3 People Men Should Talk to About Feeling Anxious
Clinical Depression and Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a serious concern among men. In Asia, more so it is an issue because many Asian societies expect the man to be strong and not suffer from mental health. There are several common myths around a man’s ability to cope alone, and this piece aims to quash them all.
- What Does Anxiety Look Like?
Anxiety can affect a man’s life at different levels, but it’s the same condition across ethnic origins and gender. As an emotion, anxiety is normal and necessary. It’s the human body’s way of letting us know when something’s not right and needs our attention. Chronic generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), though, is different. It’s an ongoing abnormal condition that tells us something is wrong when there’s not, at least not in the real world.
Symptoms—to a greater or lesser extent—manifest in a range of uncomfortable feelings. These typically encompass nervousness, dread, panic, and worry. Thus, anxiety disrupts a man’s thoughts, moods, and behaviours. There are three basic types, i.e., Reality, Moral, and Neurotic, and they all have the potential to harm.
- It’s Time to Talk, Gentlemen
It’s always been difficult for men to talk about health issues related to the mind. Much of this is due to patriarchal cultures and expectations on the menfolk. Thankfully, these old stigmas are fast becoming a thing of the past. Today, men are much more open about mental health issues. Despite that, cultural context (especially in Asia) and the concept of normality still play a significant part in diagnosis and treatments.
Below are the three people men should talk to about GAD.
- Someone you trust, e.g., a close friend or family member
- A qualified medical professional
Not talking or refusing to seek help is not an option anymore.
#1 Talk to yourself; question your state
This step is not as whacky or as hard as it sounds. It doesn’t mean you need to have a conversation with yourself out loud, though you can if you want to. The purpose of this exercise is to have you question your state of mind. It’s how you differentiate between what’s normal and what’s not. Self-denial has always been a setback for men. Hence, an honest self-evaluation helps to prepare you for discussing GAD with others. Take your time with this.
Here are 4 questions to get you thinking about your candid internal dialogue or self-talk:
- Be honest. What are your fears exactly? Be as specific as possible.
- What are the likely adverse consequences of yet more inaction?
- How do you feel emotionally on a scale of 1–10 most days?
- Identify any “irrational” beliefs
Consider writing stuff down as it comes into your head for future reference, and so you don’t forget.
#2 Talk to someone you trust
There’s an adage that says a problem shared is a problem halved, and it’s true. Talking to someone you trust about anxiety and fears can offer tremendous relief. It’s a simple approach, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Men are not known for sharing their feelings, but millennials are getting much better at it.
If talking to someone familiar is difficult, you could also talk about it here at Mantor and the community will help you get through this. In Singapore, there’s the new 24/7 National Care Hotline with over 500 empathetic volunteers. They received over 6,600 calls in the first month, many of which were related to anxiety issues. Other countries in the region will have something similar.
#3 Talk to a qualified medical professional
Sometimes, talking to qualified medical professionals about your anxious feelings can help. This approach is recommended for chronic (long-lasting) sufferers, and when nothing else helps. Medical experts can help to educate their patients so they can better understand their symptoms. Treatment might also include one-to-one coaching, therapy, and ongoing support for as long as needed. Therapists may also suggest medication in some instances.
Don’t suffer in silence. The causes of anxiety in men are many and varied, but it rarely exists in and of itself. In other words, anxiety is usually the result of other underlying problems. That could be suppressed emotions, hiding secrets, ignoring fears, or self-denial. Whatever the reasons, anxiety and stress can be crippling if left to fester.
In the past, whenever you have felt anxious - who is the one person that you’ve spoken to and how did it end up helping with your anxiety? To be posted with regular updates from Mantor find us on Instagram and Facebook.