I can relate…

May 2-8th has been designated Mental Health Week by the Canadian Mental Health Association and it’s been on my mind a lot this week. Coincidentally, there’s been a very high profile court case running that deals with abuse and mental illness, and while the testimony has not been completed, and I’m not passing premature judgement, I’m encouraged by the dialogue this case has brought about.

I think we have a tendency to talk more about depression and suicide when we think about mental health, but this week, I’ve thought more about mental illness.

I suspect many people prior to this highly publicized case would have envisioned only the man as the abuser. That preconception is why the statistics are so skewed when it comes to abuse. Women are just as capable of being abusers. Their methods tend to be different, but they are no less damaging and the stigma attached to a man who comes forth with these allegations, is one of the reasons why they don’t.

I feel like this is a step forward— for men and for a more open discussion about mental illness.

The photograph above might be interpreted differently by everyone who sees it. It’s a sunrise through trees—a reminder that things are not always as they appear.

5 thoughts on “I can relate…”

  1. Clearly, there are serious mental health issues involved with the subjects of that high-profile trial. In Johnny Depp’s case — and men in general, really — the author of The Highly Sensitive Man (2019, Tom Falkenstein, Ch.1) writes:
    “… academics are telling us that ‘we know far less about the psychological and physical health of men than of women.’ Why is this? Michael Addis, a professor of psychology and a leading researcher into male identity and psychological health, has highlighted a deficit in our knowledge about men suffering from depression and argues that this has cultural, social, and historical roots. If we look at whether gender affects how people experience depression, how they express it, and how it’s treated, it quickly becomes clear that gender has for a long time referred to women and not to men.

    According to Addis, this is because, socially and historically, men have been seen as the dominant group and thus representative of normal psychological health. Women have thus been understood as the nondominant group, which deviated from the norm, and they have been examined and understood from this perspective. One of the countless problems of this approach is that the experiences and specific challenges of the ‘dominant group,’ in this case men, have remained hidden. …

    While it is true that a higher percentage of women than men will be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or a depressive episode, the suicide rate among men is much higher. In the United States, the suicide rate is notably higher in men than in women. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men account for 77 percent of the forty-five thousand people who kill themselves every year in the United States.

    In fact, men commit suicide more than women everywhere in the world. Men are more likely to suffer from addiction, and when men discuss depressive symptoms with their doctor, they are less likely than women to be diagnosed with depression and consequently don’t receive adequate therapeutic and pharmacological treatment. … ”

    1. Thank you for commenting. That’s a pretty chilling statistic. I lost my brother to suicide. Interesting observations that also might lend weight to my thoughts on abusive women and the dynamics of those relationships. Definitely a topic for more exploration, thanks again.

      1. There’s a societal mentality, though perhaps a subconscious one: Men can take care of themselves, and boys are basically little men.

        It could be the same mentality that might help explain why the book Childhood Disrupted was only able to include one man among its six interviewed adult subjects, there presumably being such a small pool of ACE-traumatized men willing to formally tell his own story of childhood abuse.

        It could be yet more evidence of a continuing subtle societal take-it-like-a-man mindset; one in which so many men, even with anonymity, would prefer not to ‘complain’ to some stranger/author about his torturous childhood, as that is what ‘real men’ do. [I tried multiple times contacting the book’s author via internet websites in regards to this non-addressed florescent elephant in the room, but I received no response.]

  2. It’s true, things are not always as they appear, and the guessing method is often inaccurate.
    This dialogue is necessary, for sure.

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