To My Fellow Men, Let’s Talk About Our Emotional And Mental Health
As a new father of two twin boys, the past few months have been amazing, but also emotionally challenging for me. From learning how to feed two babies at once to learning how to be a dad of twin boys, my sleep-deprived mind was in a state of panic the first few weeks my sons were home. And while there seemed to be a plethora of material specifically geared to new mothers of twins, it took a while for me to find resources geared specifically for fathers of twins written by fathers of twins.
Some of the resources which I have found to be most helpful are online fourms and social media groups specifically geared toward fathers of twins. These fourms and social media groups have been extremely helpful not just because fathers exchange suggestions on things such as the best baby monitor to buy for twins, how to soothe two crying babies at once, or funny memes related to the madness of fathering twins. But because everyone in these fourms and groups is a father of twins and we have a place to share our feelings about raising two newborns at once. In addition to speaking with friends who have twins and others in my life who understand the challenges of being a new parent and gave me a safe space to share my feelings, having this emotional support has been important to me in these transitional times in my life.
Even though there are more emotional and mental health support resources specifically geared for men than there used to be, emotional health resources specifically tailored for us men are still hard to find. Additionally, there is also still a stigma (and fear) we have as men about sharing our feelings, especially with other men. For a lot of us, our male role models as children conditioned us that sharing our feelings would make us look weak. Not to mention, if we were to even cry in front of other boys (or other men as adults) our masculinity would be placed in question. For some men, this can make it difficult in how they deal with grief, how they engage in sex and intimacy, how they deal with conflict, and how they raise their own children.
When it comes to the topic of mental health, there are additional posts I plan to write in much more detail about more specific issues relating to mental health. And over time, I would also like to share why the topic of mental health is important to me. Not to mention, why I decided to go back to graduate school and (slowly) work to become a licensed mental health counselor.
But for sake of this post, I simply want to just encourage any man that might be reading this not to hesitate in finding support if they are struggling emotionally or with their mental health—even if it’s online. Whether it’s the stress of being a new father, dealing with a relationship issue, understanding trauma from your past or struggling with other mental health issues, men should not have to struggle alone. Additionally, men should not be afraid to seek support from a licensed counselor.
Regardless of which method of seeking support seems the most helpful to you, no man should feel ashamed or embarrassed to seek support in their life. At the very least, find friends, family, or co-workers you can talk to that can be a support to you and respect your confidentiality.
Again, this can be a challenge if we had been taught that sharing our feelings makes us look weak. However, believing we can handle our emotional mental health challenges on our own is what makes us weak.
Perhaps Denver Broncos quarterback and mental health advocate Russell Wilson sums it up best. “If we start being honest about our pain, our anger, and our shortcomings instead of pretending they don’t exist, then maybe we’ll leave the world a better place than we found it.”
Mental Health Resources For Men: