Boys don’t cry.

A revelation into why men simply don’t seek therapy

Most folks have turned to re-introspecting counselling and its numerous applications as a result of the pandemic. We’ve undoubtedly all seen this, if not from our own personal observations, then at least from the sheer number of individuals blogging about treatment. The prevalence of men’s presence in professional help lack thereof—has been emphasized in these tweets and jokes.

We’ve all been wounded as kids, and while we may have seen parents and grownups comforting their young daughters with a peck on the bruise and some candies to divert their attention, what has been pretty regularly said for their male toddler counterparts is that boys just don’t cry.

Let’s go back a while now. The Cure’s classic song “Boys Don’t Cry” is still well-known in today’s society as a proverb that men have been told to live by for many years. We need to reflect and ask ourselves, “But why?” Why not?

These words may seem innocuous, yet they support the notion that asking for assistance is somehow feminine. Despite its being a great quality to develop, strength is not just a trait of men. Additionally, males shouldn’t feel humiliated if they need help getting there.

In actuality, it is startling how emotionally sensitive male babies are at birth compared to female babies. They quickly catch up on the obvious reminders that guys are tough, that they don’t cry, and that they never keep complaining, no matter what, particularly from parents and grandparents. As a direct consequence? Boys speak less evocatively than girls do by the two-year mark.

When we talk about males talking about their feelings, there are a lot of preconceptions that come to mind. The discourse around the topic is informal and frequently humorous, but it hides a serious issue.

Men commit suicide at a rate that is more than three times higher than that of women, and they are more likely than women to use almost all illicit drugs, which increases the likelihood that they will visit the emergency room or die from an overdose. This brings us to the conclusion that the statistics regarding men and their mental health are extremely concerning. More than half of those who have mental health illnesses also have a substance use disorder. There is unmistakably a close connection between the two.

Beyond these statistics, we also know that men are less emotionally expressive than women, experience higher levels of stigma associated with mental illness, seek mental health care less frequently, and report elevated levels of stigma associated with it.

Men in positions of authority have historically attempted to conceal or minimise any indications of mental vulnerability. They will do whatever to hide any alleged physical or emotional “weakness” and project an image of power. That raises the actual query, then. Our own behaviours and actions—many of which may not always be made consciously—have the solution.

So that brings us right back to our original question. The answer to which is deeply rooted in our own behaviours, culture and perhaps unconscious stereotyped ways of upbringing.

Why are men unwilling to acknowledge that they have emotional or psychological problems?

  1. Social stigma.

Many men’s concerns about treatment today are still based on outdated ideas of what it means to be a man. The obsolete conventional thinking exalts men as models of emotional stability who are expected to provide for the family and earn a living. This idea still exists, influencing the current aversion of many males to discussing their concerns.

The stigma against admitting to our frailties or our everyday human challenges has permeated mental health concerns. Therapy was once thought to be exclusively for the extremely troubled and lost, such as drug addicts, those who were extremely nervous and depressed, or mentally ill homeless men and women.

It is widely acknowledged that “masculine standards,” or the behaviour that is required of males in society, are the reason why men avoid therapy. If they reveal their troubles, they worry about being judged and feeling ashamed.

  1. Gender roles.

Men may be reluctant to seek psychiatric assistance because it may be seen as a “weakness” to ask for treatment. Men must reconsider what it means to be a “provider” in today’s culture.

It’s important for men to understand that doing chores around the house or buying food isn’t always ‘women’s work,’ and that “providing and essentials are not related to money anymore.”

Regardless of where you are on the gender spectrum, talking about feelings may be highly beneficial, and by being open, one might feel much better. It might be challenging to identify emotional disorders when one avoids closeness and talking about how they feel.

  1. Difficulty expressing emotions.

Men may find it difficult to express their emotions or share them with others, and they may also hold the entrenched notion that they should “suck it up” and handle things on their own. Many men struggle to communicate with their emotional side. They’ve been indoctrinated for ages that being a man entails being a superhero. One that couldnt possibly face something as trivial as mental health issues. That’s for the other normie human. Pffft.

Many believe that this entails avoiding treatment when, in reality, many men may require it to develop resilience. Normative Male Alexithymia is a condition in men who have a great deal of difficulty expressing their emotional experience in words are said to have alexithymia, which has a very clinical sound to it. Because men frequently find it difficult to connect with women emotionally, this can frequently put relationships at stake. Many men minimise their symptoms and anguish while dealing with matters of physical or mental health. Some guys find it easier to avoid and minimise the problem than it is to acknowledge it and address it.

  1. Perception.

Some people object to the idea of needing medicines or therapy in order to function or feel content. Some men may be concerned that they would be seen as inadequate or damaged if they need counselling or medicine to deal with clinical depression, even though most wouldn’t delay to just get health care for a fractured ankle or some sort of physical injury. Men are under a lot of societal pressure to be alpha and in charge. Although these traits aren’t always negative, they can make it harder for males to discuss their issues.

Overlooking mental health problems won’t make them disappear away because they have a massive effect on our general well-being and health. There is no refuting the negative effects of attempting to manage issues like depression, anxiety, or addictions without treatment, even while physicians may disagree on the advantages of a specific method or method.

Men frequently lack avenues for articulating emotions without a safe space to be painfully open, or even worse, they get paralysed by the stigma attached to being vulnerable and candid regarding their issues.

What is the final prognosis then?

Men need to acquire more versatile and psychologically forgiving ways of functioning in the society because it has evolved. Men need to get over their fear of their emotions.

It’s critical to keep in mind that this issue affects everyone, not just men and boys, as civilization increases its understanding of the specific mental health requirements of these groups. Women and girls are often the ones left behind to deal with the leftover trail of debris that comes with this silent sufferance and shoulder the consequences when men experience mental health issues in isolation and succumb to drug abuse or suicide. Children are impacted because their minds are unable to comprehend the absence of empathy displayed. Parents are saddened and perplexed because they may be the targets of men’s rage and hurt.

There is still a long way to go, despite the incremental change. It presents a optimistic growth in which the mysterious stigmas—and the Internet puns die down as more men try to mainstream the act of getting help.

On one last note.

Dear Men, please cry

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