Notes on Men’s Mental Health
There will be times from now until the day you die when you feel that you cannot speak up simply because of your manhood. Men will hear a voice in their heads telling them to be quiet, to hold back the tears and to push all of what they feel down into the darkness.
There will also be times when you feel you are being blamed for each and every problem the world faces. You will read things written by nasty people about men, and you will begin to wonder if maybe they are right. You will be led to believe, word by word, that you are a monster simply because you were born a particular sex. Again and again you will be told to be quiet, that you do not have a say in this conversation, because you are a man.
This will happen but it is up to you whether you believe it. It is up to you whether you listen to the voice telling you to ‘man up’ and it is up to you whether you believe the horrible and untrue things bad people say.
I don’t subscribe to the victimhood model of mental health. I am more a disciple of the hero model of mental health. And this means you do not get to blame the world for how you feel. How the world makes you feel is a result of how you are thinking about the world. And it is easy – so terribly easy – to turn into a victim because this takes you out of the equation. It absolves you of any responsibility for how you are feeling. And I believe that you are entirely responsible for the way you feel.
So be a man in whatever form that takes. There are no right answer. But take responsibility for how you feel. Cry when crying is necessary. Take no undue shit from people who are filled with hate. Rise to the occasion of your life. Understand that just because someone else believes terrible things, it doesn’t mean they are true.
You are not a monster just because you are a man. I refuse to bend to this ideology. You are a man and you can become a monster if you don’t take responsibility for yourself.
Lonely Boy, a collection of essays on mental health, arrives on November 24th.