Why don't men talk? (WDMT) #1

In the coming weeks I will be posting interviews with a variety of male guests on the titular question you see above. There are many reasons to create a series like this, but one that comes above all else. It’s the global issue of male suicide rates, which in some countries make it one of the top three causes of death for men under the age of 45. That’s the big picture reason, but below is why that’s important to me.

Photo of a young koala
The reason men don't talk: koalas

My experience

I come at this issue from three angles. Firstly my own experience of dealing with depression and my consideration of suicide at times throughout my life. Secondly the experience of stopping a suicidal friend, helping him to carry on and then his subsequent success in ending his life. Thirdly seeing the effect of my Uncle’s suicide on his family and friends.

Altogether these leave me in a strange position where I can understand and relate to those suffering at the hands of mental illness and those at the periphery looking in. The latter often being family and friends unaware that there is any problem at all. It's really what drives me to write and share my experience. It's the small hope that somebody like me, somebody like my friend may read this and go "shit, somebody gets me."

The aims

I wanted to lay out some aims for this series, so that it is clear to all what I am trying to do.

There are not here in order of importance as you’ll see with the last being rather significant.

  1. To uncover the barriers to men talking about life’s issues, thoughts, emotions and passion points or as I like to call it “the deep shit”.

  2. To expose what you learnt as a youngster as inadequate for your life in today’s world as an adult.

  3. To show you that there are many, many men in a position of uncertainty, confusion and misdirection in their lives. (See above about male suicide rates if confused about this.)

  4. To help men and women come together as a community of humans to reduce male suicide rates across the globe.

I left the most important to the last because I want you to remember it, even if you forget everything else I’ve written here today. As human beings we can come together to hear different experiences and support each other in sharing the burden of life’s bullshit. Because handling this stuff alone, "manning up" and forced positivity is in part what has created the problem in the first place. (I am willing to be argued with on the finer points of this anytime.)

You may think these posts don’t relate to you because:

  1. You are not a man

  2. Your shit don’t stink

I plead with you to hang on and read anyway. Not only will they not be a waste of your time (they are short AF), but I believe you can learn something to help somebody close to you down the line. I recognise that this is not just a male problem, it’s just men are significantly more affected than women and as I said before this problem is a personal one to me.

Before I sign off I’d like to return to the fact that we are all humans above all else, including gender, religion and any other name you want to put on people. We all need to come together on this (like many other issues) if we are going to make any significant change to the problem.

I’ll leave it at that for now and get off my soap box. Tune in next week for the second interview in my “Perfectionists speak” series, with the first in this series starting January 25th.

Tom :)