Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Anxiety and Men

Despite all the doom and gloom and chatter of "toxic masculinity" this and "entitlement" that perhaps things are finally starting to turn around in regards to mental and emotional health for men.

Typically anxiety is thought to be expressed as worrying excessively or a desire to avoid certain situations. But it seems there may be more to anxiety for men.
Anxiety problems can look different in men. When people think of anxiety, they may picture the excessive worry and avoidance of frightening situations that often plague those who suffer. These afflict men, too. But there’s a growing recognition among psychologists that men are more likely to complain of headaches, difficulty sleeping and muscle aches and pains.
Men who suffer from anxiety and express in the form of irritability and anger could been getting mislabeled (or misdiagnosed), thus limiting the picture we have on the health of men.

Depression is often associated with suicidal thoughts however it is actually anxiety, along with substance abuse and conduct disorders, that has more of a link to actual suicide attempts.

As we know men are less likely to seek help for mental health issues. We are socialized to believe that needing to do so is a sign of weakness. Think about that for a moment. A crucial element of a man's well being, mental health, is being neglected. A neglect that is taught to us and is looked up to as a way of proving that one is a "real man". It is in our very gender role to disregard our mental health.

Often times men will look for help after a major event happens or at the behest of a partner. But how does a partner go about encouraging their man to seek help?
Dr. Addis suggests expressing your own distress about your loved one’s suffering, how you’re worrying, how you’re not sleeping. And above all, be compassionate. “Rather than seeing him as a sort of stubborn, unwilling typical man, try to start seeing them as a human being not only anxious and depressed but struggling with what they expect of themselves and what society expects of them,” he says.
Sensible advice for those looking in on a man that is suffering from anxiety. It is vital to not give in to the knee jerk to conclude that he is being a jerk or an asshole. There needs to be room to recognize that he is a human being that has pains and vulnerabilities just like any other person (also consider how you would react if your partner responded to your anxiety by writing you off as a jerk).

That's a good start but I think a more important part is finding ways for men themselves. The well being of men shouldn't just hinge on what others around him want or need. Don't get me wrong connections with other people are important but tat the end of a day a man has to be his own person and has to be able to recognize what is helpful and what his hurtful for himself and have his own health in mind.

It feels good to post again. I have to do this more often.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

After 15 Mother's Days...

To think.

Today is the 15 Mother's Day without my mom. But like I said back in 2017 things are getting better. I didn't spend as much time dwelling on it today. I actually looked forward to time with my wife (even though I ended up spending most of the day cooking).

I guess what I feared is coming true. That I'm thinking about her less and less. Does that mean I'm learning how to be at peace with remembering her without obsessing over making sure I remember her.

I expect that one year I will stop with these sentimental posts where I dwell on her endlessly.

Part of me looks forward to that time even as part of me dreads that time.

But eventually that time will come.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

15 years....

It's hard to believe it's been that long.

15 years to the day since my mom died.

Looking back on it it's easy to pick and prod about how I have done this thing wrong or that thing wrong. Almost like I am still wanting my mom's approval and for her to be proud of what I've been up to.

Well I am married and have a step daughter and we all care about each other. Haven't got the house and picket fence but I'm working on it.

No I'm starting to think that I obsess with her approval because I don't want to lose her.

By that I mean I her memory. Other than a few phrases I've largely already forgotten the sound of her voice. I don't recall any specific scents or smells like a soap or perfume she used. I still recall some of the things she cooked and I do have several pictures of her so there is that.

I suppose in the long run I will eventually forget her completely, lose the ability to cook what she taught me, and the pictures of her will be lost to time even if they outlast my own time on this planet.

So why? Why go through so much trouble to hold onto something that I know I can't hold onto forever?

The best answer I can come up with is love.

I love my mom and just like anyone when they love someone they want to hold onto any and all memories, hints, traces, and parts of them they can.

So regardless of the fleeting nature of love I still want to keep up with it.

I wonder how I'll feel in 2024 at 20 years? 30 years? 50? In my final moments?

Who knows but for now I will hold on to it for as long as I can.