Boys. There are so many stereotypes attached to this word. Boys don’t cry, boy’s don’t get shy! Boys ought to be “smart” , this is something that society will always impart.
Boys shouldn’t wear pink? If they do, people look at them without a blink. Society makes us, but don’t we make society too? The baggage that men bring along, the burden of hopes, the need to be emotionally competent all the time and not shed one tear in times of distress is something we should all be talking about.
The stigma men in general face is more or less related to ‘’being a man’’, the need to maintain the “macho” status irrespective of what they feel inside. Mental health is a very sensitive topic for men, considering the stigma it entails. Because of this (and of course, the never-ending pressure of always being strong!) Many men struggle to actually stand up admitting that they might be in dire need of help. More so in the current times, when the world has come crumbling down, posing challenges at all fronts for all alike.
How can we reduce the stigma?
- We need to realise that it starts from day 1.
Learning of “The Art of Manliness”
Men are taught to be strong and quiet by their parents from the start. Strength and independence are two of the traditional masculine factors which are inculcated in them form the word Go! The irony here is that it is unimaginable to even accept that they are mentally disturbed with the strength and assertiveness that they have been taught. And, what often goes unnoticed is that untreated mental health problems can very quickly escalate into physical ailments, majorly when men self-treat themselves with alcohol and other substances.
What is the first step?
The first step towards accepting that you need help is accepting within yourself that “seeking help from outside” is not wrong. That it is the most usual & normal thing to do!
Guys, accepting and being willing to reach out to a close one when you know that you are not okay is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it is a necessary step which should be taken as soon as you have the mental and physical strength to do so.
What are the signs that say, “It is time to ask for help?”
- A major sign is moodiness, frequent changes in mood, irritability, anger, aggressive episodes.
- Difference in performance in the professional front. If your work is getting hampered with your current mental state, you know what to do.
- Change in your weight. Check if you have noticed a drastic weight increase/decrease.
- Hopelessness, Sadness, feeling loss of interest in pleasurable activities.
- Physical symptoms like stomach issues or headaches.
If you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself or your friend, know that it is important to seek help from a mental health practitioner. Of course, it seems daunting to schedule the appointment, but here is hope. Help is always available for you. You can take help from a close friend, a family member or a colleague whom you trust.
In conclusion, we just want to tell you that “BE A MAN” is not an overarching answer to shove all your worries under the carpet. You should reach out and know that it is for your own overall well being. And understand that it doesn't stop at you, it impacts all those around you too if not looked at well in time.