Lisa has shared two silver linings of a really, really tough year for us. The third one is mine to share, just as the last one was hers to share. I also this year have gone to therapy to help deal with all that has gone on in 2022. And I have to share my open honest journey to get here without sharing details of what has gone on in 2022. That's a story for another time when we are both ready to share.
When I was younger I had a very warped view when it came to mental health. I know some of it stemmed from conservative Christian upbringing where if something was wrong you just had to pray about it. I thought mental health was something that you changed with prayer and choosing something different. The stigma of being broken and a little lesser as a human being was also rattling around in my misconceptions.
The reality is that we should see mental health issues no less than physical health issues. They are a normal part of life and effect everyone on the planet. Even if you are not directly impacted, someone you know or love absolutely is affected. For men therapy is viewed as sign of weakness, which for generations we have been taught therapy is not something you do as a man. When it comes to physical health nearly two thirds of men avoid going to the doctor long as possible. When it comes to mental health only one third of therapy patients are men.
Men need to realize that going to therapy is actually brave and courageous. It is true regardless of gender. To recognize the need for help and then doing something about it is real strength. An old cartoon I used to watch had a phrase "Knowing is half the battle", that show was G.I. Joe. True cowardice is knowing something is wrong and doing nothing.
I thought something must be wrong with me. My world was crumbling around me this year and I knew I needed some help. I had several sessions with a veteran therapist, said to be one of the best. My last session she made me realize what I thought was actually wrong. She told me that while there was a lot of stressful things happening in my life that I was a very mentally healthy and stable individual. That I was, for the most part, handling things the right way even if not perfect, because we all are human and make mistakes. Think of it like an inspection on your vehicle. Sometimes nothing is wrong and other times there is something wrong. Regardless, it's worth having things checked out and getting a look under the hood. And like I was told even if there is an area of your life broken or needs some work doesn't mean it is all wrong. "You wouldn't take your car to the garage and when they say you need new times consider the vehicle, as a whole, no longer a great car". Sometimes it's a matter of getting a tuneup or working on specific parts.
Some parting advice. Get into a therapist once in a while for a checkup, just like you probably should with your doctor. They aren't perfect, don't blindly except everything said but combine it with input from doctors, family and friends. They are imperfect people too. Use it as an opportunity for some honest self reflection and examination. Finally, let yourself be open to coming out of it an improved better person than when you went in.