Getting men to ask and accept help is a subject that needs to be talked about at length. Out of this discussion, we hope to discover easy solutions to get men actively involved in their life and in the lives of their family and friends. It's a known fact that men in general don't pursue help or care on their own and have chosen to be "Unemotional or Disconnected" to life around them.
This is part two in a series to introduce why veterans/men don't accept help/care and to look at possible solutions. In part one, we took a look at Gaining an Understanding and The Culturalization of Men. In part two, we'll examine Why Men Don't Ask for Help and Possible Solutions.
Why Don't Men Ask for Help?
Men don't ask for help for a variety of reasons. The majority of these beliefs and behaviors don't hold-up when you begin questioning them. Men hold on to the beliefs far too long expecting different results.
- Men hide discomfort by becoming workaholics, alcoholics, loners, drug addicts, or by overeating.
- Often men experience physical aches and pains not realizing these are symptoms of depression, anger, or stress.
- Men feel stigmatized by other men as being weak when asking for help with mental health issues.
- Boys aren't encouraged to talk about their feelings or emotions. They perceive them as being a nuisance so they don't develop words to express them.
- It's easier to deny the truth of what you're really experiencing, if you don't acknowledge it. You don't have to deal with it if it does not exist.
- Everybody experiences aches and pain from time to time. Men's response to this is, "So what's the big issue?"
- Men are holding on to a lie, envy, greed, depression, stress, anger, fear, intimidation, shame, guilt, or something else that's affecting every aspect of their lives.
- They hold on to beliefs that because they're a male, they can achieve or engage in any activity despite their age or physical condition. They totally deny their fear, dizziness, chest pains, or danger to themselves and others.
- Staying busy all of the time is a diversion to hide a fear or inability to perform tasks you can't do perfectly.
- You abstain or become rigid in trying to deal with fears of powerlessness or losing control.
- Selective hearing, remembering, and engaging in only things that you deem pleasurable hide experiences that you have difficulty with.
- Men glorify real or fantasized accomplishments and feelings of importance to defend against a life of regret or lesser deeds.
- Redirecting your unmanageable feelings toward others is a form of uncontrollable rage.
- Service personnel are engaged in a military culture of "Toughing it out" and are reluctant to ask for mental health care.
- While serving in the military if you seek mental health care, it will undermine your career or delay your return home.
- If the spouse seeks mental health care for their active duty serviceman, it will have a negative impact on their partner's military career.
Men are only open to discussing problems that they think are normal and problems that other men are willing to share with other men. Most men would rather keep quiet and self-medicate with drugs, alcohol, and work, or just deny them. Over 26 million men are affected by depression annually and even professional athletes seek help for depression. Resources are in place within the public and private sectors to help men, but men are avoiding help at an alarming rate.
Holding onto old beliefs and behaviors and expecting them to provide the same results, a better outcome, or different solution is "Insanity!" Women and children see right through the charade!
"How you do anything is how you do everything!" T. Harv Eker
"You will not be punished for your anger; you will be punished by your anger."Buddha
"Anger is one letter short of DANGER!" Anonymous
By holding on to old beliefs and behaviors, men isolate themselves from family, friends, events, and business opportunities that aren't retrievable! A lot of decisions men make and hold onto are made out of envy, stress, greed, depression, anger, fear, shame, guilt, intimidation, or blame. These positions aren't written in stone and can be softened or changed effortlessly.
"Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured." Mark Twain
Boys learn at an early age how to lie to themselves and others, deny the truth, and to do whatever it takes to be a survivor. At some time in your life, you'll be faced with these questions.
- Are my learned beliefs and behaviors still serving me today? If so, how and why?
- Ok, so you weren't rewarded for expressing your feelings and emotions. So now what?
- If my past beliefs determine who I am now, why am I allowing these beliefs and behaviors to run my life?
- Am I willing to change the things in my life that no longer serve me and who I interact with daily? If the answer is yes, when am I willing to sit down to work through old beliefs and behaviors?
Men need to learn how to ask powerful questions and to connect with quotes to trigger the mind and awaken creative possibilities. This is only a beginning process and an opportunity to change your mindset. It won't work for every man and that's OK. One thing that we know for sure is that you're not going to force a man to do anything that he's set his mind against. Why not be one of those men who isn't preoccupied with the past and who's open to creating an extraordinary future?
"The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, and the activity of making them, changes both the maker and the destination." John Schaar
This is where the rubber hits the road! We're not talking about a quick-fix process or one-size-fits all approach. It's going to take a "Radical Transformation" to engage in another behavior or belief system. Men would rather stick with an old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"! But the realization is that old beliefs and behaviors don't work with current situations and relationships.
"When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." Dr. Wayne Dyer
As men we need to be open to a few basic concepts to open our mind and change our beliefs!
- "Be the type of person you want to meet." Anonymous
- "Don't ever be too prideful to ask for help. Asking for help when you need it is one of the wisest things you can do." Anonymous
- "Raise your words, not your voice. Its rain that grows flowers, not thunder." Rumi
- "Anger will disappear just as soon as thoughts of resentment are forgotten. John Dryden
- It's essential as we begin our lifelong journey of transformation to ask a few basic questions to initiate a radical shift in consciousness.
- Are my beliefs and behaviors a fit for what's true for me now?
- Do I absolutely know that my beliefs and behaviors are a truth that serves me and others in my life?
- When questioned about my beliefs and behaviors, how do I react?
- Who would I be without my past beliefs and behaviors?
When you're able to sort through your past, you'll usually find that some things happened differently than you remembered as a child. You acquired your set of fight or flight survival beliefs and behaviors at childhood and added to them during your life. You applied them to every situation and relationship whether they worked or not.