He was sitting behind his desk at work and his chest started to feel like bricks were piling up on top of it; he was sweating, experiencing shortness of breath, and had a headache. Furthermore, he hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in weeks. He sat there fearful that he was having a heart attack and was going to die. Only, it wasn’t a heart attack it was anxiety.
Men suffer from anxiety as much as women do, loss of control, stress and major life changes are some reasons that contribute to anxious feelings in men. The pressures of maintaining a ‘macho persona’ make it hard for men to get help or admit that they are struggling with anxiety. Consequently, many suffer in silence. Hiding your anxiety increases your stress and can worsen the symptoms. Impatience, irritability, insomnia, body aches, fatigue, and digestive issues are common symptoms men who struggle with anxiety face. Societal conditioning has contributed to the façade many men maintain that: they are invincible, they don’t need the cajoling that women do, and they don’t need a therapist to tell them what to do.
During a conversation with a young man yesterday he shared with me that he thought he might be struggling with anxiety. He also mentioned that he has been keeping his problems a secret because he is ashamed and didn’t want his friends and coworkers to think he is a ‘wimp.’ In his words, “it’s better to tell people you don’t know.” Unfortunately, sometimes this can be true; the decision to get help is courageous, and it’s liberating, but it may cost you some judgment. What’s ironic is that the same people who judge you for your struggle are typically the same ones to criticize you for not getting help when you fall apart.
So, if you’re not comfortable telling the ones you know, then tell someone you don’t know! Get Help!.