You don’t have to go through it alone.
Stress and anxiety are killers. For men these are often silent killers as we tend to internalise our challenges and fears allowing the pressure to build unabated. Sometimes to toxic levels. This is compounded by societal expectations and norms, and a media (particularly tv shows) which portrays men as weak and incompetent or dysfunctional ego maniacs. Once in a while, there’ll be a program or movie with a strong male lead but these are few and far between, or undermined by bad acting, a lousy script and obviously contrived set pieces and special effects. This can make us quite resentful of a world which we should be captains in, providing we’ve paid our dues.
The search term “male depression” in Google renders 18.3m results, as at the time of writing. Similarly, the term “male anxiety” has 22.1m results.
Figures collated by the Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm) show there were 4,623 male suicides in the UK in 2014, the second highest number in 15 years and the equivalent of 12 deaths a day. Three-quarters of suicides in the UK are by men, but Jane Powell, chief executive of Calm, said there was “no effort to get a handle on the scale of the issue, no support for the suicidal”.
There are many other studies in this awful area. Too many to post in this article. But here’s another that must be highlighted here…
The annual age-adjusted suicide rate is 12.93 per 100,000 individuals.Men die by suicide 3.5x more often than women. On average, there are 117 suicides per day. White males accounted for 7 of 10 suicides in 2014. Suicide costs the US
$ 44 Billion annually!!
On a personal level, as a male I’ve had more than my fair share of anxiety and depression. I’m sure many of you have as well. I’ve also lost a friend or two to this scourge and have seen highly competent professionals who seemed to have it all – a good job, great family, respect and admiration… – succumb to it’s deadly song.
What alternatives do we have apart from harsh drugs and medication? With it’s attendant problems of possible addiction and self-medication. Or rather, what can be effective complements if some level of medication is inevitable?
I propose to fight depression and also boost male self-esteem by working systematically on our internal mental states constructively. This will be through articles, poetry, quotes etc from literature and famous figures who have fought and won and in some cases harnessed the fear and anxiety to attain higher levels of performance than previously possible. Eventually I’ll be releasing newsletters and possible podcasts and videos etc as well. You don’t have to fight it alone.
This is a journey and a process, to fill our lives with purpose and strengthen ourselves before we can strengthen others and lift them up too.
What is possible?
What outcomes will lowered levels of depression and heightened self-esteem be able to produce? What will this mean in impact on: self worth, substance abuse, career prospects, academic performance, business growth, personal relationships, family stability, life expectancy, socio-economic development, overall health, lifetime wealth creation, inheritances for descendants…
I endeavour to find out through research and my journey in collaboration with like minded males towards a strong support network.
“A boy comes to me with a spark of interest, I feed the spark and it becomes a flame. I feed the flame and it becomes a fire. I feed the fire and it becomes a roaring blaze.”
– Cus D’Amato
“Take some of your own time for yourself too.” – Seneca
“Everything’s destiny is to change, to be transformed, to perish. So that new things can be born.” – Marcus Aurelius