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Changing How We Talk About Men’s Mental Health

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Changing How We Talk About Men’s Mental Health

Today, let’s talk about something that we don’t talk enough about: men’s mental health.

Good mental health is just as important as oxygen, and since it’s the month of June, a.k.a Men’s Health Month, let’s critically explore some of the aspects of men’s mental health and wellness. We know that men are 3 times more likely to commit suicide than women. On top of that, they are also less likely to actively seek professional health.

The reason? A lot of men claim that it makes them feel weak, or their worries are not severe enough. Some even say that they’d be judged by their friends and family, which makes it even worse.

Here are a number of silent disorders that many men go through in their lives, but choose to remain quiet about it, and that’s something really not okay.

 

  1. Sexual Anxiety Disorders:

Have you ever come across someone who’s painfully shy? Well, I have, and I can say that they are not who you think they are. Not necessarily that they loathe meeting new people, going to parties or the fact that they just enjoy being in their own comfort zone; it’s just a kind of feeling or an emotional level that is very hard to understand unless someone has experienced it themselves.

It’s just about how an individual thinks. While a customarily adjusted person may have a sparkling love life, a man who suffers from this condition may become anxious about how they can’t perform well enough. Unfortunately, sexual anxiety disorder is not diagnosed as often as in women than men. It’s no surprise that women may experience not getting enough lubricated to have sex, which takes away their physical desire to make love.

What anxiety does is distracts a man from focusing on what they’re doing in bed. Although they might be aroused, it may not be possible for them to reach an orgasm. Therefore, sexual anxiety disorder leads to several troubles.

 

  1. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:

Imagine you’re crawling into your bed after a long, hard day, trying to become all comfy by laying your head on your pillow. As soon as you close your eye, you’re plagued by the thought if you had locked your main door. So, you get up to check the main door and ensure that it’s locked to confirm that your family is safe. Next thing you do is crawl into your bed and close your eyes, and this time you’re not sure if the kitchen window is securely locked. What if just one of them are locked? That being so, you get up once again and recheck the windows and door.

It may be that you may have a compulsion of checking the doors and windows no less than four times before falling asleep. You know that the doors and windows are locked, but still, you test them at least three to four times and you don’t even know why. If you check them only once, you feel that something awful might happen and you’re to be blaming no one but yourself. Men often feel the need to keep their family safe, and this mere feeling of responsibility creates an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

The scenario mentioned above is just one. There are plenty more situations like this that men go through and that exacerbates obsessive-compulsive disorder. National Institute of Mental Health says this to be a ritual for men. No one really knows what influences this disorder, but research has proven that it could be genetical, and it seriously has to do with anxiety and fear. It is undoubtedly curable through antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.

  1. Bipolar Disorder:

It might be pretty easy for you to joke with your male friend regarding his mood swings, but know that bipolar disorder is real. It’s a chronic brain disease that characterizes frequent changes in a person’s mood, energy levels, functionality and many aspects of their daily lives. This disorder does not have a single set of symptoms, which makes it rather tough to understand in the early stages.

In terms of the depressive cycle, it shows signs of depression. On the other hand, a person might be full of energy and happiness and still pertain to erratic behaviours. Researchers have not yet come up with a particular correlation between the two variables, but there sure is evidence on how individuals suffering from bipolar disorder usually engage in substance abuse, which eventually leads to addiction.

The good news is, there is definitely some treatments available for bipolar disorder, but there is no full cure to it. Many individuals get prescribed with mood stabilizers and anticonvulsants, others may also use antidepressants, sleep medications, and some even educate themselves on the symptoms and preventive episodes. Plus, group and family therapies work wonderfully.

 

  1. Social Anxiety Disorder:

Sometimes mistaken for shyness, social anxiety disorder is way more than just being uncomfortable around people. It’s about sweating your palms and forehead over a job interview that you think you would never make it to. It’s also about that meeting your girlfriend’s friends for the first time and the fear of being judged to every bits and piece. Men do suffer from such conditions and what makes it worse for them is an irrational fear of being judged and coming to conclusions about each of their movements.

Men, who suffer from this type of disorder, are very uncomfortable about going to work or school and often find themselves in a position of lacking skills and confidence. Here’s a tip for these individuals: drug, alcohol or even caffeine consumption might make this anxiety worse as it does not help you manage your time and energy.

How Can We Help Support Change?

  1. Changing how we support them:

Over time, mental health counselling has changed from traditional ways to phone-call counselling sessions to online and digital services. For some of you, it may not be the travelling that bothers you to go and take the services, but it’s the comfort of your couch. Nothing soothes the soul like sitting on your own furniture and talking about stuff that you thought you’d never face. These new services have utterly changed the way men could seek support when many of them out there are afraid of being judged.

  1. Change the Message:

Instead of saying “mental health issues”, let’s just say “mental fitness”. It’s all about the way we communicate that matters. Big words like that bothersome. Talking about the problems, getting to know that you have firm support, taking control of situations and getting back on track can completely change the way a man feels about themselves.

Ask the men around you. Ask them “how they’ve been” or if they are struggling or battling about something rather than letting them feel sad. Just so you know, thinking that mental health is a kind of “stress” can push a man into taking external supports and suggestions to improve their situation.

  1. Support Specifically for Men:

The way you communicate with men says a lot about how supportive you are of them and their mental health. I’m sure you know that men and women communicate in different ways. One successful way of communicating with men could be “shoulder-to-shoulder communication”. Most men opt for this approach when it’s about serious discussions. The most prominent characteristic of this approach is to minimize eye contact. Think of it this way – think of how men discuss their personal issues while fishing, playing sport or watching TV. Recognize some of these tactics, and you’ll find that communicating with men are becoming much more relaxed and flexible with a higher success rate.

Click here for some more ways you can converse better with men.

Bottom Line

As the famous quote says, “women are like teabags; you can never really tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water”; similarly, men are like trees. They just take forever to grow up. While they take this time to grow up and eat up all others brain, let’s not overlook the mental health issues that they go through. Sometimes it’s just that thing that they are working towards to keep their significant other happy.

The thing about men is that you need to be patient with them.

Once you effectively help your man manage his mental health, wait for the significant improvements in the quality of your life, the support that you’ll receive from them and that, in turn, would help you perform at your peak!

Diana Jhonson
Diana Jhonson
I’m the rainbow that drives your clouds away.

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