“To progress again, man must remake himself. And he cannot remake himself without suffering. For he is both the marble and the sculptor. In order to uncover his true visage, he must shatter his own substance with heavy blows of his hammer.” ~Alexis Carrel, Man, The Unknown
Look the reality is; though most of us men never like to admit it, we too get depressed, struggle with anxiety, and battle suicidal ideation and urges, yet we are far less likely than women to seek therapy. Men often downplay their bouts of mental suffering and at time. Men also go to extreme lengths to avoid tending to their mental health needs. In many cases, this avoidance has the potential to cause turmoil in their personal lives and the lives of those who love them resulting in vast amounts of suffering.
Stigma and Therapy
Men’s hesitancy about seeking therapy these days is often rooted in our outdated perceptions of masculinity and its perceived link to “strength”. Maintaining this perception forces men to uphold the notions of being models of emotional stability, financially successful, and physical protectors. But here’s the rub; our desire to be Superman is often also our Kryptonite.
Acting Tough vs. Being Strong
There’s a difference between acting tough and being strong, it’s easy to act tough by pretending that problems don’t exist or “I can take it”, and sometimes this skill set may be necessary, but it takes strength and courage to admit you might need help. Will it take time? possibly, though some people just need a little bump to get through some pretty big life adjustments. Will it be difficult? – possibly, as it’ll be different from what you may be used to and familiar with, which translates “uncomfortable” for a lot of us. In closing, I often in one form or another tell my male clients that despite these challenges; they won’t be alone, and they’ll have a guide who’s been there before with others, and yes, they’re allowed to ask– as I am sometimes most likely to have been there himself.
About Bradd Buckingham, M.A., LPC-R; Resident in Counseling:
Bradd is currently a resident in counseling providing counseling services at our Fredericksburg location. He is actively pursuing his license in Professional Counseling (LPC). Bradd is a recent graduate of The University of the Cumberlands with a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. He completed a demanding internship working with individuals and couples at Fredericksburg Counseling Services.
Bradd specializes in working with individuals with complex trauma, personality disorders, anxiety, and depression. He can offer a safe environment for individuals and families in the LGBTQ community. Bradd also works with individuals with a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds.