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For some people, this poignant scene from BBC Three's adaptation of Normal People cast a fresh perspective of loneliness and opening up. 

In the same vein as the therapist in this show, I would have to echo the sentiment … 

Contrary to stale opinions on gender, as a man you don't have to apologize for having feelings, for needing to be heard and to feel seen for who you are. You are as deserving as anyone else of kindness and a safe space. 

"In the dark
all alone
eyes sore
mouth shut
head bowed
they weep
blaming themselves for
deals gone wrong
lying about being all right
numbing emotional distress
grieving over loss
refusing any help

Yes, men do cry
but the world hardly sees"

Temi O'Sola, Love Opens Your Eyes

Lets  talk about it

Content warning: I discuss suicide in the following text.

It is no secret that men's mental health is at crisis point. In October of 2023, the Central Statistics Office  confirmed that 5284 people were registered as having died by suicide in 2022 in England alone , with 74% of those people being men. Suicide is also the biggest cause of death amongst men who are aged 45 and under. 

But what is the reason behind it? There are many reasons, varied and nuanced and very personal. The cost of living crisis, loneliness and so on are certainly contributors.  However, the red thread that seems to weave through these figures is the social role that men are thrust into: breadwinner and 'the strong one'. Growing up hearing "boys don't cry!", "be a man", being systemically taught to hide feelings and to not share vulnerability can lead a person to feel alone, to become anxious and depressed (amongst a myriad of other possible experiences).

As humans, expression is such a huge part of us. It is how we convey our boundaries, our love, our anger and even how we understand ourselves, by understanding our internal reactions to events. 

If we are shamed into ignoring feelings, or burying them it is no wonder that they may become harder to 'understand' or to sense - you might become completely out of touch with yourself. Moreover, without support of friends and loved ones, going through painful experiences is made even harder. On the other hand, if you are a man who is naturally more sensitive and more in touch with your feelings, you might have been bullied or told you were weak for having those feelings. 

Therapy can be difficult, and there is admittedly some stigma still attached to coming to therapy, especially as a man. Therapy is for everyone, feeling better is something everyone deserves. You don't have to feel alone forever. I have experience working with men from many walks of life, and I offer a confidential space for you to reacquaint yourself with your feelings that you may have disconnected with along the way, and to collaborate with you to find a way of creating that life worth living.

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