Friday, July 6, 2012

Why Won't Men Get Help

Getting help is sometimes very difficult to do.  Asking for help is sometimes something that humans won't do, especially men.  I know this first hand because I was one of those men that wouldn't ask for help or seek it out.  In fact, it took me to the point of a conversion disorder before I finally acknowledged I needed help.  

I still remember when I was getting ready to move away from my therapist and she told me that I had come so far during our time of treatment together.  I was struck though by something she shared with me.  She stated to me, "most people don't go far enough with therapy.  They often come in for a few sessions and quit, just before they really get to the point where they have a breakthrough."

As boys, we are taught to have the answers, and man up or show that we are growing up to be men.  Men feel that they have to be the ones in control, never relying upon anyone for anything.  It is taught throughout our society in the same way we are taught to breathe - automatically.  Unfortunately, when we do struggle and need help, our innate learning prevents us from finding healing for our mind and our body.

In the Pacific Standard Magazine online, there was an article regarding why won't men get help.  It is almost like an aversion to therapy.  (click to read the article - Aversion To Therapy:  Why Won't Men Get Help).

A study quoted in this article showed that 56 percent of men in 1998 chose therapy to help them deal with depression.  However, by 2007 the percentage had dropped to 42 percent.  Yet, in the same time period the usage of prescription medication for depression had increased from 68 percent to 73 percent.

This is a very interesting study that was done because it shows just how difficult it is for men to go and get help.  They would rather take what seems like a magic pill, instead of dealing with the source of the problem.  I'm sure like most men, to go in and evaluate yourself, would be equated with weakness.  Even though most people could see that it is not a sign of weakness, in our society we raise boys and men to view it this way, without even knowing that we are doing this as a society.

One of the things that disturbs me personally is the usage of prescription medication in this world, especially in the US.  Even though people think that it is solving their problems, it is masking what is truly going on in the mind and body.  Every time we turn to medication as the solution to our problems, we lose a little bit more of who we are as a human being.

I would like to talk directly to men who feel it is a sign of weakness to go and ask for help.  From my perspective and what I have been through in life, it was one of the best things I could have done for myself.  It helped me to begin putting the pieces of life together in a way that helped push me further in life.  Without this, I would have turned to more mind and body numbing practices that would have only shortened my life span and left me feeling empty and lonely.

Is it easy for men to get help?  Is it easy to ask for help or go see a therapist?  No, it is not.  I won't make it sound like it is easy.  Yet, the conversion disorder showed me in a life and death way, just how critical it is to not get help.  There is no doubt that if I would have not said yes to help, that I would not be alive today or at the least, not functioning in a normal way.

In fact, I think the most manly thing someone can do is ask for help.  It is there that you recognize, there is much more potential you hold within your mind and body.  By asking for help, you are seeking out ways to become all you can be.  Isn't that what a man aspires to - becoming all they can be?  I think it is a sign of weakness when you don't get the help you need.  Have courage and take the steps necessary to finding out more about yourself, so that you can be there for your family, friends and the rest of the world in a much greater capacity.

Blog Post And Images (c) 6/27/12 by Don Shetterly

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