Question for the guys

Discussion in 'Help Me! I Need to Talk to Someone.' started by OnceRob, Jan 15, 2016.

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  1. OnceRob

    OnceRob Active Member

    Hi, I am curious to know what some of the guys on the forum think about asking for help for any mental health issues they may have. The reason I ask is that I personally find it so hard to ask anyone for help or tell anyone I am in distress, I just can’t do it so I self medicate and bottle it up. In the UK most GPs are female now, they just come across like they are only interested in female health and they even state this (special interest in women health). I know this may be misleading but for a man, especially an older guy like me I just find it intimidating and seriously unwelcoming because its just so feminised. I think that in the UK in 20 years a male Dr will be a very rare thing yet the NHS does not seem to do anything about the way it focuses health care at men. Even last week the UK government announced more mental healthcare help for women with pre natal depression and girls with anorexia, this is wonderful news and I am so happy but why not men, its like were not worth the effort because we are not valued that highly. Thats how I feel. I am from that generation where my parents had tight gender roles, I was bought up to be very respectful of women which I uphold and was always taught that men don’t show weakness, its like that British stiff upper lip that everyone bangs on about. I tried to explain this to my wife and she said I sound mad just thinking this, but its just how I feel. I just can not go to my GP, a woman (who I have a deep respect for) and ask her to help me. Does anyone else think this way, like we are taught to be tough and man up and it ends up being out downfall. It does not seem to effect younger guys the same, its like the world just seems to have changed around me and i’m stuck between the old and the new.

    Seriously , I mean no offence to anyone. Im just a normal guy with issues and I am hoping someone will answer this and help me rationalise. I am going down such a destructive path that has to end soon one way or another.
  2. sofie

    sofie Banned Member

    I know I am not a man but I hope you don't mind me answering. I have trouble telling people that I need help -- I also keep it bottled up and am afraid it will bubble out in the worst possible time through tears or anger. I think what you are saying makes COMPLETE sense and I hope you find someone to tell you need help.
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  3. OnceRob

    OnceRob Active Member

    Hi Sofie, thanks for relying. I agree with you also, I know its not easy for some women to talk about their issues as well. You kind of get so absorbed into such a destructive cycle sometimes you just expect the worse from everyone i.e. they will not give a crap even before you tell them and in my case that includes Drs. Its sad that the only times people are aware you have issues is when they notice the consequences of your issues like your anger for example. They will just think your a mean person. I am the worlds worse driver because I am always angry, for me driving at 120MPH without a seatbelt on is very common because it brings me closer to death and I like the feeling of the anxiety because its a light, a glimmer that tells me that maybe despite everything I don't really want death because I feel fear when I am facing the end.

    I wish I could give you a way to help you open up. I am confident that when you speak you make good sense, most women in my experience are intelligent, they are creative and always seem to be better educated than us guys. You have so much hidden talent and deep beauty and all you need is a way to discover this. The right person will understand you, they will listen and help you make sense of your feelings.
  4. JmpMster

    JmpMster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    I am not in UK but i do understand that most places have more than a single Dr and that you can sometimes request with different? Unfortunately your system you do seem to have to go to the GP to get any help at all and going to GP with problems is a long way from a sure bet in getting a referral for mental health anyway, but in the end if all you have is a female Dr available and if it bothers you that much take your wife with you and let her do the explaining and you can just correct when needed may be a possibility. I am a little older than you but same "time period" and to be honest "strongly identified gender roles" is also referred to as "gender Bias" or "Discrimination" so I am afraid part of the problem is self made when it comes to you getting help. Going to the Dr is not about them unless they are incompetent- it is about you - so take care of you. My personal view is that it is far harder as a male to go to some prototypical male to ask for help then to a female regardless but that is my own gender bias at work.

    I hope you find some way to get the help you need regardless.
  5. sofie

    sofie Banned Member

    I am fortunate that I have recently started seeing a therapist and I am learning to trust him with more and more of the pain inside is very hard and I am not at all confident that the improvement in therapy will be soon enough but we will see.

    I know my own father holds in everything -- I know virtually nothing about him because he does not discuss any emotion or thoughts really. I agree that almost all modern societies force men to feel weak or ineffectual if they express normal ranges of emotion including sadness, fear, anxiety, etc. It is a crappy situation and not fair to anyone -- would not our entire society function better if we all could honestly express our emotions??

    I am in the US so not at all familiar with how your health system works but are you able to "shop" around until you find a doctor you think you could open up to? If so, I would definitely start that process. I had to change doctors recently because my former family physician (GP) was not someone I could connect with on things. My new doctor is much better but it was scary making the change -- worth it though!
  6. Freya

    Freya Loves SF Staff Member ADMIN SF Author

    Hi Rob - I am not a guy either but I do live in the UK and I also have problems talking to people about how I feel. I experienced for years being told by male doctors to basically suck it up and the implication that I was/am an over-emotional female. I now exclusively ask to speak to a female doctor because that way I get listened to and helped. If you feel that you want to speak to a male doctor you can certainly outright request that and you will be accommodated. If there are fewer male doctors at your practice then it may take slightly longer to get seen perhaps, but you are well within your right to request to see a man.

    Women doctors may have a special interest in women's health but that doesn't mean they don't see an awful lot of men and treat them with just as much professionalism and integrity. Mental illness much like cancer etc really doesn't care if you are male or female. Everyone can be affected. I hope that you do get some help and find a way to talk to a doctor.

    Take care and stay safe.
  7. SemorePagne

    SemorePagne Member

    I can empathize with this encumbering expectation of masculinity. I am from the American South, and there still prevails a noticeable male culture that dictates non-expression is the norm, and that emotional turmoils must be explicitly introverted. It's sort of hypocritical actually, because the stigma seems to endorse rage, anger, frustration, jealousy, arrogance, and violent propensity as somehow an exemplary demonstration of manhood, while all other less confrontational emotions are condemned. For women I guess, it's the exact opposite. It's forgivable for them to cry, grieve, and wantonly erupt in sentimental outbursts. Although, if they manage to steel themselves from emotional expression, they are somehow negatively criticized for apathy. Double standards and hypocrisy are the consensus among people.

    I myself also experience the overwhelming burden of these social and cultural expectations. My father died two years ago, at the age of seventy-two, and he proudly came from a time when these gender parameters where unavoidably enforced by upbringing and regimented by common practice. I knew him for twenty years, and knew essentially nothing about his life, because of his strict adherence to this male code of conduct. It's sad, because as I interpret my modern behavior now, I realize that I'm immensely apprehensive about expressing myself and illustrating my emotions, even to those I'm intimate with, because of this cultural tumor that I can't seem to dislodge from my pride. I subconsciously insist that I am a stalwart against my own feelings, which I know is a futile principle, because I know I do ACTUALLY experience these feelings, I just refuse to dislodge them from myself. Pity.
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  8. OnceRob

    OnceRob Active Member

    Hi SemorePagne, thats exactly like me. Stiff upper lips built empires, but not any more. Its a relic now, thats what I was getting at, its nothing to do with gender its just how I am coded. I don't even tell my wife how much pain I am in and she is my only friend. She just sees what it makes me, all the "accidents" that explain the cuts on my arms when she sees, the black eyes where I am always getting into rucks. Missed work days where I cant walk out the front door. No matter how hard I try and cant fix it because I can barely admit it to myself.
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  9. SemorePagne

    SemorePagne Member

    I have hidden behind a disguise of greater intellect over the years. I've tried to paint this disingenuous caricature of a Vulcan-like Golem of objectivity, which in greater principle is somewhat true, but isn't a realistic advocacy of my personality. I, despite how ultimately destructive it may be in the long run, seem unavoidably inclined to persuade people that I am unfeeling. It is difficult to confide in anybody, as I seem to insist that the preservation of my privacy is a necessity, even though the purpose of a communication may have been specifically for purpose of breaking down that privacy, and admitting my weaknesses to someone. I'm extremely non-committal,

    "Hey, can I talk to you something?"

    "Sure, what's up?"

    "Nothing. Nevermind. The weather isn't palatable, is it?"
  10. OnceRob

    OnceRob Active Member

    Hi Freya, that makes sense. I know there are some exceptions but in my experience women look out for women, men are protective of women but guys treat guys like shit.

    What if I tell her what I am going through and she is really thinking how f***g weak !! , thats what I will think, I over analyse everything.
  11. Freya

    Freya Loves SF Staff Member ADMIN SF Author

    That is not what she is thinking - she is a doctor - she is thinking "okay what treatment can we give this medical condition". Mental illness is not a weakness any more than cancer or diabetes or heart disease. It is a medical complaint that needs to be treated.
  12. OnceRob

    OnceRob Active Member

    Thanks Freya, I know you are right !! its so kind that you are trying to help me, it means so much. Thank you.
  13. SemorePagne

    SemorePagne Member


    It might be reasonable to hold these suspicions of typical, everyday people. But, try to give a little credence to these therapists as professionals. They would have to be pretty socio-politically motivated to just apathetically disregard your troubles on the basis of your gender. If you are speaking to a therapist, consider just actually ASKING them what they think. Confront them about your suspicions. Worst case scenario, then are confirmed, and you're forced to consult a new one. You're wasting your time and money if you can't trust your psychoanalyst, so it's best to find one that you can. It might not necessarily be anybodies fault, chemistry is always a factor, regardless of their stupid PhD.
  14. CDBiggen

