Let me tell you something you don’t know.
That’s right. We struggle with stress at work, with our relationships, with our self-confidence and self-esteem, even with our mental health.
Every single day, men everywhere are putting on a mask and pretending they’re ok
Laughing, joking, being strong and dependable, while inside they are hurting, perhaps even despairing, and struggling to cope. And you didn’t even realise it.
Wait, what do you mean you knew? Who told you?!?
And why didn’t you tell us???
It’s ridiculous isn’t it? Of course you knew. We all know that men struggle, because, well, because we’re human. Because we’re alive and life isn’t easy. Yet still so many of us don’t feel we can admit to our struggles.
No, we have to carry our burdens ourselves, force down our ‘feelings’ (ugh, feelings, men don’t do them, right…??? I think you know the answer to that one as well…). We have to carry on as normal, get on with it, ‘be a man’. We can’t be weak.
Well I’m calling it our for what it is. Utter b….. I’ll let you fill in the blank.
I know from the many years I worked in boxing, that even the toughest among us struggle. I know how it feels to be at your lowest having been consumed by depression, and I know just how hard it is to face each day with its crushing weight upon you. I know just how much strength it takes to overcome our struggles.
And I know that we can pick ourselves up and not only survive, but thrive BECAUSE OF our struggles.
I also know just how important it is to be able to admit that we are struggling, and to ask for help. None of us wants to carry our burdens alone, keep our pain locked inside, eating away at us. But so many of us feel we have to.
It has to change.
We need to feel heard, understood, cared for and supported. We need to feel we’re not alone; that we’re not weak, mad, or less of a man. We need to know that struggling is normal, that we can get through it, and that we don’t have to struggle on our own.
I’m speaking up. It’s time to get real.
And I’m not just speaking to the men, I’m talking to the women too.
You know how it can be hard to get men to listen sometimes can’t it? Hard to get them to pay attention. Hard to get them to get help. Hell, it’s hard enough to get them to accept that they might, just might, need it.
We all struggle sometimes, but seeking help? Nah.
‘I don’t need help’
‘I’ll beat it on my own’
And if and when us men do finally pluck up the courage to admit we’re struggling, when we do finally seek help, it’s often due to the urging of the women in our life (and here I should say, thanks Mam, for making me go to see the doctor after months of struggling back in 2006).
It can be hard for us fellas. We’re not supposed to show ‘weakness’. We’re meant to be the strong ones, we’re meant to be there for you. We’re not supposed to cry; it’s our shoulders that are for made for crying on, not yours.
So we pretend everything is okay. Some of us get bloody good at it. But really, it doesn’t do us any favours. And it can be hard to fool you for long. You know. But what can you do about it?
If you are a man who’s struggling, or if you are a woman that’s worried about a man in your life – a son, brother, husband, friend, colleague – then I have created something to help.
Because when we know we’re not alone, when we know someone else ‘gets it’, when we know that we won’t be judged or laughed at or considered to be weak or mad, then the weight we carry can begin to be lifted. We can talk, and we can face how we feel.
Real men feel.
So I am talking about why it’s so difficult for men to open up and seek help, about my own experiences of depression and what helped me through it. About the importance of the stories that we tell ourselves about who we are, and that change is always possible.
We can do this.
Click the link to get access to my Real Men Feel video series now.
Take care, Matthew.
Matthew Williams is an author, speaker and coach. He lives in the North East of England with his two young children. After overcoming a series of life-changing plot twists he is passionate about positive change, and turning life’s challenges into lessons for creating a better future. His book, Something Changed: Stumbling Through Divorce, Dating and Depression, is available now in eBook and paperback versions, from Amazon. He has also developed the unique online personal development programme, Change, which uses the power of your personal story to help you to create the life you love. For more information please visit change.afamiliarstranger.co.uk.
Image courtesy of Alex Green.