Another week went by and 84 men committed suicide, one person every 2 hours that has taken their life. Truth is, a simple conversation could have prevented all of this, a simple exchange between two individuals could have saved someone’s life. The best way to tackle mental health issues is to be open about it, truth is we’re in a society that’s very narcissistic. Life is moving at a fast rate and not many people have any sort of understanding because there’s not been any time to research the effect that has on our mental health.
It’s 2am in the morning and you feel like the walls around you are closing in, stress pressing on your chest as you have nobody to turn to for support, stars stuck on past and you’re struggling to stagger it through, with the virus that nobody truly understands, not even the closest ones to you. You tell yourself, stay strong, you’re a man and any sign of weakness is considered unattractive and more often than you can feel judged, or misunderstood if you overexpose. Men commit suicide more than three times more likely than women. The reasons are myriad, sometimes vague and always individual, so how do you get people talking about a subject that nobody wants to talk about? As reported last May, 11 percent of 1,200 men surveyed in Britain said they felt lonely on daily basis with 35 percent feeling depressed due to loneliness.
CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) charity started its mission in 2006 to tackle the single, most messed up problem amongst men, misery. Every man will encounter some setbacks in their lives, some more drastic than others and will require the need to open up and seek support when they hit the ground bottom. There are moments, no matter how big and powerful you are, you can find yourself in a vulnerable state, we all get emotionally upset, guys want to talk and they just have to take that first step when they feel safe to do it. The road to mental health and happiness, which I feel so engulfed about, is paved with honesty, there is no great victory in machismo and bravado in the end. It is only ever a good thing to talk about what is on your mind. After all we live in an epidemic of male depression and suicide. We’ve developed a society where women’s emotions are never questioned, that just adds fuel to the calamitous stigmatisation of men having open dialogue about their emotions. Vulnerability amongst men was always portrayed as a weakness in the eyes of our society. Men rejecting vulnerability shield themselves from being hurt but at the same time they refuse love and intimacy to surface.
Some say, when you’re being weak, is when you’re really being strong, if you feel that you can be vulnerable in front of someone else, and they can be vulnerable in front of you, the two can be brave with one another and talk. “Loads of things stop guys talking,” says Loyle Carner for VICE. “People are caught up in certain ideas of masculinity. In the parts of London where I grew up, there weren’t many male role models doing something positive. So as a teenager, you might have a lot of responsibility; you might be the man of the house, looking after your family. And when you have to be strong for everyone else, it’s seen as a weakness to be upset.”
Yet the problem sinks even deeper than that, Johann Hari, a Swiss-English writer and journalist tries to tackle it head first with his book, “Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions,” it shows that depressive illnesses have little or nothing to do with brain chemistry and that treatments to adjust someone’s chemistry with the use of drugs are simply never going to work and it’s a bit like trying to treat the smoke coming out of a house by blowing it away with a huge fan, and we all know how that would work. Above all our entire lives revolve around digital connections with people, we mostly interact with friends and family through internet and the relationship between social media and social life is like the relationship between porn and sex. With the pursuit of happiness through online shopping, only fuelling our overconsumption and channelling anxieties. Depressed humans lost their most important instinct, being part of community, a tribe with common goal.
We’ve told ourselves a story that we can live without tribes—we can live alone and we can be alone. Truth be told, that’s not the species we are. We’ve separated ourselves from people and meaningful interactions and to fix that, people need to begin to revert back to interacting with the natural world, which is the most powerful natural antidepressant we have at our disposal. There’s incredible evidence that when we’re in groups working on common cause, we begin to solve each other’s problems and as the flowers begin to bloom, we begin to bloom. Force yourself into the world of unknown, the wilderness that awaits you is far better than what you’re going through, get involved in charitable work, help others and above all, become the social creature that we have been for millennia. While opening up to others will have a positive short term effect on your wellbeing, community work can take your healing process to the next level, all it takes is the willingness to make a change.