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Men’s Mental Health

Men’s Mental Health

This is a hot topic, most men will struggle in silence, some will just drink more, smoke more or vent their anger on those around them a little more. Even more of them will just do as they have always done and suck it up because that is what men do. Their wives and those women close to them (if they are lucky enough to have them) will see through the mask and try to support them only to be told they are fine or they are just tired.

You’re not tired - you’re weary, weary of sucking it up and just getting on with it so long - that it’s all you know how to do. That’s what we all do, that’s how we cope. Put as a strategy it’s probably only pushing the problem down the line and causing more harm in the long run.

I have been a teacher for more than 35yrs most of my students want to be black belts. They want the skill and the confidence that go along with it. I work on developing that skill but, for many, the fears and anxiety they came in with on that first day, never leave them. My goal is to support them and it feels very much to me that the physical side of learning a martial art gets all the focus with the internal arts being left out in the quest to get better in the hard arts of striking, throwing and grappling

My students look at me as if I have two heads when I talk about meditation, mindfulness and looking after their mental health. Many enjoy the pain they feel after a hard class thinking they can mask emotional pain with physical pain and in that way others can see the pain they have and it in some way is move valid or a badge of honour.

I’ve been there and done that and I can tell you it doesn’t work long term. You are fooling yourself if you think it does.

I’m a martial arts coach first and foremost but I have also worked in other fields. I have taught conflict management for councils hospital trusts and The NIO. Most of the course was based on the conflict we have with others but the bit that interested me most was the conflict we have with ourselves! For some, that conflict can be never ending - you think you have a handle on it only to have it rear it’s ugly head again and again.

I don’t have all the answers, I’m no psychologist or counsellor, but what I do have is experience of working with men and I have experienced what it feels like to be in a dark place. I also have studied meditation, mindfulness, yoga and counselling - all be it I have no qualifications on my wall, but what I have is a lifetime of learning and living. Most of what I have isn’t from books but from my experience and the experience of those around me. It’s something I am passionate about and want to help others understand.

I’m not sure right now what I can do to help, but I’m looking at a few ways - perhaps a private group or some free courses, a live video chat, maybe? Let me know your thoughts.

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