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Why We Continue To Love Men With Mental Health Issues

04/11/2016 17:28

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As women we are brought up to be the nurturing sex. To openly discuss and display our emotions. To allow ourselves to show our physical and mental vulnerabilities. Men, unfortunately, are not.

You are told not to show or talk about your feelings. To have bigger muscles than the next guy. To be the strongest and most confident man in the room.

You're brought up being taught that as a man, you need to fix things; whether they're physical or mental issues. The problem comes when you are faced with a broken mind that can't be fixed with a hammer or a shot of whisky. It's no wonder so many of you are dying in silence each year.

If you're 45 years old and under, suicide is statistically more likely to cause your death than a car or motorbike accident. And yet, we're still telling you to toughen up. But here's what we're not telling you; we love you.

Despite your mental health issues, we love you. Truly. Madly. Deeply.

We love the whole of you, not just the positive parts or only when you're smiling. We love you even when you're broken and you need putting together again. More importantly, we love you even when you think you're unloveable.

You are not useless or pathetic. Nor stupid or lazy. You are ill and it isn't your fault. We know it's incredibly difficult for you to admit to struggling with life and needing help but I promise you that once you take that difficult first step, it will get better. Your doctor can suggest therapies. Your mates won't think you're weird (they're probably struggling themselves) and most importantly, it won't stop us loving you. Quite the opposite. Admitting you need help and accepting it is one of the bravest things you can do and it will only make us love you more.

Just because you think everyone around you has their lives together, it doesn't make it true. There are hundreds of thousands of high-functioning sufferers like you out there continuing to hold down jobs, families and social lives whilst deeply struggling with our mental health. Theodore Roosevelt once said "Comparison is the thief of Joy" meaning that the more you attempt to compare yourself to others and see their life through rose-tinted glasses, the worse your suffering is likely to be. It's hard to admit that you're struggling to a mate when you have a nice house, car and family and we understand. We know you feel guilty and frustrated that those described nice things can't fix your mental health problems but they are two different parts of your life and one can't fix the other.

Talking about your mental health is like throwing a stone into a calm lake; you never know just how far those ripples will flow. If you speak up to your mates, to us or your colleagues, there will be so many others thankful that you had the courage to talk, cry and get help.

So many of us who will see you as an inspiration instead of a burden because the strength we love you for isn't when you're suffering in silence, it's when you show your vulnerability and ask for help. It takes courage to admit that you're not okay but #boysdocry and it won't stop us loving you when you share your tears and frustrations with us; it will only serve to make us love you more.

Despite your mental health issues, we love you.
Truly.
Madly.
Deeply.

HuffPost UK is running a month-long focus around men to highlight the pressures they face around identity and to raise awareness of the epidemic of suicide. To address some of the issues at hand, Building Modern Men presents a snapshot of life for men, the difficulty in expressing emotion, the challenges of speaking out, as well as kick starting conversations around male body image, LGBT identity, male friendship and mental health.

To blog for Building Modern Men, email ukblogteam@huffingtonpost.com. If you would like to read our features focused around men, click here

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