One thing I hear quite often when it comes to anxiety and depression with men is the stigma attached to suffering from this. A lot of guys believe they are weak in admitting they have these issues and this somehow makes them appear inferior. Now when I was in my teens I used to worry over this. I would be very tight and wouldn’t express exactly what I was feeling even if I wanted to. I’m 23 now and I’m much better than I was mainly due to the fact I’m much more aware of being anxious and the effect it has on me.
Let me tell you something now, if you suffer from anxiety or depression no matter how severe it may be you are NOT weak! It is hard to realise this at first but from my experience I can tell you this is the truth. Very often we build issues up in our mind and the thought of happiness is placed high on a pedestal. I have done this for a few years and it’s only been this year where I decided to make major changes in my life.
There is nothing wrong with admitting your weakness because by doing so you are making a strong move. All you are doing is being honest with yourself and honesty is a quality every person will admire and respect. I myself am very open about issues I have and I’m perfectly happy to discuss this with anyone. I have nothing to hide anymore. By being honest about your weakness makes you come across as authentic which will help you connect with another person that much more. It’s about stripping away the ‘fat’ and being real.
I myself have recently joined MEN HEAL and it has been like a revelation. I have never been pushed as much as I have this year to make changes in order to live a fulfilling life, something I haven’t felt I have done since returning home from Derby University almost two years ago. My first meeting with the group was yesterday and I had a hell of a time. I left feeling very happy and confident because I knew this group stood for something positive and true. I would very much recommend it to others out there which may be in the same boat. After all, every long journey starts with a small step.
The other morning I came across a very interesting article which I think explains why people feel weak about exploring any issues. I think the main reason for this is that we focus too much on the negatives and what could go wrong. I’ll paraphrase the article now.
‘Thoughts of fear, anxiety, self doubt, criticism, judgement, anger and worthlessness does not focus on what we want. Instead they are directed at what we don’t want and this sometimes can be the only thing we see. If this happens we can be left blind in choosing the right steps to avoid this.’
‘The secret to any type of success is to focus on what we want. By doing so we are more in sync with new possibilities and we generate more ideas than normal. It doesn’t matter on how long it may take or the temporary obstacles in the way. Everyone can overcome it in their own time if they say this is what I want to happen.’
This is exactly what I have done recently. Was it easy? The answer is no, it rarely is but that’s the point. I was out of my comfort zone on the way to the group yesterday but I still went. That’s why the experience was so rewarding. I have never had as much clarity as I do right now. Will I feel anxiety again? Yes probably but that’s ok because I know what changes I want to make.
That’s the advice I would like to leave you with today because I feel I have reached a turning point and I know I’m on the cusp of a major transition. Please feel like you can talk to people and seek help. Ironically I have found that it’s people you don’t know very well which influence you more to make a positive change than your own family. There are a lot of kind people out there, I should know I met four yesterday at the group.
Copyright MEN HEAL 2015.