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Why do Men resist Therapy?

I’ve always been around male friends and hence I’ve seen the stages of grief, expression, processing emotions men go through. No doubt the societal pressure of being the breadwinner for the family and many such norms have a negative impact on their mental health.

But taking help still seems to be a huge task even when they are there to help everybody. Even a man who helped you overcome your mental stress or who recommends therapy to you is most likely to run away when the same advice is given to him. Men resist therapy more than women do .

Since childhood, men were taught to behave in a specific way. Be strong, be there to help, be responsible, boys don’t cry, don’t be too sensitive, why are you not aggressive, don’t be scared. We often talk about how society categorises and pushes women to be a specific way. But we forget that the situation is no different for men either. They are taught to be strong all the time. But what is the definition of being strong?

The irony is that I’ve seen a guy struggling himself while telling me that holding it in is not strong, speaking it out is. But if men can actually help us out with it, listen to us, can push us to seek help, then why can’t they imply these same rules to them.

Men experience depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts and urges just like women do, yet they are much less likely to seek therapy than women are. Men frequently minimise their mental distress and often go to great efforts to avoid attending to their psychological needs, potentially upsetting their life and those of loved ones in the process. Women are more inclined to seek the help from a therapist.

The “guys would rather do X than go to therapy” meme has gained popularity on Twitter because of this persistent anti-treatment attitude.

Reasons why men might be running away from therapy.

Years and years of patriarchy harmed not only women but also set false and unrealistic expectations burdening men. The idea of seeing therapy or seeking help simply as failing to do things on your own can be considered as the root cause.

Being angry at yourself for not being okay is nothing but loving others and keeping yourself away from that love. Running back or avoiding seeking help is not going to make you okay. It might be distracting you for a while but at the end of the day, you’ll feel all that anxiety again. Here are some reasons why men might be running away from therapy.

“If I took therapy, I failed”

Human mind is complex and we cannot have it all figured out all the time. When usually we hear some people say that these mental health issues are more talked about now than earlier , it’s a fact. But not because people today are fragile but because they are aware and informed. Men associate seeking help as failure because “what’s there in this world that a man can’t do on his own”. You can’t blame yourself for not being okay. It’s not a failure , it’s simply being human. 

“Am I that weak now”

Being vulnerable is far more difficult than holding it in. How are you weak if you are trying to do something which is difficult for you to do and not exactly your comfort zone?.

I was told by a man that pretending to be strong is being much weaker, other than accepting that things are hurting you. Working on yourself, acknowledging what’s wrong and trying to heal yourself is nothing but being the strongest version of yourself. So, the next time you think that taking therapy might make you feel weak, Maybe it’s time to rethink your definition of being strong.

“ I have other more important things to concentrate on”

We all have our own list of priorities and certainly most of you will agree to this fact that the stress of making your own career is quite nerve-racking.

Men often try to put a full stop on their therapy conversation by saying that they have more important things to focus on. But this short term escaping argument is nothing but an invitation to haunt your long term growth. Let’s understand with an example.

You know your car is not working properly. Instead of taking it to the garage you decide to drive it much faster so that you can reach the destination because that seems more important. But you don’t consider the fact that ultimately you are going to run out of fuel midway or it might waste more of your time. So why not to seek help so that you know that your time is being invested in just making your journey smooth ahead.

Smart enough?

“I want to do it on my own”

A battle cannot be fought alone. Also, your therapist is not going to fight your battle on your behalf, you’ve to do it on your own. They’ll just be there to help you with some guidance. And as we can’t have it all sorted out, there is nothing wrong in taking some guidance. It’s no different than visiting a doctor when you catch a fever or asking your teacher about your mathematical doubts. When you didn’t hesitate before asking for help when it was about your physical health or career, why is it such a big deal when you are just trying to solve a problem related to your mental health.

It’s the right thing to do.

It’s not easy but it’s the right thing to do. Whenever you feel that you are weak or a failure if you need therapy, just imagine that your closest friend is in your shoes. If you would advise them to go for therapy and support them with it, why can’t you do it for yourself?

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