I can now understand much better why the suicide rate for men is about 1.7 times that of women, and wanted to quickly write about it in the hopes that if anyone else is out there going through it they go get help.
I wrote it as a field report (sort of) because it's a real example of something I just experienced.
This week it was my birthday. My birthday has never been a good time for me as I have little contact with my family, I’m divorced (although happy about that) and have zero solid friends I can call if I have a problem. I’m a musician and fitness guy and know lots of people but the relationships are quite superficial. Recently I got myself into a business situation that has been causing me a lot of stress and I think the birthday just tipped me over the edge into a pretty dark depression. Darker than I've been in a long time.
I was driving my kids to school Thursday morning and literally going over scenarios. Asking myself how I would do it, what would be the most effective method. Effectively problem solving my own death. When I said good bye to my kids I seriously considered driving myself to a hospital for a 72 hour lockdown because that’s the state of mind I was in and had decided to end it with a hose through the window of my car.
Needless to say, I’m still here. One thing I know a lot about is physiology and I also basically told myself I needed to get through the day. I focused on work and after using some things to make me feel better (music and working out usually does the trick) I made it. Scared the crap out of me though.
I thought tonight about that stupid Gillette commercial that everyone freaked out about last week and thought about the expectations that are placed on men in today’s society. We are expected to be strong emotional rocks. We don’t have anyone who will seriously listen to our issues unless it’s another guy. Partners, wives, girlfriends forget about it. If anything, we teach men that if they have an issue and need help they should just suck it up and get over it. So we are much less likely to reach out in a time of serious crisis. Women attempt suicide more, but have much more of a support network so they get rescued a lot. Men are problem solvers and get the job done, even if it involves ending your life.
Even with my dark thoughts the prevailing attitude was “suck it up and get through it” when what I likely should have done was actually call a doctor, or anyone and go get actual help. I’ve taken steps now to address the underlying causes and have a couple of people watching out for me.
We are raised in a world by women (mostly) where emotional outbursts are wrong. Men don’t cry. Men don’t need help. Men are supposed to be able to weather the storm and suck it up. Terry Crews recently was in the media about his sexual harassment and got mocked. Men get abused by their partners all the time and people just laugh at them. No wonder we sometimes feel like nobody would listen anyway and so what’s the point of talking to anyone. And then you spiral down and it’s too late and the hose is in the window of the car in the garage.
This is also why men need a strong group of men in order to have support and help. I’d suggest anyone here who doesn’t have a strong social network of other males take steps to create one. There’s tons of resources for that available. Sports, meetup groups, guys at the gym, classmates, etc. Don’t be that guy sitting alone with nobody to call if or when depression actually hits.
Also remember that it’s not “beta” to admit you need help. Alpha males kill themselves too. There’s no way you can make your mission better and improve your life (or anyone else’s) if you’re dead. I have two little girls that would have been left behind and thinking about that helped change my mind. I also know I actually have a pretty good life. But brain chemistry can be an awful thing.
If you're reading this and can relate, feel free to post up and let the others here know how you managed it. It might go a long way towards saving another man's life so that we can get that 1.7 times statistic lower.