Elijah Winn is an environmental earth and soil science sophomore and Mustang News opinion columnist. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Mustang News.
You don’t have to be trapped in the facade of emotional masculinity.
There should be more of a willingness to foster environments, among men, that radiate warmth and hospitality so men are more willing and comfortable to open up. According to the Centers of Disease and Control, In the United States, an average of 10 percent more women receive mental health treatment than men, a discrepancy that in no doubt exists because of the long history of seeing women as ‘hysterical’ and men as characteristically impassive.
We have to start addressing the mental health struggles of men, and the a According to the Centers of Disease and Control, In the United States, an average of 10 percent more women receive mental health treatment than men, trauma and hurt shoved under the rug for centuries. It starts by opening up and creating communities where emotions are not a weakness, but a strength.
To paint a picture, I have recently gone through a tumultuous time in my life, experiencing one of those quintessential heartbreaks. During the first week, I struggled silently. After my day-to-day attitude lost its effervescence, I was capsized on a lonely island of my own making. I wrestled with my silence daily and finally, it all came out to the right person— A person that I had never opened up to before.
To say that I talked with him would be an understatement. For two hours, I emotionally vomited on someone after hours and days of confining myself to silence. Sitting there, slightly dazed, I had several revelations.
The baseless masculine indoctrination of silence is cruel. It can ruin relationships; it can ruin people; it can ruin lives.
While there is a fine line between opening up to someone and purely seeking pity, I would argue that pity in the first stages of any sort of emotional pain can be beneficial. It is so exclusively human to want pity and one should not be afraid of it. However, relying too much on it can be dangerous and addictive.
The first step is speaking up. It takes more courage to speak up than to shut down and keep silent. It may seem like you’re burdening people with your struggles or like people don’t care, but they do. The act of inviting others in is simple, yet still incredibly difficult. Sometimes things aren’t okay and that is okay to admit.
It seems that men neglect to share, either from assumptions of “no one caring” or the adherence to traditional societal notions. It should not be inherently masculine or feminine to want or seek help. It is, however, inherently damaging to restrict that human need based on the gender of a person.
Weakness and shame should not be cast on men who seek help by other men. It takes a strong man to accept help, however most men are often trapped by societal restraints.
In college, a huge failing of men today is the determination to adhere to traditional male stoicism in the face of trauma and sadness. Vulnerability and openness is not failure. The true test of a man is being able to open up and lean on others during troubled times.