Men don't communicate their feelings
There has been much in the news again about suicide, and a recent programme has highlighted the increase in men taking their own lives. Coronation Street also portrays a male character going through depression.
There continues to be a stigma around mental health issues and I have found that men in particular are reluctant to admit to family and friends when things are not going well, leaving them feeling isolated and depressed. Men are less likely to seek professional help when they feel unwell as they fear they may be judged or thought to be "less of a man". It is still part of our heritage to have a stiff upper lip and get on with things.
Being able to speak honestly and openly with people who care, whilst not necessarily solving the problem instantly, can begin the healing process and allow a rational perspective on the current situation. Instead of seeing a formidable mountain that cannot be climbed you may be able to see a hill with a windy path eventually leading to the top.
I am not suggesting or trivialising for one moment that depression with suicidal thoughts would be resolved by admitting that a problem exists. What I am saying is that alongside communication comes help, and with help comes potential answers and solutions. Without communication the problems are nearly always magnetised and feelings of hopelessness can quickly set in.
Admitting that there is a problem is a huge challenge, and it often comes with self-blame and if onlys. Admitting there is a problem is massive, but it is potentially the first step to the rest of your life.
Suicide is a final desperate act of an individual who can see no other alternative. We do not choose to become suicidal - it is a feeling of finality that takes over leaving that person feeling there is no alternative.
Often suicidal thoughts are most prevalent in the early hours of the morning. If this is you, remember there is help even at this hour. Options include the Samaritans, Accident and Emergency or your out of hours GP.
I would urge anyone, male or female, to talk, talk, talk. If it is too difficult to speak to someone you know, see your GP or consider talking therapies. Counselling can give you the space you need to process your thoughts safely and without judgement. Unpicking the issues little by little will allow you to prioritise and discover options you didn't believe you had.
I would urge all males to learn to communicate. It is not that difficult. It is not a sign of weakness, on the contrary it is most definitely a sign of strength.
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