On Mental Health and Men

Mental health is part of all of our natures, and each of us is responsible for the maintenance of our emotional, psychological, spiritual, and interpersonal health.This includes our boundaries with everyone else, and expression of our feelings towards others.. We live in a time when going to counseling has become a norm, one which few would disparage as weakness. In fact, it could be said that people with the best mental health are those who are conscious of and protective of their own mental health. They find healthy ways to maintain their mental health, including by getting counseling when they hit a rough patch.

We can look into the rear view mirror of near history at a time when men were alleged to be strong, and silent, repressing the troublesome emotions of fear, sorrow and anger. And yet, it is men who most frequently express their hot emotions inappropriately, because they haven’t dealt with them `before they explode into rage,.
Alternatively, they may live with the smoldering fires of resentment towards life, others or themselves due to life circumstances.. My own father bore the burdens of having both sons live with severe disability, chronic debilitating back pain and a career broken by life circumstances. He turned towards alcohol to drown the flailing emotions of outrage, horror and crushing disappointment. A man of his age, he smoked cigarettes beginning with the free ones he was given as a Navy corpsman in the South Pacific during WWII.

As a result of the heavy drinking and smoking, My dad developed mouth cancer. Thanks to medical malpractice, Dad was over-radiated, killing his lower jaw and mouth under his tongue,. A total of 63 operations slowly removed his jaw, and attempted unsuccessfully to rebuild his face. He quit drinking just before the cancer diagnosis and he took every punch stone sober without the benefit of counseling or peer support. My dad was a tragic hero.

Just now, the ravages of COVID has heaped greater pressure on all of us as we have handled burdens of social isolation, politics striking us asunder, and for some economic dislocation, all men and women are on the hot seat to move on with their lives with their mental health, regardless of its condition. June contains Father’s Day and is Men’s Health Awareness Month. May each of us reflect on the men in our lives and find ways to support their mental health and empathize with the circumstances of the men we love. They depend on us to do so.