I’m 42, my daughter is one today. do I worry about my health a little more than I used to? yeah I do, I worry about getting sick and not being here for her, I think that’s probably normal but the biggest killer of men my age isn’t heart disease or cancer.
The biggest killer of men my age in the UK is suicide. the statistics make pretty grim reading.
24.1 deaths per 100,000 for men aged 40 – 44 is suicide compared to 8.3 for women. there is obviously a problem that needs to be addressed somewhere.
In this last year I have reached a whole new understanding of what pressure is, I feel under pressure to provide a life for Harper and Louise, to find a balance between work and family, to continue to focus on my job when things get tough and to plan for the future.
Its a challenge and I understand, a little more, why men would feel like they have nowhere to turn to.
By this age we are supposed to have it all nailed down, our family life, our career, a mortgage, the future is planned really. (I don’t feel like I have any idea what my future holds if I’m honest)
Now, I’m not the most mentally robust person I know, I have suffered from depression, been on pills and to talking therapy (which lets be honest no one likes – I hate it). I have had my challenges and have no doubt that I will have more in the future. I am incredibly lucky to have a loving and supportive family around me and to have learnt, the hard way, that if I talk to them they wont judge me, in fact there is a better than good chance they will help me.
Growing up in a world where the male role models we saw on TV were action stars, tough uncompromising men who basically kicked ass every day, its easy to see why men feel like this is what we have to be like, that this is what real courage is.
But then yesterday I heard something the other day that resonated with me,
Courage is a heart word, the root of the word is cor – the Latin word for heart. the original meaning of the word courage is to speak ones mind by telling all one’s heart
Being courageous doesn’t mean bottling things up and dealing with stuff on our own. it means the exact opposite true courage is being open enough and brave enough to tell people when we are struggling, to admit when we need help and not be afraid to accept help when its offered.
Maybe if more men where brought up with role models who behaved this way we would start to see a reduction in the awful statistic above.