Men cry, have panic attacks, are insecure, self-harm, have eating disorders, go to therapy, suffer trauma, have body issues, are abused, need love and affection. All humans feel an incredible array of emotions so why is it that for some men aren’t supposed to have them. Why aren’t we allowed to show vulnerability? why aren’t we allowed to show love and affection to others without the fear of being mocked? Don’t get me wrong we’ve come a long way in the last few years but there is still a long way to go.
I don’t think I paid much attention to posts like this before I got injured. Being the main bread winner and career focused, my wife followed me where I went for the betterment of my career. The man of the house. When we had a miscarriage. I tried to man up. Arm round my wife when she wanted it. Very minimal talk about feelings. Drank a bit more than usual when everyone went to bed. Tried to block out the thoughts in my head at all costs. When I got injured, this started to change though. I couldn’t hold it in all the time because the pain was too much. I had to rely on others to do even the basic of tasks. I was vulnerable and open for attack. Or that’s what I thought. I would snap at some of the smallest things and withdrew myself from most interactions. Including from my wife and my son. I was using the excuse of being immobile but to be truthful I didn’t want anyone to see how weak I truly was. Even if it was pretty obvious already. The first time I completely broke down was after an appointment with the doctor. I had picked up my prescription and dropped it under the car. I bent down to pick it up was completely locked in position due to excruciating pain. I managed to scramble into the car and drive around to where my wife was working. I rang her and asked her to come outside. When she got to me, I just burst into tears. I couldn’t hold back the emotions. I just let it all go. It was such a relief. She picked me up out of the car and held me while I just let it all out. I had never felt so vulnerable in my life. But the fact she just held me. No judgement. Just the love and care that I needed. This was probably the start of the changes in the way I approach problems. No more hiding. It’s tough. I still find myself going back to the default response of ‘man up princess’. But it’s not the right thing to do. I used to use the phrase a lot. It now pains me to hear it. The changes not only help me but are helping others around me. My wife knows now that if I have a problem, I’ll be open about them and tell her. I don’t hide anything from my sons too. I let them know when something is wrong. I do this so I hope they can come to me about anything and everything.
Getting people to be open and honest about their issues is always going to be a problem. But it doesn’t mean we can’t try. We can try take the stigmas away. We can make safe environments for people to be able to do it without prejudice. We can actively encourage those in need to take that little step forward by talking to someone, or writing, about what it is that’s troubling them. This is what we want to do with Buddy Check. Our free membership area is there for people to be able to be open and honest about what is troubling them. A place where they know that the person at the other end knows the journey they’ve been on and what can be done to help them turn onto the right path.