I'm not going to lie: famous, successful, and beloved people committing suicide freaks me out. Anyone killing themselves is terrible, but the rich and famous seem to have fewer reasons to do so. Don't they?
Of course not. There are many reasons why people take their own life, and those who seemingly "have it all" also have as many mental and emotional issues as the rest of us.
And like the rest of us, they didn't get the needed help that may have prevented this.
Help is a funny thing. We all know it's good, but so few of us ask for it when we should. And this doesn't just go for mental health issues, but any aspect in life.
I've had recent, chaotic experiences that brought this home. Stuff happened, and then more stuff happened, and I found myself overwhelmed. It was not my finest moment. I survived with minimum damage, but it was still brutal.
So focused on staying afloat, I didn't even think to ask for help from anyone. I also kept agreeing to take on more duties, because of the "I can do it!" attitude that some may mistake for stubbornness, but I like to call…
Okay, it's stubbornness.
But the point is this: people like to take on too many burdens, and delude ourselves into thinking we can handle it all.
We can't. Not always.
And since I'm a man, and men kill themselves at appalling rates, and I'm also a white man, and white men kill themselves at an even more appalling rate, and I tend to write about what I know, I'd like to share a hypothesis as to why men tend to not ask for help:
Most of the available resources are women.
In fact, as recently as 2013, there were 2.1 female psychologists for every male one.
There are many reasons for this gap, which mirrors the general widening gap in educational attainment, and the reasons for this could open up another whole can of worms that I don't want to get in to here.
But before you call me a "misogynistic, patriarchal, heterosexual subhuman," hear me out: I'm not saying it's a good or a bad thing; it just is. Maybe it's societal. Maybe it's biological. I have a strong suspicion that it's a bit of both.
Note how I said "societal." I think this is a relatively recent phenomenon, and I'm not convinced that "toxic masculinity," that made-up boogeyman trotted out every time society needs a scapegoat, is to blame. If anything, I think our system itself is to blame.
Whatever the reason, the fact remains that, consciously or not, men don't want to appear vulnerable in front of women. And so, if women are the only ones available to offer help, we often would rather go without.
It's sounds silly, I know. But then again, we often won't even ask another man for help either, even though there are plenty to reach out to:
- A father, a brother, or other family member
- A best friend that's been through the good times and the bad times with you
- A colleague who's proven themselves to be impartial, helpful, and non-judgmental
- A priest
- A successful acquaintance who always seems to have an anectode or bit of advice for every situation
- Networks of like-minded people on the Internet
- And yes, a mental health professional
This isn't "red-pill" stuff or whatever about "the true nature of women!" It's just an observation.
Maybe it's an incorrect one. But I'm hoping that it sparks a thought that, if you're a man and you need help with something, no matter the degree of life-threatening seriousness, maybe talking to another man will help you get over that initial hurdle.
Maybe after that hang-up is overcome, you won't be so disinclined to ask any of the more-than capable women in your life for help.
Maybe all it takes is a small reframing of the issue, a tiny mindset shift, to get you to ask for the help you may need: psychological, financial, emotional, whatever.
Whatever it is you need help with, the two big takeaways are these:
- Women are not your enemy
- You are not in it alone
And check out my Instagram here.