This blog post is part of a series of blogs and features the personal stories of real people’s experiences with mental health problems. These stories will be published as part of Men’s Health Week 2012. If you wish to share your story you can get in touch with a member of the See Change campaign team at email@example.com
Feel free to post your reactions or comments at the end of this post.
I do not like to talk about depression because I am a man.
I do not talk about depression because I fear the consequences of appearing vulnerable in front of my male peers. As a by-product of the society in which I raised when I feel vulnerable I feel a deep sense of shame.
For me my depression was a consequence of poor health and personal circumstances. How I perceived others to see me drove me further into depression. A vicious circle ensued as i was unable to communicate properly how low I was feeling. I withdrew further and further from those that loved me and wanted to help me.
My silence manifested itself in rage anger and denial, when alone in a bed where nobody could see me, I sobbed tears of grief. Grieving for the loss of the person I once was. Grieving because I could see how my behaviour was affecting others. But I didn’t know where to begin to try and make my mental health better or make amends to try and heal the hurt I had caused.
It took me a long time to ask for serious help. I didn’t have an epiphany or a eureka moment I just realized it was either get help or death. I don’t use the word death lightly. I didn’t want to die, but I felt I was burden to others and genuinely felt death was a viable choice to make.
When I accepted the professional help that was offered things began to change. Slowly yes, but an improvement no matter how small made all the difference to me wanting to fight for my life.
It’s probably fair to say as a consequence of what I went through and put others through my relationships with some of those I love and care about changed ever and they will never be same.
I haven’t got my old life back but I’m trying to rebuild a different one. I’m still the same man I was before I got sick. I’m still the first to crack a joke, Im still the first guy to dance on the tables and the last one to leave.
I just have different perspective.
That is the terrible legacy, the stigma of depression. Some people just don’t see you as the man you were before and never will.
I waited too long to ask for help or even accept that I needed it.
As a society, we want men to be tough, courageous, financially sound, to be a provider and protector at all times and never ever to show weakness. We want men to be all those things at all times. It would be a herculean feat for any man to be all those things at all times so we pretend we are. When the cracks begin to show we hide behind a mask and pretend all is ok because that’s what men do, that is what we are taught.
It is international men’s, but it is also father’s day this Sunday.
There’s a quote:
‘Small boys become big men through the influence of big men who care for small boys’
Men need to start teaching future generations that the most courageous thing a man can do is ask for help when he needs it.
This year, Men’s Health Week (MHW) will run from Monday 11th until Sunday 17th June 2012.
See Change understands that there is a complex multiplicity of perspectives on mental health problems and the experience of being unwell. See Change encourages the publication of material that promotes understanding of mental health problems, the experience of being unwell, and recovery. The opinions expressed by contributors are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of See Change, funders, or partner organisations.