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.


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Disassembling Misandry

Hi folks.

A few days ago I came across an interesting post that got me thinking about men, the resentment they have towards women, and giving voice to that resentment with the purpose of making constructive change. I found it on reddit written by u/woah77. With his permission I'm just going to copy/paste the post directly.
[[Disclaimer: This is not a post about all of any group. Merely about members who engage in the activities described within. No part of this post should be construed as generalizing or describing any group in its entirety.]]

Misandry. Something often spoken of as a myth. When someone is criticized for it, they often respond that such could not be the case for it doesn't exist. When described as sexism against men, one is often told such things are impossible. It is the most interesting term in the world. It doesn't always drink beer, but when it does, it drinks The Order of Yoni.

Over the past few weeks I've posted a few times about why men need to be allowed to be "Misogynists". I've repeatedly mentioned how feminists and women have been allowed to be misandrists (to differing amounts of protestation). I wanted to take some time today to attempt to disassemble Misandry, because while I am disgusted every time I see it, I've recently run into somethings that made me reconsider why it exists.

Human evolution has lead to a deeply seated need to preserve oneself. When you see a shape moving through the bushes, a first instinct is to think Tiger! or Wolf!, because that though helps defend you. Even if it isn't a wolf, treating it as a wolf leads to you running which, over time, increases the chances you'll survive. We do the exact same things with personal experiences: someone hurts us, and instead of going "well it was just that one person" we generalize to all people who look, or act, or smell like the person who hurt us.

Sometimes we grow up in an oppressive culture, one that shames us for taking care of ourselves, or simply for being who we are. This can build into a resentment that can manifest itself in many painful and disgusting ways, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't make sense. I strongly suspect that many misandrist feminists have had very bad experiences with men, and have started to have a hard time blaming them for being defensive towards all men. I've read u/lordleesa 's stories and I can't blame her for any suspicions she has about men, given her experiences.

Even though I point out disgusting things that women have written in my posts about misogyny, I'm not calling for them to stop. I understand that many women have been hurt by men and are angry. That's entirely reasonable, and it would be cruel to prevent them from experiencing their grief and anger. I hope that feminism can come to a place where they see that men have been hurt by women and that men need to be able to experience their grief and anger.

To make a final analogy, asking either men or women to be silent about their pain is like asking the atheist who was abused by the Jehovah's Witnesses as a child to be silent about their contempt towards religion just because you were raised Deist and have no ill will towards religions. Context of experience matters, and silencing the experiences of the hurting makes one more cruel than any single abuser.
Now there is a lot going on here and I'd like to over everything a piece at a time. Let's start.
Misandry. Something often spoken of as a myth. When someone is criticized for it, they often respond that such could not be the case for it doesn't exist. When described as sexism against men, one is often told such things are impossible. It is the most interesting term in the world. It doesn't always drink beer, but when it does, it drinks The Order of Yoni.
I don't think there is much to explain here. Misandry simply is regarded as being either a man made myth, simply does not exist, or some method of taking attention away from misogyny (or that bringing up misandry is in and of itself misogyny).
 Over the past few weeks I've posted a few times about why men need to be allowed to be "Misogynists". I've repeatedly mentioned how feminists and women have been allowed to be misandrists (to differing amounts of protestation). I wanted to take some time today to attempt to disassemble Misandry, because while I am disgusted every time I see it, I've recently run into somethings that made me reconsider why it exists.
This I'm sure refers to the protected (or at least acknowledged status) granted to women that want to express their anger towards men, about men, and/over men. While I do think it's often taken a bit too far I can understand the value of simply being able to express your anger towards the point of trying to come up with a solution not just being permanently anger for the same of being angry.To that end it's worth looking at where that anger comes from.
Human evolution has lead to a deeply seated need to preserve oneself. When you see a shape moving through the bushes, a first instinct is to think Tiger! or Wolf!, because that though helps defend you. Even if it isn't a wolf, treating it as a wolf leads to you running which, over time, increases the chances you'll survive. We do the exact same things with personal experiences: someone hurts us, and instead of going "well it was just that one person" we generalize to all people who look, or act, or smell like the person who hurt us.
Here I think Woah is trying to explain how a person may come to generalize groups of people. It develops as a response to thinking you are in danger. A survival tactic.
Sometimes we grow up in an oppressive culture, one that shames us for taking care of ourselves, or simply for being who we are. This can build into a resentment that can manifest itself in many painful and disgusting ways, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't make sense. I strongly suspect that many misandrist feminists have had very bad experiences with men, and have started to have a hard time blaming them for being defensive towards all men. I've read u/lordleesa 's stories and I can't blame her for any suspicions she has about men, given her experiences.
While its easy to pick over why generalizing is wrong it must be bore in mind that there are often legitimate sources for why people generalize. For example there likely understandable and possibly relatable reasons why there are misandrist feminists/women who generalize all men. Most likely a bad experience or a string of bad experiences. Not hard to imagine wanting to avoid pain.
Even though I point out disgusting things that women have written in my posts about misogyny, I'm not calling for them to stop. I understand that many women have been hurt by men and are angry. That's entirely reasonable, and it would be cruel to prevent them from experiencing their grief and anger. I hope that feminism can come to a place where they see that men have been hurt by women and that men need to be able to experience their grief and anger.
From that place of understanding I agree with Woah that it wouldn't be reasonable to expect feminists/women to stop writing about their bad experiences with men. They have their stories to tell and they shouldn't be prevented from speaking them. There are a lot of women out there that have been hurt by men. There are a lot of women out there that have been hurt by men and have been left angry, in pain, and suffering.

