This post is going to be a little different from my previous posts. I was trying to educate the masses on the topics of mental health that I myself have come across. Mental health has become a topic that I have really become enamored with, constantly researching topics and coming to understand my place in the spectrum. Society is in a strange place now, with the state of the world and affairs in general. The status quo has taken quite a blow and the standards of the world have morphed over time. I feel this especially in regards to the mental health of men. As a man in this world, I was taught to suppress my more volatile emotions and the condition of my mental health wasn’t really the at the forefront of what should have been important to me. Thankfully, I feel that society has taken strides to make mental health an issue that encompasses everyone.
Men are looked at as the pillars of strength in society. Whether we would like to admit it or not, men are expected to lead, protect, and provide. It’s been that way since time immemorial. Over time and generations, this ideology may have changed or morphed, but the basic idea stays the same. Living as a man in this world, I have no problem with this idea. It’s instinctively built into my mainframe. Nevertheless, there is a mental weight that gets placed on an individual in regards to maintaining a solid frame to withstand the gravity of being the first line of defense in terms of your family/tribe/etc. The role of the pillar can be a role that requires a level of mindfulness to keep up. The man needs to lead, and a good leader has a level of self reflection that allows him to know the needs of his people while considering the best for them regardless. To be a good provider and protector, a man needs to understand a level of empathy for his family and a level of masculinity in order to keep up a powerful shield and sword to defend against threats. I mean, we aren’t cavemen/tribesmen so the physical aspect of protection isn’t as pronounced in our society, but it is still expected to hold this stature of immovability when it comes to threats to our family. These expectations can come with a degree of weight that can cause a man to buckle and thus be seen as weak and unable to do his duty. This is where I feel mental health awareness comes in.
Men’s mental health awareness is a big thing for me, especially in this climate. Men can be strong by working out, eating right, keeping masculine frame, and just exhibiting the traits of masculinity in general. What makes a man truly powerful is all of these things while also dealing with and working through the mental and emotional issues we may have to carry with us day to day. Men can be suffering on the inside with insecurity, emotional instability, fear of the unknown, etc. In my experience, it was difficult for me to admit that I may have been struggling with my growing responsibility in my life. I did not want to be seen as weak. I didn’t (and still really don’t) allow myself to feel 100% of any emotion in order to hold my frame. I could not live with the idea that someone somewhere saw me as being weak and unable to perform my duties. I hold myself to a high standard and want respect. What I failed to realize is that I needed to look not only at my actions and physique, I needed to look within for the clarity and mental fortitude to continue on my journey.Learning about mental health has been an amazing journey. I have chronicled how many different changes I have been through in my posts, and I feel like other men can relate to some of my struggles. We are trying to find our footing in a world that likes to place labels on us. A world that likes to assign roles and demand optimal performance once you are placed in that label. I don’t feel bad about what is expected of me, as it pushes me to greater heights everyday. I am even more motivated to do my best everyday now that I have a greater understanding of how my mind works and what I want to live a fulfilled life. I work to find the root of my emotions. I work to bridge the gap between what the world expects of me and what I expect of myself. Therapy and learning to love myself despite my flaws and weaknesses has allowed me to find a power that I never would have found otherwise. I lived a life where I thought I knew all there was about me, but you learn more about yourself everyday. Sometimes as men, we think straightforward and over logically. This has allowed us to stay vigilant and strong. It drives our decision making and our decisions usually impact much more than us. We stand at the forefront of our families and in gaining a better understanding of what makes us tick, we can find the strength to not only shoulder the needs of our families, but also allow them to strive.
Mental health in men is extremely important and I am glad to see it being taken seriously in so many communities. Our society’s continued growth and improvement depends on it and it also opens the door for mental health exposure for everyone when we take the step to lead others to do the same.