I’m a man.
For some reason that single fact alone creates a multitude of problems when it comes to improving my life, or seeking treatment for bipolar disorder… or you know, any number of other “mild” medical issues.
I’m talking of course about toxic masculinity, and the culture that surrounds it.
The key word there is toxic. Masculinity in and of itself is not a bad thing. Why would it be? I’m a man who does man things; that’s all good.
OK, so what do I mean by toxic masculinity?
Well, imagine you see a man sitting with his young daughter having a tea party. He’s really engaged – hell maybe he’s wearing a tiara, or whatever else his daughter has deemed fit to bedazzle him with. Masculinity is toxic when your first reaction to that scenario is “WOW, GAY!” (The inherent logic of said statement being that having a fulfilling and engaging relationship with your daughter makes you enjoy sex with men… somehow? What? Also, do we really care about that still?)
Here’s another example: If you’re a straight man, and your reaction to seeing a beautiful woman in public is to shout a pathetic pick-up attempt out of the window of your 2005 Honda Civic that has an aftermarket spoiler that looks like it was designed by Boeing – well first of all you’re an asshole; and also, that’s what I mean by toxic masculinity. (Again, the inherent logic here goes something like this: she’ll be so impressed by my assertiveness that she’ll start running down the road after me, perhaps stripping naked as she does so, and hopping into my sweet-sweet ride for some road-sex).
So, before moving on to the main point of all this, to briefly summarize:
See the difference?
So now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about why this is a problem for getting treatment for mental health in particular.
Well, talking about your feelings is not manly. Admitting you have an issue is even less manly. You know what is manly? Bottling all that emotion up for a decade and masking it with an alcohol addiction. I mean seriously, that shit’s considered manly! And you’re a real man, aren’t you?
Look, I hate talking about myself too (says the guy currently talking about himself on the internet)… No but really I do. It’s hard! Men, we’ve spent our entire lives being conditioned that talking about your feelings makes you less of a man. But you know what really makes you less of a man? Being emotionally distant and not present in your kid’s lives.
To quote Salt-N-Peppa:
“…spends quality time with his kids when he can – secure in his manhood
’cause he’s a real man.” – Salt-N-Peppa, Whatta Man.
You know what else isn’t manly? Bottling all that shit up for years at a time until one day you unleash it on the drywall:
That shit’s weak. And I know, because I’ve put more holes in drywall than I’m comfortable admitting to my
court mandated therapist. Come to think of it, I’ve got enough experience patching drywall that I just got another great idea…
But Matt, how am I supposed to overcome the paternal inferiority complex that’s been drilled into my monkey brain for the past 3 decades?
Well, here are the two very simple things that I’m drilling into my own head to try to get over this… with some success too I might add.
#1: Stop Belittling What You’re Going Through
Depression is real. It’s not fake.
Bipolar disorder is real, not fake.
Mania is real, not fake.
Mental illness is a real thing. You’re not a wimp. You have a disease. You have a potentially terminal disease if you don’t treat it. You’d probably treat cancer if you were diagnosed. You’ll probably do something about that cholesterol. Why not do something about this too?
#2: Realize You’re a Bad-ass
You wake up every day and immediately go into battle with your own brain. That’s fucking intense stuff man! You’re a bad-ass! You’re a warrior!
You know who else are bad-asses?
But they’re not too manly to call in the air support when they need it:
You’re a bad-ass. Mental illness is an entrenched enemy – entrenched in your mind and body. Call in that airstrike!
Ladies, the two tips above apply just as much to you. Mental health stigma isn’t just a dude thing. Plenty of women are too proud to talk about this stuff too.
So let’s talk about it! It’s time to get better.
Talk to this toxic male whose brain doesn’t work down below! Follow for more.