I also hope that in due time feminists/women can come to understand that there are also a lot of men that have been hurt and left in a place of anger, pain, and suffering by women. Women are not the only ones that have stories to tell.
To make a final analogy, asking either men or women to be silent about their pain is like asking the atheist who was abused by the Jehovah's Witnesses as a child to be silent about their contempt towards religion just because you were raised Deist and have no ill will towards religions. Context of experience matters, and silencing the experiences of the hurting makes one more cruel than any single abuser.
There needs to be room for everyone to express and talk about their experiences. Trying to keep one side silent because their speaking up would "offend" someone would be additional pain on top of the pain people on that side has already experienced.

Woah has more posts like this and over the next few weeks I'll be going over them here.

Friday, June 29, 2018

So about Terry Crews...

This week Terry Crews gave a statement at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. He goes into not just the assault that he suffered at the hands of a influential and powerful producer but also of witnessing his mother being abused by his father. From there he bridges that into how he felt he was more important than women and and more valuable than women but that's a different thought for a different day.



What I want to focus on is the value of a black man speaking up about his experience of being assaulted.

Frankly speaking I think its a good thing that a black man has opened up about his story of being assaulted. Black men are burdened with a uniquely high (notice I'm saying uniquely high, not trying to say that its higher than the expectations on men in general) expectation to appear to be invulnerable.

On top of being men we are expected to maintain an aura of invulnerability. That we are pillars that can never weaken, crumble, or need maintenance. The idea of the strong black men is one that we get drilled into our heads from the earliest of times. That we are the foundation of the community. That we have to give our all or else we are a failure.

The problem is that this expectation tends to get in the way of basic things like taking the time to heal, taking the time to seek help and support, and taking the effort to support ourselves when we need down time.

For the most part unless a black man is the victim of a racially motivated crime or issue not many people care what happens to us. I'd even go as far as to say that outside of such racially motivated crimes and issues black men don't get much in the way of support and will more likely be met with condemnation from many if not all sides.

But I think Crews does something important.

He as a black men does the service of making the point that black men do have issues that affect us and that support for us in them is quite valuable.

While its true those outside of black men don't care about unless there is a chance to show off that they are anti racist it's also true that black men ourselves have a very valuable tool for gaining the proper support and help that we need.

We can use our voices to tell our stories.

Yes it will be a hard road. People will try to silence us. People will try to co-opt and take over our struggle. Hell even Crews with all his fame and star power isn't immune to this. There is a reason Crews didn't immediately speak up about what happened to him and since speaking up he has faced quite the bit of mockery (go to hell 50 Cent).

I'm glad that Crews spoke up because doing so gives voice and attention to an issue that often goes unnoticed.

I would encourage more black men to do the same. We can't wait for anyone to heal us. We have to heal ourselves.