**trigger warning: references to suicide**
Appearing miserable to the outside world, to your partner, to your family can sometimes be a physical outcome of an internal mental battle. When you have these internal mental battles it is energy sapping, it takes everything you have to function let alone try and appear happy. So if someone is coming across as miserable or just appearing down over a longer than usual period it is well worth your time and effort to try and see what is going under this miserable exterior, especially men.
For so many years when I would go through periods of my life feeling miserable, feeling like a failure because I would fall short of my own high expectations of what I think my life should be like. This would always face the reaction of “why are you so miserable”? “You have got a face like thunder” “smile, stop being so miserable” this kind of response will add to your sense of shame and failure and will give you more reasons to reject yourself.
As a man, a father, a husband, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be the perfect version of ourselves. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be a role model for our children, be a protector, a provider to our partners. Wanting to provide a life for your family that others would envy wanting the Gold standard of modern living.
We set ourselves certain standards usually Gold standards of how we want to live our lives. When we fall short of this and we will we often start questioning ourselves and end up looking in the mirror and what we see is a failure. Failure can be our biggest fear and it is this that eats away at us causing us to spiral so fast into a deep dark place that it seems impossible to get out of. This is when rational thinking flies out of the window and turns into a barrage of negative mind chatter.
When a man’s personal standards drop it feels like a personal defeat and this builds and you we that this situation suddenly becomes beyond our control. This spirals with more and more negative thoughts to a point where you feel you have nowhere to go, no one to talk to and there is only way out. One way out to stop this emotional suffering that takes over your whole being and you just need to get rid of it.
As men we need to feel we are in control of everything in our lives, our self-esteem and pride are determined by our accomplishments. When we feel these accomplishments are no longer adequate we lose hope and will literally give up on life. We feel like we start letting people down and again the self-loathing increases and causes more self-rejection and this feeling goes on and on and on. This is when you feel you are forced to take action, this can either be suicide or reaching out for help. When you feel like a burden to everyone around you the first option sometimes seems the easiest.
I was at this point 3 years ago and thankfully I chose the latter, in fact the latter found me. I was lucky in the sense my wife reached out to me and the seriousness of the situation was not met with stop being miserable and all the comments I had for the days leading up to this point. It was met with the sensitivity the situation needed and the love and affection I needed to realise how much I am wanted and loved. I am a firm believer of gratitude, spending a few minutes a day thinking of all the things you are grateful for. This together with understanding around you from others of how they can make you feel is so vitally important in helping avoiding the devastating effects of suicide.