The Division Between Mind And Body Is Illusory, And Both Are Similarly Vulnerable To Breakdown. Yet Many Men Still Mistake Illness For Weakness. Author Matt Haig Shares His Personal Account And Explains Why We Urgently Need To Speak Up About Anxiety.
This was the beginning of three years of depression and anxiety. Three years of confusion. Of keeping secrets from my slowly diminishing circle of friends. Of struggling to articulate how I felt, even to my doctors. Much later, I realised that one of the reasons why it took me so long to recover was stigma. The stigma of society, but also self-stigma. I couldn’t accept what was happening to me. I couldn’t accept the labels. I couldn’t accept the thought of telling my friends about it.
I wasn’t just depressed. I was depressed about being depressed. The knowledge that I wouldn’t be able, in the grip of this illness, to hold down a nine-to-five job felt like a judgement. It was a vicious circle, made worse by how I felt like less of a man. What kind of man can’t go to a supermarket without having a panic attack? What kind of man has an existential crisis while choosing which socks to wear?
An ill kind. Anyone with a mind can have an illness of that mind. I felt very lost and very alone. But I wasn't alone. What was happening to me was common, and so was the stigma I was feeling. If you are a man and under the age of 50, the most dangerous part of your own body - the part that is most likely to kill you - is your own brain.
BOYS DON'T CRY
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