Warriors of the Light

It’s time for men to wake up and get real about mental health. We need to start talking about overall wellbeing, not just physical health.

Due to the stigma associated with mental health and how it is perceived in society, many men suffer alone and in isolation. We keep things to ourselves as we feel people will say there is something wrong with us, or that we are weak.

Conversations among men need to change. We need to move past the superficial chats about Manchester United, Conor McGregor and exaggerated Tinder encounters. We need to start talking about our feelings.

Young men are four times more likely to die by suicide than our female counterparts. This is a fact. Interestingly enough, young women are four times more likely to engage in non-fatal self-harm. Both sexes suffer equally from issues pertaining to mental health, but it’s the lethality of the manifestation of men’s ill-mental health that is so tragic. Men don’t talk, men terminate.

As a result of societal norms, we can be the last to speak up about our struggles. This originates in our warrior mentality. Historically, men saw other men as friends, foes or unknowns. Strong men traditionally killed their foes. Society lauded, rewarded and elevated these strong men. Weak men were pitied, ridiculed and ostracised. Today, men find it almost impossible to ask for help. We keep our feelings to ourselves and suffer in isolation, even-though our emotions are valid, real and significant. This is ridiculous, hypocritical and very dangerous. We all know how we feel, but very few of us are comfortable talking about our feelings. We don’t want to show weakness in front of our peers (who ironically may well be suffering with similar issues).

There is nothing abnormal about men experiencing ill-mental health. Health is health and we all have it, good and bad. Nobody is immune; that person does not exist. Our reluctance to discuss mental health issues can turn potentially manageable situations into tragedy.

It’s okay not to be okay. Nobody’s perfect. There is no such thing as superman.

If you are reading this and you are currently struggling with your mental health, I encourage you to speak with a friend or family member. Do not keep your pain to yourself. Mental illness is difficult enough to contend with without having to suffer in isolation. Opening up about our struggles doesn’t show weakness - it actually demonstrates strength.

If you do not need someone, be someone. We are all in this together and we need to start talking. A problem shared is a problem halved.

Let’s show compassion and empathy towards one another. Let’s share love and understanding.

Let’s be Warriors of the Light.

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