Acceptance that change is possible

Suicide among men, especially young men has always been a serious issue. In 2019 men completed suicide three and a half times more often than women.

Despite the growing awareness and acceptance that men need to look after themselves psychologically men’s mental health developments are heading in the wrong direction.

Everyone’s emotional problems are unique, but in my experience the issues men and women bring to therapy sessions are precisely the same:

  • Low esteem
  • Low mood or depression
  • Irritability or anger
  • Anxiety or panic
  • Stress
  • Relationship troubles
  • Lack of fulfilment and purpose in their life. 

“In my opinion some men still hold onto the very old-fashioned idea that men have to ‘Man Up’ and get on with it, at no time should they show any sign of weakness.”

I know about this, because I had exactly the same perception of what a real man should do and be. I kept it to myself, worked too hard, ignored all the ‘felt sense’ warning signs, I just put my head down, striving to be something I was not until I fell off the edge into a black hole. A decade of being a depressed recluse, suffering with uncertainty, and a short fuse was the result. Eventually I spoke to a therapist.

This does not need to be happening. Men have feelings. Men know they have feelings. Men try to deny those feelings they think they shouldn’t have, those feelings which might make them appear less like a true man. Women do tend to talk more about their feelings.

The survival drive is connected to the protection drive and the protection drive is connected to the belonging drive and the belonging drive in humans is very complicated. One person’s perception of how they think others feel and think about them is paramount in lots of people’s minds. These meta-perceptions can be ruinous, and they affect all genders.

A congruent, or emotionally grounded person who is balanced within themselves will be less affected by these internal worries and can monitor and regulate their mental wellbeing far more effectively. 

Becoming unstuck and moving towards emotional intelligence and fluidity is achievable even if you are the most stubborn person you know. Most people who attempt to change can and they live fuller, more relaxed and contented lives.

Shane Lutkin - Lead Therapist 

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