As a 20-year-old university student, I have had my fair share of struggles with mental health. However, it wasn't until my brothers' shared their experiences with me that I realized just how common mental health issues can be, particularly in men.
Men's mental health
Growing up, I always saw my brothers as strong, independent individuals who could handle anything that life threw their way. However, as they entered their teenage years, I began to see a different side of them. They both started to struggle with anxiety and depression, which affected their daily lives in significant ways. My brothers' experiences showed me that men's mental health is just as real as women's, yet it is often ignored or dismissed.
The world's perspective on mental health
Unfortunately, the world's perspective on mental health can be damaging. Mental health issues are often stigmatized, and the people who experience them may be seen as weak or attention-seeking. This can make it challenging for people to seek help and can lead to them living with mental health issues for an extended time. Pairing this with the lack of mental health education can mean that many people do not even realize that they are experiencing a mental health issue.
Living with mental health
Living with mental health issues can be challenging. It can feel like you are fighting a constant battle, and it can be exhausting to try to maintain a façade while struggling on the inside. For me, anxiety has been my constant companion, and it has affected every aspect of my life. I have missed out on opportunities because of my anxiety, and I have struggled to form meaningful relationships because of it. However, I have also learned that it is possible to live a fulfilling life despite experiencing mental health issues.
There are many reasons why people live with mental health issues for so long. As previously mentioned, stigma and lack of education are two significant factors. Additionally, some individuals may not even realize that they are experiencing a mental health issue or may dismiss their symptoms as "just stress" or "feeling down." For others, seeking help may be challenging due to financial or accessibility barriers.
As someone who has struggled with mental health issues for years, I know just how challenging it can be. It can feel like you are alone in your struggles, and it can be challenging to open up to others about what you are going through. However, I also know that seeking help is one of the bravest things you can do. It takes strength to admit that you need help, and it takes courage to take the steps necessary to improve your mental health.