Or they may have rich parents. Recognize that 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. Many men wouldn’t and don’t always cope with what you have faced. YOU ARE A STRONG MAN, YOU ARE CONSIDERING GETTING HELP.
Fourthly , to let go of ego you need to realize 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 realization 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 learn your story. MOST PEOPLE WANT TO HELP OTHERS TO BE HAPPY AND DON’T LIKE TO SEE DISCOMFORT IN ANYONE. SEEK HELP, PEOPLE WILL HELP YOU.
Seven is, I can guarantee (that’s right I can GUARANTEE!) that YOU WILL BE MENTALLY STRONGER ONCE YOU COME OUT THE OTHER SIDE. Now that is something that is attractive as a man. Something no money can buy. Mental strength is a virtue that only a few possess.
A key part of improving men’s mental health is likely to build stronger resilience. To understand that difficult is a part of life and then understanding different strategies to manage them. There are many ways to build resilience and therapy is only one way. Meditation is another. Exposure to and overcoming difficulty is one common way to build it. As is understanding that no experience is neither good nor bad. It is only our thinking that makes it so. There are many people who can guide you strengthening your resilience. Teach you different methods to help you find what works best for you.
Pressure on men is making the battle twice as hard
I share my experiences and I don’t care who sees it. Society expectations of me as a man is something I have learned to disregard. I know who I am and I know my worth which isn’t solely about being financially sound.
The battle men face is often on themselves and what we believe society expects of us. We pressure ourselves to perform and achieve great materialism and strength in an ever-increasing competitive and populous society. It is really quite a sorry state of affairs this is now how we value our worth.
How do you make your life worth something by owning things by transferring 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 to help 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 and improve men’s mental health everywhere!