It's true--real men don't need therapy because guys don't really like therapy. That's because we only have two feelings to deal with: hungry and angry so what could possibly go wrong?
In a sense, it's much easier being a guy due to the limited range of emotion we usually have.
In addition, much of the time we don't even know when we're stressed and if we ARE ever feeling stressed then we drink, play sports or watch sports non-stop, surf the web, yell at the kids, pout that our wives are always nagging, binge on Netflix, hide in the garage, or engage in a host of other addictions and generally want to be left alone.
Of course, the downside to all this is that we wonder why there is a vague sense of despair coupled with constant irritability and anxiety/depression.
Perhaps we also have a history of trauma like being raised with an alcoholic/drug addict parent or were sexually abused or we survived a violent environment. Maybe mom was a textbook narcissist so there was no one to really love us or protect us but we just kept going somehow.
But real men learn to ignore trauma, suck it up, and just keep going...until the panic attacks start
or even worse, the heart attacks. Or the panic attacks that feel like heart attacks.
Or what if you're constantly in a state of irritability and are annoyed by everyone and everything?
Male depression is much different from female depression. Female depression (I'm generalizing here) typically consists of sadness, tearfulness, hopelessness and similar symptoms but MALE depression isn't like that most times. It's much more common to feel irritable, angry, frustrated rather than actual sadness. Unfortunately, it's often misdiagnosed as "anger issues" and the first suggestion is "anger management." So how about instead of "managing" your anger, you treat the cause first, then you won't have any anger to "manage?"
The really sad and scary part is that left untreated, depression can lead all the way to suicide.
Look at Anthony Bourdain, the late celebrity chef. It seemed like had everything going for him--a beautiful 11 year-old daughter and was dating a striking Italian actress, authored several best-sellers, had the most interesting TV show in the history of CNN and was paid handsomely for eating and drinking his way around the world.
But it wasn't enough--something was terribly wrong. On June 8, 2018 at the Le Chambard Hotel in Alsace, France, Anthony Bourdain hanged himself. He was 61 years old. The toxicology report stated he had no illegal substances in his system.
The last thing I'm going to do as a therapist is to guess at what his exact internal demons were but it does suggest that receiving some kind of help may have prevented such a terrible loss.
We do know Bourdain had struggled with substance abuse in his younger years and at different times in his life, he'd struggled with depression. If there's one thing I've learned as a therapist in the last 30 or so years is that past behavior usually predicts future behavior without intervention.
Maybe he was a real man who thought he'd just tough it out or "get over it" but as we all saw, this was an ill-advised approach and teaches us that even the toughest of us need help sometimes.
And if reading this, you kind of, sort of relate to any of it, do yourself and your family a favor and get the help you need...which includes calling:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273 8255.