I briefly alluded to my depression issues in my post on Hyperfocusing. Depression makes everything seem harder. Small stresses become huge. Little problems can seem ginormous. Problems that would be legitimately tough to deal with at your best become insurmountable mountain ranges full of rampaging orcs, bloodthirsty demons, and many other monstrosities that nightmares are made of.
“Man up!”, they say, “Push through it!”, “Just choose to be happy!”
These exemplify a huge societal problem men with mental health issues have to deal with. We are expected to be tough and strong, and any sign of weakness is cause for criticism. We are suppised to be strong, both physically and mentally & to not be is seen as a flaw in our very being.
On a side note, I actually think this is the cause of the “Man Cold” phenomenon, men feel they need to be near death to admit weakness & so act like it’s worse than it is so as not to appear weak.
What people fail to recognize is that admitting I have a problem & need help IS “manning up”. It takes incredible strength to ask for help, at least it does for someone as prideful as I am. However, when people belittle your struggles you feel more alone than ever & want to hide your problems away again. I think this is a part of our natural fight or flight instinct.
Flight is the safest option. It’s easy, which is why so many choose to go back into the dark cave where you don’t get attacked by the orcs outside. What we don’t realize is that the dark cave we retreat into might feel safe from the pains of the outside worlds, it’s occupied by a far more insidious & deadly enemy waiting at the back of the cave.
It waits there silently watching your slow retreat deeper & deeper into the cave. It knows that you’ll eventually reach it & even occasionally offers encouraging words to go back out of the cave. That’s the insidious side of it. It knows you’re more likely than not to come back & every time you venture outside the cave and get hurt, you end up going deeper into the cave.
Eventually you get within its reach and it starts whispering comforting words into your ear about how it can stop the pain forever. Even then, it will keep encouraging you to leave the cave again because it’s confident you’ll be back. Every hurt outside the cave makes it more likely you’ll accept its “gift” of freedom from that pain.
Fighting the monsters & demons outside the cave is hard & you know it will hurt. While accepting the gift would be easy & painless. It’s comforting to think of making it all go away.
Unfortunately what this evil doesn’t tell you is that it doesn’t make your pain go away. It collects that pain & gives it to your loved ones, hoping to lure them into its embrace as well.
You NEED to know this. You also NEED to know that you don’t have to face the orcs, demons, and monsters alone. There are people out there that are willing to fight alongside you. There are heroes looking to save people from the beast. It’s what they do. You don’t have to fight alone. It may not be your friends and it may not be your family, but they are out there waiting to help.
PS: I’m safe, this post isn’t alluding to my current mind frame, but I have gone that deep into the cave before. I thankfully got help, but posts like this help remind me what awaits inside that cave.