An Insight To Man's Sensitive Side
Oh, you are crying? Man up, will you?” And of course, you will. Because boys don’t cry, do they? No sooner have these words been uttered, than they act as a magical reinforcement of your masculinity. You dry your tears, don the mask of emotional unavailability and transform into the guarded, stoic man who knows no better than career, success and power. Yes? That’s you? Well, that’s 95 per cent of the male population.
In a world — especially #MeToo movement world — where a lot is being talked about what it means to be a woman, we hardly ever discuss the struggles of being a man. “You are too sensitive for a guy.” “Now I see who wears the pants in the relationship.” “Dude, are you still a virgin?” And the quintessential “Boys will be boys”.
What does that even mean, really? Boys growing into men are encouraged to be preoccupied only with competition, ambition and success, to the exclusion of all emotional expression. But do you know what research suggests? Rather than making you the epitome of masculinity, it is associated with negative psychological and even physical consequences, such as stress, anxiety, relationship issues and depression. Though traditionally women have been shown to be more prone to depression, it has been recently discovered that men are just as likely to suffer from the condition. The only difference is that men don’t exhibit the same symptoms as women — and they are unwilling to divulge their symptoms to a doctor or a therapist, even family members.
Years of intentionally hiding our feelings render us unable to express them. But, closing our eyes to those feelings doesn’t mean they go away. They stay. And they fester. In fact, the American Psychological Association has come up with a term —normative male alexithymia — to describe men’s inability to articulate feelings, especially those associated with hurt or vulnerability. This not only makes men more prone to depression but also acts as a psychological barrier to treatment. As a corollary of this very trait, men are far less likely to seek help for mental-health issues than women.
The traditional symptoms of depression in women, such as sadness, a sense of worthlessness and guilt, give way in men to irritability, anger, fatigue, lack of sleep, and a loss of interest in things they love. Yes, even sex. Women tend to feel lonely, withdrawn and depressed. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to display aggression, impulsiveness and non-compliance. Trying to tailor their lives to the stereotypical idea of a man, men resort to the only tendency available to them — avoidance. They try to avoid the issues they face by sleeping, watching television, playing videogames, having empty sex, watching porn or resorting to alcohol abuse.
At other times, the inadequacies they feel may manifest in their shunning company altogether, fearing that they may somehow lose their temper and hurt the other person, whether it is a partner, a friend or a parent. Is this any way to live? Strangling part of ourselves can surely not make us better at being men? We need to break gender stereotypes and look at men and women as sentient beings first, with a full range of human emotions. It is time we opened up and communicated. Because why not? We are not one-dimensional, then why our emotion should be?
Do men too have SAD?
According to studies, the SAD (Season Affected Syndrome) diagnosis for a female to male ratios can be as high as 4 to 1. However, this may not be indicative of the fact that men are less affected. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), men are less likely to be diagnosed because they are less likely to speak up or seek help. Men suffering from summer onset seasonal affective disorder may experience symptoms like agitation, anxiety, poor appetite, weight loss, and trouble sleeping or insomnia.
IS SEX ALWAYS ON MEN’S MIND?
According to research conducted by Dr Fisher and his team, typically men think about sex once or twice an hour which was more than women. However, statistically, these men were thinking about sex no more or no less than they were thinking about eating or sleeping. A healthy relationship is one where both partners grow together – not only in the relationship but also as individuals. The more aware a person is about their own self the more understanding will they be of the other person. Over a period of time, couples start to believe that they know their partner through and through – this can be lethal because they are discounting the fact that their partner is also growing as an individual and might be working on changing their harmful patterns. This turns into a vicious cycle and instead of helping each other grow the partners start to pull down each other while maintaining the disagreements between them. It turns into a fight of “who is right?” Instead of working as a team, they start to believe that they are against each other. All it needs is to start seeing your partner as more than just your partner.