“I don’t need no shrink….”
“Get over it and move on.”
“Real men can handle their problems.”
And on, and on.
I have heard all of these statements and more when men are in public or around the fellows. This is especially true in barber shops and while attending sporting events.
However, the narrative changes when men call me for counseling. Their voices are shivering, some are even crying, while others sound very uncomfortable.
So the first thing I try to do is alleviate any guilt, shame, or distressing feelings associated with attending therapy. This also allows me to establish rapport.
Once there is a level of rapport and comfort established I probe to get an idea of why they need therapy. I make it my business to de-stigmatize the therapeutic process. After the de-stigmatization process I covey to men that asking for help is not a sign of weakness.
Asking for Help Is Not a Sign of Weakness
If you are a man reading this page please understand my brother…asking for help is not a sign of weakness. As a matter fact, from a licensed therapist prospective I welcome and beg of you to ask me for help because it shows your strength. In addition to this it empowers you to change and increase the chances of living out your best life.
I believe there are five reasons why you should ask for help if you and/or someone that cares about you suspect symptoms of mental illness. You should ask for help because of: Family, Friends, Faith, Failures, and the Future.
Asking for help for your family
The main reason why most wives, mothers, and family members reach out to me is because they are concerned. But many men take it to mean they cannot handle life or deal with the pressures today. If a loved one is asking you to get a mental health evaluation they are seeking your highest interest, not declaring you as being weak.
Asking for help for your friends
It has been said, “That a friend loves at all times and brother is born for adversity.” Any real friend loves and wants you to be at your best. If your arm was broken you would allow a friend to drive you to the hospital. But when your emotions are broken and you should also want that same friend to drive you to a therapist for help?
Listen to the people that love you. I heard a famous person once say, “Most people need a good mirror or good friend to be honest with them” don’t ignore your friends get help today.
Ask for help because of your faith
When I speak of faith I am not necessarily talking about belief system, although that is important.
The faith I am speaking of is your ability to believe in the process of therapy. That once you start you will remain consistent, even if it does not feel comfortable.
Like developing your ability to play sports, going to therapy also requires development. You must develop an attitude of vulnerability. You must develop humility and be willing to accept constructive feedback. You must develop an openness and be inclined to really share the problem without feeling embarrassed. I am not here to judge you, but to help you.
Ask for help because of your failures
No one likes to fail, I hate it and most men don’t like it either. It is one thing to fail on a test, on a job, or fail at achieving a goal. It is another thing to experience emotional failure.
When we fail emotionally as men it leads to lack of self-care, drug addiction, alcoholism, abusive issues, risky behavior, and even suicide.
If you feel that you have failed as a man or you are reading this page and know of a man who may have or is experiencing emotional failure they may need to be referred to a professional for help.
It is better to refer, then to defer assistance. Don’t be afraid to admit that life has dealt a blow to your ego. You have too much at stake. Your failure is not final or fatal because we can help you fix it.
Ask for help because of your future
I would like to equate the future to procrastination or waiting until it is the right time to seek help. Many people think they have time but their end is quickly approaching as you will see in the story below.
I remember when one of my aunt’s became ill and was taken to the hospital. I received a phone call from my sister about the situation. I figured that I had time so I stopped to get my aunt some flowers hoping to cheer her up.
When I made it to her room everyone’s eyes was blood shot read. They were all very sullen. I was in shock when my sister whispered to me that my aunt passed away minutes before I made it to her room. Right after she told me that I looked next to her bed and saw the cadaver.
Then my cousin told me, “Put the flowers in there with her…she likes flowers.”
I thought I had time and I had good intentions. But in the end I never had the chance to see my aunt alive again. In essence, I took for granted that I would see my aunt again.
I cannot tell you how important it is for you to get help as soon as possible. It is a cliché but so true, “Tomorrow is not promised to you.” The only future you have is right now.
In the final analysis, asking for help is not a sign of weakness. After reading this section you may be wondering, “Okay I got it…asking for help is not a sign of weakness…but what am I asking for?” “How do I know if I have a mental illness and what type of mental illness do I have?”
In the next sections I will cover signs of mental illness in men. If you suspect that you or someone you know is dealing with a particular area of mental health problems and would like more information please hit the contact button at the end of this page. I am willing to answer any questions you may have.
