Stephen Fahey: Men’s Mental Health

Fortunately, Mental health is spoken about publically all the time now. It’s right out in the open. Even male mental health is discussed freely. But there is still a lot of stigma in the male community around talking about „your feelings”.

We need champions. We need those men who return from the dark, faraway lands to tell of what they’ve seen. To speak up you become a beacon. Especially for the younger generation. It’s not easy. Or cheap. But it’s important. So, here and now, for the first time ever, I will speak up. For the others:

With all the power of wit, observation, logic, linguistic acrobatics, mediocre looks and self-determination at my disposal, I might appear to be happy (though sometimes dark) whenever you read my words here each week. But I am not always so. And often I am far from such.

There are times when I can see no further than the nib of my pen – blank, yet bloody nights. Even with an amazing family around me, and friends I’ve known for decades, a roof over my head, clothes on back and food in my stomach, there are days and nights when all the world and all the stars and nebulae and black holes of the entire multiverse straddle my shoulders and slowly and mercilessly grind me down into a fucking early grave.

The true depths of depression, those that lay way beyond medication, advise, drink, love, anger, hatred or madness, they are barren lands. And any sane mind can find itself stranded there. It is exactly what is looks like too, an empty, dusty bowl where many perish.

However, there is hope. There is a way. You see, the dust that chokes the mind there in the wasteland makes it almost impossible to see anything. The simplest words of reassurance can chip, or, on occasion, crack the smoky bell jar that is sealed shut over our heads. Because of it, we almost never see those around us when we’re lost in the wilderness. But they can hear us. And see us. All we need to do is call out.

But we often don’t call out, especially us men – young, old and in between alike. Because we don’t often see other men call out. Women do it far better than we do. We are so deep inside our own heads that we simply get in our own way. Whenever the screaming clouds have ripped open the sky above my head, every single time I’ve eventually had the good sense to call out (usually in a broken whisper), the person I spoke to simply (and always willingly) pointed out several obvious positives that I couldn’t even see – just because I was in the dusty void.

As soon as they pointed out the obvious to me there was NO perfect or instant cure, but the seemingly infallible truth of the wasteland was tainted by the real-world truth I had wondered away from. Suddenly there was a way, a beacon.

Be under no illusion. For all our physical strength, we men are weaklings and damned fools when it comes to mental health. I think that’s because it’s not a visible enemy that we can fight in the traditional manner. And because so few of us tell of the dark, faraway lands. Plus, as is well documented, we do NOT like asking for directions.

So, in light of all of this, consider these words your road sign:

Wasteland: Dead Ahead.

Liberation: Turn Left / Turn Right.

Stephen Fahey

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