    CDBiggen Member

    This is how it went for me about a month ago. I saw my GP for an unrelated reason and she was so supportive. On her own before my appointment ended, she bought up a meeting I had with a nurse whom I told I felt quite down to and she told me all about my options and what to do if I felt worse. I was really shocked by this, because like you, I'm never one to show how I really feel! I would just bottle it up and get on with it :eek:
    She actually got me talking about it, printed out a sheet of information about coping with depression and even gave me the idea to search for forums like this one and to talk to others. But what really got to me is that she told me that there just isn't a lot of real world support in my area for people suffering with depression. All they give out is a number to call for a phone call with someone who'll listen. Even my GP admitted it was pretty bad.
    I think it's safe to say that there just isn't enough help for people suffering with mental health issues in the UK.
    Back to your original point though, I feel like with issues like this, I don't think doctors themselves are to blame. And I definitely don't think female GPs value women's problems over men's, especially as the UK has such high rates of suicide and depression in men(76% of all suicides in the UK are men aged 20 to late 40s). I think they are held back by whatever support networks are in place locally. We are after all still in austerity and cuts are happening to so many services.

    Is there any chance you could see a different doctor regarding how you feel? hope you find the help you deserve.
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  15. OnceRob

    OnceRob Active Member

    Hi, thanks for sharing this. I agree that your GP sounds very good, what you say does make sense.
  16. OnceRob

    OnceRob Active Member

    If anyone is interested or still following this I finally went to see my GP, I went downhill really fast recently and a few weeks ago I cut myself. My wife gave me an ultimatum , see my GP or she would leave me. So because I love my wife so much I went to see my GP and she was not interested even though A+E had told them I tried to kill myself. She gave me an internet print out and offered me two SSRIs both had side effects that I have had serious issues with in the past. I left her office feeling empty, and worse of all she had two women standing outside the door so she obviously felt threatened by me. All I have done is make myself look weak and for nothing. She did not care, she did not want to hear it and she has no idea what she has done to me !! everything about her represents everything I have ever wanted to be, she is young, beautiful, well educated, well loved, highly intelligent and highly professional and she threw me over her shoulder like a screwed up piece of paper.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 27, 2016
  17. Maniae

    Maniae Well-Known Member

    Hi Rob,

    I sympathizewith you. I am female and when I first decided to speak with someone it was my Bishop. I left feeling so stupid for confiding all these ugly feelings to him and I didn't get any where. Not even any spiritual advice.
    I think that you should be proud of yourself for facing the fear of admitting your feelings. It wasn't in vain. Your GP is just not equipped to address your issues. Ask for a referral to a clinic that specializes in mental health. If there is a mental health facility in your area, try to speak with someone there. Consultation may be free of charge. (Not sure how UK healthcare operates )

    If nothing else, you have people on SF who cares about what you are experiencing, who can relate to what you are feeling.
    I'm sure I speak for all that we are here when you need support.
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  18. sofie

    sofie Banned Member

    OnceRob, I am SO sorry to hear this -- you were not treated correctly or with respect and I sincerely hope you can see the error and wrong was on HER side and not yours. You deserve proper treatment and proper help. I hope you find the strength to push for what you need. I agree with everything Maniae said above so I won't repeat it all here. Hugs and know I care as do many others here. Also, clearly your wife loves and cares for you -- I know when I am at my worst, the knowledge that my husband loves me is what keeps me that true for you and your wife? I hope so :)
    Maniae likes this.
  19. OnceRob

    OnceRob Active Member

    I learned one thing, next time I will do it properly.
  20. Carlb

    Carlb New Member

    I'm 28 and I feel exactly the same way. Luckily I have a male gp and he has been very useful. I tried CBT last year and it was with a woman who hadn't been in the job long at all, I respect her achievements to get that far in her career. I would have much rather spoke to a man. It took a lot for me to get to the point of going to my gp for help in the first place because I feel the same, you just man up, take it on the chin and carry on. I didn't realise that I was suffering from Depression until I was at my lowest point and writing my goodbyes and apologies. As a man I find it difficult to talk about my emotions and feelings. I can tell my girlfriend that I love her but I can't tell her when I'm having a bad day. She would support me and she has in the last 9 months but I feel like I should be supporting her and looking after her rather than going to her when I have a bad day because I need someone to hold me and tell me it will be ok. Maybe it's from my dad who I have never seen cry or talk about feelings and I feel i need to keep things in like he did. Maybe in the past men were judged a bit more but times have changed and there are more pressures on everyone and there are always places to turn to talk things over
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