Before Covid19 became the focus of all news reports, the focus of the media and government had steadied itself on men’s mental health. Suddenly, it had become important.
Suddenly – why not before? Why is it so important now?
Let’s just consider a couple of facts. These come from a 2018 report in the UK.
- Of all Attempted Suicides – 75% were women.
- Of all Successful Suicides – 75% were men.
Let that sink in. 75% of all successful suicides were men.
Isn’t it odd how those figures mirror each other. Why is it that more women seem to attempt suicide, but don’t seem to succeed at it? Why do men attempt far fewer, but succeed at more?
When men decide to take their own lives, the means by which they do so tend to be very violent, and ones from which there’s no chance of a return. Hanging; shooting; jumping off bridges and buildings; stepping out in front of trains – to name a few.
Why Is Any Kind Of Male Illness Thought Of As A Weakness?
It’s often near impossible to guess if a man is thinking of ending his life. He most probably won’t mention it or even hint at a clue. Why?
Is it because, over the last couple of hundred years our society has developed this notion of “big boys don’t cry”? “Stiff upper lip, chaps” and all that?
Society’s conditioning of boys leads them to feel that they shouldn’t show emotion, much less discuss it. It’s the same with physical health. How many men put off seeing a GP about a health issue, and sometimes leave it until it’s too late?
Emotions Guide Us. They Warn Us. They Comfort Us.
Human beings, regardless of sex or gender specification, are emotional creatures. I don’t mean that we go around openly blubbing and screaming our heads off.
What is an emotional response? Ever caught your hand on the steam from the oven, and recoiled quickly and often with “Ooh! Ya bugger!”? That’s an emotional response. It’s a reflex. It’s something we don’t even think about. We just do it. We don’t expect men to not laugh at something that amuses them. We don’t expect them not to get angry and show it.
But, when it comes to depressive illness, for some reason they feel they can’t talk about it. Even if a man has a best friend, his closest male friend, more often than not he won’t reveal that he’s feeling so bad that he’s having suicidal thoughts. He might voice it, but it’s rare. And if we feel we can’t reach out to someone; if we feel we can’t talk about this to someone – we risk falling deeper into despair.
A few years ago before I completed my hypnotherapy training, I had two male friends who, independent of each other, contacted me. Each had hit rock bottom and needed somewhere to go; an ear to listen; a shoulder to lean or cry on. I could only help them so far and advised them to seek help from their GP. I’m glad they both did, because they’re both still here. I think about each of them often, and occasionally think back to those moments when they reached out, but try not to think about how different the outcome might have been, had they not.
I’m not taking the credit for their recovery. Not at all. The credit is all theirs. They had the courage to reach out. And it does take courage for a man to reach out. Conditioning goes deep and it’s not easy to admit you have a problem.
What’s This All About Then?
While we can all relate to this, I’m aiming it at men in particular. Imagine you have the Mother of all colds. You have a head and nose full of snot – thick, yellowy-green slimy snot. You’re desperate to blow your nose, but – and here’s the rub – you’re conditioned to believe that you can’t blow your nose. It’s not manly to blow your nose. Big boys don’t blow their noses. So, you have to hold it all in.
How do you think this is going to make you feel? Your head will feel like it’s about to explode. Your eyes will be bulging with the pressure. And, if you can’t blow your nose, where is all that yellowy-green snotty stuff going to go?
Yep! That’s right. It’s going to slide all the way down your throat and into your gut. And the more snot there is in your head, the more is going to slide down into your gut. It’s not going to be long, is it, before you start feeling sick. Really sick! And if you keep swallowing this thick yellowy-green slimy snot, you will be sick. Head first down the loo – yodelling to Cardinal Chunder, and it seems like you’ll never be able to stop. And all because society conditioned you into believing that you can’t blow your nose, because you’ll be less of a man for doing so.
Now, how bloody stupid does that sound?
And yet, you’ll hold your emotions inside just as keenly as you would that snot. And holding in negative emotions is as damaging to your physical and mental health, and more so, as holding onto a head full of snot. Guys – for the sake of your health, let go of that emotional snot. Blow your emotional nose. Fill as many hankies as it takes. Just don’t hang onto it.
Emotional baggage is something that none of us needs to carry around with us. It takes strength to reach out and make a connection with someone who relates to you. But when you do, suddenly the clouds break and the sun starts shining through. You discover that there is a way through all the crap you’re going through. So, what avenues can you explore to help you get through all that crap?
Not bad, eh? We’ve just gone from snot to crap in a couple of paragraphs! Must be a day for bodily function references. We are human, after all!
Anyway, The Avenues
See your GP – who’ll most likely write out a prescription for some pills for you to take. Don’t be drawn into the belief that you need these pills forever. You don’t! These are a temporary relief to help you regain a bit of control. But, beware, whilst anti-depressants can help, they also seal a lid on your emotions, and it’s your emotions you need to deal with and sort out in order to move forward. Anti-depressants won’t make your emotions go away. They’ll still be there.
So, What Else?
There’s “Let’s Talk” talking therapy – you sit with a counsellor over 6-8 sessions, use up their boxes of tissues and get everything out in the open. They’ll then offer suggestions for how you can make positive change in your life; take a different angle; try a different response. Often, this therapy does the trick for people. It is a very useful tool in the armoury against depressive illness.
In more severe cases you might be referred to a psychologist or psychoanalyst and they’ll go even deeper with you into your past experiences, to try and find the root of whatever has been dragging you down.
What Is Depression?
Depression refers to our past. We keep playing past memory over and over, like a CD on continuous loop. We imagine different outcomes “if only” we had acted differently. If we don’t change the CD, before too long it’ll drive us crazy! Somehow, we have to find a way of freeing ourselves from past memories and emotions which no longer serve us. We can do this by using our subconscious mind to explore past experiences and detaching ourselves from them.
And this is where hypnotherapy comes in.
What Is Hypnotherapy? How Will It Help You?
Hypnotherapy is a combination of two words: Hypnosis and Therapy
What is hypnosis?
It’s a state of very deep relaxation. Think about the state you reach just before you drop off to sleep. You’re so wonderfully relaxed, but if any noise were to happen around you, you’d be wide awake in an instant.
And that’s the depth of relaxation you reach in hypnosis. You’re awake, you’re aware, you’re in complete control, and absolutely safe. But your subconscious mind is open to suggestion – which is the therapy part.
Suggestions made in hypnotherapy are only ever positive ones. It’s like physiotherapy for the mind. Hypnotherapy is designed to help you heal and be healthy. Positive changes can be made under hypnosis, leading to the most wonderful and lasting effect on your everyday life.
So, is hypnotherapy for you? Book a free Discovery Call with me to find out. It’ll take 30 minutes of your time and cost you no more than a telephone call. Do it by Skype or Zoom and it’ll cost you even less. And everything is treated in the strictest confidence.
What do you have to lose?
Fellas – you’re all someone’s son, brother, friend, lover, partner. You matter. Make that connection.