When we were working on this website, I told the designers that I wanted to make sure that this was not only a safe place for women, but also for men.
Did you know that according to Psychology Today, 75% of suicide victims are men? A man will kill himself every 20 minutes. Did you also know that men abuse substances at a rate of 3 to 1? These facts are incredibly personal to me because my brother was addicted to pain pills and committed suicide. He was often times too embarrassed to get the help he needed and then too angry to hear the help he was offered. I wonder how many of you are in that same boat?
I’ve had several conversations with men in the past few weeks regarding mental health. Each of these guys is hurting, but feels helpless and alone for various reasons:
- They are afraid to be vulnerable.
- Society tells them they can’t be weak.
- Culture says they have to be the main breadwinners.
- Mental health is an emotional issue and men aren’t emotional.
- Men can compartmentalize so they don’t struggle with anxiety and depression.
- They can’t keep leaning on their spouses or they will leave.
The harrowing fact of the matter is each of the above reasons are contributing factors as to why men are not seeking and/or getting help. They are suffering in silence. Mental Health has been stigmatized for so long – and woman started to break through the stigma – but I feel like we’ve left the men high and dry.
Men, I am writing this to you. I think the first step in you getting help is “Acceptance“. Society and culture have taught that you are responsible to fix everything while still remaining in control of all of your emotions. Emotional men are weak. Unstable. Insecure. Unable to lead. We’ve told you to stuff all of your feelings deep inside and refused you the time and space to process. Then we wonder why you withdraw, check out, leave, drink, get addicted, have affairs, get angry.
I know some of you are suffering. You are hurting so badly and you are so confused. Why would a good God allow this? Why can’t He fix it? Why can’t you fix it? Have you done enough to try? Is there something else to try? Some of you feel so numb, you aren’t even sure you believe in God anymore. You are angry at yourself and that anger is getting taken out on everyone close to you. You don’t know how to talk to your loved ones about any of this because you feel like all you’ve done is take advantage of them. You wonder how much longer they will put up with you.
Acceptance. You are broken. There is not a blasted thing you can do about it. We are all broken: We live in a broken world. We won’t be fixed this side of Heaven. Jesus never promised that…so you thinking you will pray, read, attend or work this away is just not true. God is not withholding healing from you because He doesn’t think you deserve it. He believes you deserve LIFE, that’s why He sent His Son to die on the cross for your brokenness, so you could have Jesus’s life! But you have to stop fighting against your brokenness and learn to lean into it. Lean into your weakness. Don’t you remember what Paul said in the Scriptures? When he was at his weakest, he was at his strongest. How can that be? Because there is freedom in letting down the façade. You spend so much energy fighting your brokenness, hiding your brokenness, ignoring your brokenness. When you finally accept your brokenness, you can begin to use your energy to get healthy…to process the past, to understand the present and to anticipate the future. You can begin to discover your triggers and what landmines to avoid with your friends, spouses, and families. You can begin to fight against the generational baggage and offer your marriage and your children something that was never offered to you: Forgiveness, Grace, Freedom.
You know you aren’t the only man battling mental illness. Statistics say thousands upon thousands of men are suffering in silence. What if we came around you and supported you and cheered you on as you began to accept your past and who you are today and then you fight for the health of your future? What if you stopped living as a victim to your past and started pursuing the health of your future?
What does this look like?
- It looks like reaching out.
- It looks like communicating.
- It looks like community.
- It looks like counseling.
- It looks like vulnerability.
And I know for most of you, that doesn’t look fun. But what is your alternative? In an effort to look strong, are you going to lose your family? Your sanity? Your finances? Your job? Your friends? Your life? We are here and we are cheering you on, men! Real strength is found in admitting weakness. In owning weakness. And then in healing that weakness. So, are you ready? Let’s get after it together!