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Think Outside of the (man)Box

Posted by Adam Horan on

Dudes, we need to have a talk.

Everyone else, you're just as important, but this one is for the boys. Mental health is important for everyone, no matter your gender, race, ethnicity, etc., but there is a special problem that surrounds men and mental health. The dreaded "manbox": the idea that men need to be manly, be strong, and not show emotion... utter garbage. This concept came about years ago, and has since has been forcing men to fit into this box of masculinity and to repress many things, like our feelings and being able to talk about our mental health. 


Men's mental health is very important. Because of the "manbox", men don't talk about their struggles. We let them build up inside, and that doesn't always end in the best way. This is easily seen in Canada with the statistic that 4 out 5 suicides are men, yet we are only 1% behind women who experience mental health disorders or substance dependencies. That said, there is somehow still that box that many men can't seem to get out of.


Take my own experience:

This year I was fed up with the way I was feeling, I no longer could focus on school, I would lash out people close to me, and my physical health was in the toilet. All of this, because of the "manbox" and not actually talking about my emotions or how I feel. I was great at listening to other people, I'm a Residence Advisor in a University Dorm, I help others everyday and always are there for them to listen, but I wasn't strong enough to see my own problems. I was always told to "Man Up" and that "feelings are for girls", yet I had feelings that went so deep I would lay in bed in the morning and have no drive to be able to get up. That's when I knew something was up and I finally did talk to someone in order to get better.

Men need to allow themselves to be whole and emotional, we need to be able to discuss our mental health and not have more than the usual stigma that surrounds mental health telling us to be manly. Be who you are and don't let society or anyone tell you how to live your life.

Give yourself permission to be who you want to be and to feel all the feels.

Adam "The Shipping Wizard" Horan

P.S. Having a good support group for when the going gets rough is a major key.


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