Boys don't cry
I’m shamelessly borrowing the title of the book that inspired me to write this article.
As a woman, I’ve strangely found myself involved in conversations about mental health for men during lockdown. My curiosity on the subject was sparked by the Men’s Mental Health week that happened during the earlier stages of lockdown. Sadly it didn’t have media attention that it deserved.
Why was it barely mentioned on social media? Did COVID-19 really dominate the news and other platforms to such a degree that this topic fell into the shadows of mainstream media? Surely now that there is a wave of mental illness hitting us, we should be promoting ways to deal with what we are experiencing. And men are part of this journey.
Why did all men of all backgrounds and social status not have it plastered over their profiles on various platforms? What about male celebrities? Why were nearly all the posts I saw on it posted by women?
Was the lack of publicity a reflection of how men view mental health or about their experience opening up about their feelings? Is there really still a stigma concerning men’s mental health or men talking openly about their feelings?
Wasn’t there enough money invested in mental health by various foundations and charities to help overcome the stigma related to men’s mental health?
I was searching around to see what was published on this topic when I came across the book titled 'Boys Don’t Cry?'. The launch happened to be during the Men’s mental health week. It is a book for men on the topic of mental health. It is also really refreshing that it was written by men!
What I like about the book is how openly and honestly these men write about their experiences. They go into detail about what prompted them to get the help they needed and wanted, about how it helped them and about the type of help they received depending on their own unique experience. It addresses topics ranging from mood disorders to diagnosed mental illness and personality disorders. While I was reading it, I could imagine these men in group therapy together sharing their experiences, validating and encouraging each other.
It’s raw and brave and honest. And as I was reading their stories I felt so inspired to recommend this book to other people in my life.
I think it is so important that men have the platform and the freedom to express their own feelings, struggles and pasts.
And I am so happy that a group of men have come together to share their experiences. The book is a collection of testimonies of personal experiences by around sixty men addressing the stigma attached to men opening up about their feelings. It addresses phrases like ‘Man up!’ or ‘Grow a Pair!’. The authors Fabian Devlin and Patrick Addis, have gone out of their way to find men from various backgrounds to open up about what led them to seek help for their mental health. They talk openly about their individual experiences.
The book encourages men to open up, rather than man up, addressing the fact that opening up is not a weakness. It takes strength to open up about one’s feelings and confront the sides of oneself that are often ignored out of fear or shame.
The book also gives top lessons and information on how to get the help you might need. The format is easy to follow and easy to read. It has something that I’m sure everyone can relate to.
These authors and contributors are leading the way in confronting mental health for men.
Topics that are covered in the book include:
- panic attacks
- bipolar disorder
- sexual abuse
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- substance abuse