Posted in Mental Health

Five Issues Core to Men’s Mental Health

I’ve criticised The Good Men Project several times in the past for having too much feminist content about women and too little content about and for men. It is, after all, supposed to be about men’s issues and I get frustrated with how much it focuses on women.

However, it still does throw up the odd nugget such as this article titled Five Terrors of Being a Man, some of which I’ve covered before but I want to just go over them again to tell you what this blog is about now. I’ve had a rash of new followers in the last few weeks, thanks to being featured at the Blog For Mental Health (A great community, please check it out!)

What I want Sexually is Wrong Purely Because I am a Man

i09.com

To men who are not creepy or predatory, it is one of the major worries that we come across as such when engaging with women we do not know, especially if the intention is “chatting her up”. No matter how friendly, respectful and open we are, we always run that risk of being labelled a creep – and sometimes purely and only because we are not attractive enough to her.

Even when in a relationship, the media makes us feel that we are too selfish. Articles on “how to please your woman” and “how to be a better lover for her”, nearly always come with the implication that her desires come first, every time.

My girlfriend has noticed I hold back sometimes when we are having sex. At first she wondered whether I was worried about hurting her by going at it too hard, which I am, but my biggest fear is that she will think I am being too selfish about my own needs that I get carried away and don’t think about her enough. We have a good sex life, so I guess I must be doing something right!

Great article here on The Guardian: Girls have problems, boys are problems

I’m Never Going to Earn Enough Money so I will Always Be a Failure

This is how men are objectified in society. We are only worth what we bring to the table. We get the “get a better job, you aren’t earning enough” attitude all the time. Since Mirror Image and I talked about how I feel uncomfortable with the traditional gender role of protector and provider because I see her as my equal, she has noticed the casual sexism of women around her. Firstly, if she isn’t earning enough, that I should support her financially (even though I don’t earn much being only in my second year of trading) and was regularly told before we met “find yourself a rich man”.

When we value a man purely for what he brings to the table, and encourage him to think of himself only as a resource, this is a major contributor to depression in men.

Other Men Will Find Out I’m too Weak for a Man

I am emotionally expressive, but I do not burst into tears at the slightest thing. I have only cried once in front of my closest male friend, and that was the time I recounted to him my brush with suicide. He cried too, so we were even.

Think I didn’t cry that my wife cheated? That my marriage broke down? Feeling empty, alone and that I had lost everything in the time it took me to get over the worst of it? If you have a problem with that then all I can say is “fuck you” with a smile 🙂

To decide that men should always be the stalwart, even when he doesn’t want to be, and deciding he loses social value for being emotionally expressive, is also a form of casual sexism. It takes no account of a man’s individual character beyond pushing him into a role of being the moral and emotional grounding in the relationship.

I’m Getting Old Now

I am. I’m about to leave my 30s behind. It’s a struggle for men because of how we are judged on our vitality and virility and what we have accomplished by certain milestones. Getting older means health problems, higher probability of sexual dysfunction such as ED, male-specific illnesses such as prostate problems, heart disease and so on. Plus, by 40 he is supposed to have paid of his student debt (I haven’t because I struggled to get work in the financial crisis and my degree is not a big payer), own his own house (I don’t, can’t say I ever will earn enough now with house prices in the UK still stupidly high).

I Don’t Know Who I Am

This can cause a lot of distress for those who reject the conventional society-dictated rules of being a man. I am not and do not want to be a father. I am not a breadwinner, but I am, in my own way, successful. I have a master’s degree and my own business. Whether this can ever truly pay my bills and give me a comfortable life remains to be seen. But I am happy and happiness in life is rarer than financial security and for many, unattainable no matter how much of the latter they acquire.

Because we are forced into these boxes and rarely fit them or want to fit them, we are often shamed for the choices we make and are considered less of a man. Whereas women’s lib has given women the choice to do certain things, it has not removed the obligatory nature of such things as they apply to men. Basically, women have won the right to opt in, but men rarely have the right to opt out.

These are the issues I talk about most on this blog. Welcome, new followers, participation is encouraged 🙂

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Author:

I go by the name of Frank Speaking. My blog "In the Mind of Men" (former name Chin Up, Chest High) started out as a chronicle of my mental health recovery. Now it is a forum where I discuss issues related to male mental health.

6 thoughts on “Five Issues Core to Men’s Mental Health

  1. It actually hurts to read that, but more women definitely should.

    And if it helps on housing: we’re headed to a collapse very, very soon. By our estimates, within the next 3-5 years it will collapse and hit rock bottom, which also ties into when a number of small projects will be finished in many urban and suburban areas. Build your credit rating a little and save over the next couple of years and you may be able to buy a small flat. You will probably not want to live in the house you can afford, but if a home is your goal, the time is near and you can use the rent from your cheap flat to cover some of your current bills as you live elsewhere. And that should make it easier to save. At least that’s our plan.

    1. A collapse has been predicted since 2008. All that seemed to happen is that most prices dropped by about 10%. I hope you’re right though, Mirror Image and I would love to have our own affordable place.

      I’m not bothered about buying a house. I’m childless and intend to remain that way so a 1-2 bedroom flat would be ideal.

      1. The size and quality of the house depends more on location, though. If you’re fixed, it may be wiser to go with something larger and fancier in another town and use the money from that to pay your own rent and bills. Crazy legal aspects still need to be investigated, for example your insurance needs to be different if you rent to students and different again if you rent rooms and not the whole house.

        And the collapse prediction was based on hype last time. This time it’s quite simply that the cost of houses keeps rising above inflation, minimum wage is barely matching inflation and the population is growing. The only people making great money are selling development plots and housing estates. Which means that many individually owned houses and small estate agents are failing to sell enough to sustain their businesses. The first stage of the collapse will be when those “guaranteed sale” places close down and need to at least make their money back, so they will go to auction and have to lower their prices so individuals can afford them, as there will be few takers in development. The second stage will be a year later, when it drops even further driven by a combination of devaluation, the ongoing bankruptcy of small estate agents and government pressures to not leave abandoned properties. It will spike again once there are new developments on the market.

        The biggest indicator for someone to easily follow is estate agent advertising. When they have the same properties on their sites after 12 months, rental makes up most of their business and they’re steadily dropping prices by a percent or two and still not selling, you know they’re getting into trouble. So watch this space and move straight to the auction rooms around a year after the first collapse.

        1. I’m no expert, but what you have said makes perfect sense. It simply cannot carry on the way it has been.

          Help for First Time Buyers will only delay the inevitable, it seems.

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