I think the stereotype of the “manly man” is someone that does not show emotion and just gets on with life! As a man with a family there is a perception that you need to solve all the problems in the house and protect your family. That to show anything except toughness means you are a failure.
However, we are all human… we all have different lived experiences…
Ever since I was a young teenager I had suffered from depression and anxiety. When I was four, I had major heart surgery, and my father died in a car accident when I was five, which was very traumatic for me.
I was the eldest of three siblings at the time. My mother remarried five years later, and they had three more children. My stepfather’s coping skills were severely challenged, and I experienced a lot of physical and emotional abuse through my teenage years.
I had a very rough time in my twenties with depression and contemplated suicide on more than one occasion. The anxiety had always been there. Fluctuating mood swings were a constant struggle; I would feel up, excited, and motivated, and then go into my depressive, anxious cave and procrastinate for weeks and weeks.
My first marriage was also very challenging. One year into our marriage my wife suffered a debilitating back injury. She had numerous surgeries, unfortunately, developed lupus disease, and suffered immensely. She made two suicide attempts.
I had always tried to cope by being positive. For years I have constantly devoured self-help books in an effort to heal, along with occasional therapy sessions.
I am a typical guy in which I attached a lot of shame and weakness to these aspects of my life, so I would keep it to myself, put on the ‘smiling’ face and just keep going! Most people had no idea what was really going on beneath the surface.
I had a particularly difficult time in 2014 when some client work did not go well. I had a pretty rough time with self-blame and guilt. I was suffering from depression, anxiety, and panic attacks, with mild thoughts of suicide. At this point, my struggles significantly impacted my work – to the extent that it cost me over $100,000 of lost revenue over a 9-month period.
We all have different lived experiences that make up who we are… we cannot go through life anymore with the belief that she will be right! We all have a responsibility to start learning skills that will help us to be mentally fit and emotionally resilient…
What are your lived experiences?
Do you want to be emotionally resilient and mentally fit?
Then it is time to take the first step… reach out…