Some of the common mental illnesses in men include:
Substance Abuse in Men
When I speak of Substance Abuse I am not referring to just your average weekend drinker. I am referring to someone who has become addicted to the any substance and cannot stop. To be more exact substance use disorder according to Johnna Medina, Ph.D. “is a problematic pattern of using alcohol or another substance that results in impairment in daily life or noticeable distress.” There is a great deal of attention on opioid usage today but substance abuse in men can also lead to domestic violence and abusive behavior against children within those families. If you suspect someone is struggling with substance abuse of any kind reach out to us today.
Schizophrenia in Men
I can member the first time I worked with a guy who was schizophrenic. He looked normal, nice guy, but the more he talked. The more I recognized the disorder. Two of the main characters of Schizophrenia is delusions (strange beliefs) and hallucinations (experiencing something that does not exist). Therapy is helpful with medication management. For some it can seem comical, but schizophrenia in men is a serious condition that impacts cognitive functioning and reduces overall quality of life. If you know of anyone struggling with this disorder link them to a qualified professional as soon possible.
Personality Disorders in Men
Personality Disorders in Men are marked by emotional uncertainty, feelings of worthlessness, self-doubt, impulsivity, and compromised social relationships. These disorders are developed as children to help navigate their surroundings. In addition to our environment, personality disorders in men can also be traits that are passed down from parents to us. If you’ve dealt with abuse or mental illness runs in your family you may be susceptible to having a personality disorder. Should you have further questions or need guidance contact us now.
Sexual Dysfunction in Men
Okay men, I know for some this is an embarrassing area. However, you are not alone more than three million men suffering from this type of dysfunction condition. Many people harp on erectile dysfunction, but there are several other types of sexual dysfunction in men. For instance, delayed or inhibited ejaculation causes men not reach orgasm. One of the reasons I am discussing sexual dysfunction is because it is also a cognitive condition that is treated with psychotherapy and medication management. Isn’t it time that you sought assistance through qualified professional.
PTSD in Men
Prior to PTSD this disorder was known as Shell Shock because soldiers were exposed to shellfire during World War I. Much like PTSD, the symptoms included: tremors, nightmares, confusion, social isolation, and other indicators. PTSD in men is not only associated with combat soldiers but victims of sexually trauma, persons who’ve witnessed horrific accidents, involvement in a natural disaster, someone being held gunpoint and other major life altering situations. This is not a condition that you just “get over” men suffering with PTSD need a skillful therapist to guide them to their healing place. Why don’t you start now?
Eating disorders in Men
I will admit that eating disorders are often associated with females. However, eating disorders in men is very prevalent. According to the National Association for Males with Eating Disorders:
-25-40% of people with eating disorders are males (Hudson, 2007).
-As many men as women want to change their weight (Andersen, 2000).
-Men engage in eating-disordered behaviors nearly as often as women (Mond, 2013).
-Eating disorders assessment tests underscore males (Darcy, 2014).
-Additionally, prevalence of eating disorders in males is greater than estimated because men are often too stigmatized to seek treatment for “women’s problems.” (Cohn, 2013)
The facts are the facts if this is an area of weakness for you let us help you overcome.
Depression in Men
Many times when we think of depression the image of someone slumped over crying, having thoughts of suicide, feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or loss of interest in pleasurable activities come to mind. While those signs are all true, depression in men can also take the form of Irritability, fatigue, restlessness, and trouble sitting. As a matter of fact there are several different types of depression you may not be aware of. If these symptoms are occurring everyday, throughout most of the day for two weeks that means you need to seek counseling immediately.
Anxiety in Men
One of my favorite affirmations is, “Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God and then the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your heart and mind through Christ Jesus.” With that being said, anxiety in men can emerge as the complete opposite e.g. racing thoughts, lack of concentration, fear, palpitations, insomnia and more. As a matter of fact, anxiety can be so pervasive until a person has panic attacks. Right now if you are dealing with anxiety issues or know of someone that suffering with anxiety we are willing, capable, and available to assist.
ADHD in Men
I remember when this diagnosis became popular back in the 80’s because of the medication Ritalin. However, ADHD is no longer just linked to children. Statistics show that more 10 million adults have been diagnosed with this disorder. ADHD in men includes symptoms such as: difficulty with organizing things, Struggles to follow through with instructions, excessive talking, aggression, mood swings and other indicators. For information about becoming more organized as well as learning techniques to manage your ADHD reach out to us today.
In conclusion, I would like to end this by stating that a male therapist is a wife and girlfriend’s best helper. What I mean by that is as a male therapist can be a listening ear to your concerns while helping your man become more emotionally and psychologically stable. To the men reading this I would like to thank you for investing in yourself to get the help you need. Book a session today.