Men have huge egos, fed by the modern society, the media and what we watch on TV, our fathers, our mates... this painted picture of what it takes to be a 'real man' is defeating us.
There is a framework showing how men cope with mental health concerns (particularly depression) in ways that escalate - the 'big build'. It is suggested that men initially begin with 'acting in' behaviours, such as 'avoidance' (e.g. overwork), 'numbing it' (through drug or alcohol use) and 'escaping it' (through increased risk-taking behaviours like gambling or having extra-marital affairs).
A question that keeps running round and round in my mind is - how many other young men like myself are out there worried, not wanting to go to the doctors and unsure what they're checking for/how often do they need to check and what to do if they find something.
As it turns out International Men's Day focuses 'on men's and boy's health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting positive male role models.' Which is fine. Count me in. What becomes alarming is what 'promoting gender equality' actually means in this context.
If he chose to reveal himself and his status, then that would be a story, and a positive story at that. But it is certainly not his responsibility to do so, despite what The Sun might think and who have, in the process, potentially helped undo years of work battling the stigma attached to HIV.
I had a number of tests which came back showing that I had a low sperm count. I felt devastated that this was happening to us and we had no control over it. We were told we would not be able to have children and advised to go down the donor route.
It's never easy to talk about having a fertility problem, and many people who have difficulty conceiving prefer not to tell anyone beyond their very close family and friends. Now, a new study has revealed quite what a taboo subject infertility still is for many men.
Did you know that bowel cancer is the UK's second biggest cancer killer? Each year more than 41,000 people are diagnosed with the disease, but if caught early, more than 90% of cases can be treated successfully. That's why I'm supporting Beating Bowel Cancer's Decembeard campaign.
We need to get to the point that men feel as at ease talking about their mental health as they would a broken arm. We need to help men equate seeking help not with weakness, but with doing something that shows courage and strength. It is, after all, profoundly brave to face up to something as stigmatised as a mental health problem. Ultimately, we have to acknowledge that big boys can and do cry. And that's okay.
Writing this blog has given me the opportunity to think quite a lot about it and, my honest answer, God knows! I like that there are so many variations of what a real man is now, I like that we have baking shows on television and two of the top three contestants are men, I like that our role as men is not defined and it looks like it will forever evolve and very much for the better.
The truth is I care deeply about fighting for women's equality and I will do all I can to use my expertise to do this in my time in Parliament. I won't apologise for that. But I also care about issues that affect men and I will do all I can to make this better too. After all I'm a woman, I can multitask.
The fact that there is, unbelievably in 21st Century Britain, still a taboo surrounding mental illness. Taken along with late presentation of symptoms, and the availability of treatment, it represents one of the main reasons for poor outcomes. Is this problem worse among men? My own experience as both a GP and as an MP would tend to suggest that it is...
November, it seems, has become of the unofficial month of men across the world. Movember has become a big deal for raising awareness about cancer, International Men's Day day takes place on 19 November and throughout the month The Huffington Post UK will be partnering with the Being A Man festival, which takes place at London's Southbank Centre. There's a lot of good issues related to being a man, but by starting a conversation about the tough ones too means there's a huge opportunity to create something wonderful. None of us should be worried about championing men or applauding and rewarding them. Let us be inspired by the great man Herbert Spencer who I mentioned earlier and work together make a society a place that enables us all to start building modern men.
I am on the precipice of full time addiction and the glimpse I had over the top has scared me beyond belief. I came home with a plan of attack but that's when it became clear to me, that I needed to revisit my OCD experiences and formulate a plan that didn't so much deal with the addiction but addressed what had caused me to start down that road at all.
The year was 2005. I was 15 and in my 10th year of schooling. This was the year I threw up for the first time from tequila shots, first awkwardly kissed a girl at a house party, and I was diagnosed with testicular cancer...
It was nine years ago today that I said goodbye to him for that last time, after making a difficult decision to get on my scheduled flight from Osaka back to Manchester. I did that knowing that I would never see him again. The knowledge of how lucky he was to have her and her care for him is my comfort. And that's all I need.