The Authentic Lover - Workshops for Men

The Isolation of Men

by Apollo Grace

My friend Erich committed suicide a few months ago. My friend Mike did the same in 2012.

They weren't alone. When I went to my men's group after Mike's suicide, the 8 of us present could count 7 different men we collectively knew that had killed themselves in the last month. In the US, men commit suicide four times as often as women. Over 30,000 men killed themselves in the United States in 2010, and the numbers have been rising steadily since.

What's happening here?

We may never be able to understand why a particular person chooses to end their life. I'll never know what went in to Erich's final decision. But we can look at the condition of men generally, and see some factors that lead men to be more likely to kill themselves.

Men in our culture are notorious for not asking for help. When it comes to our problems, we have a powerful tendency to try to figure it all out on our own. When I was depressed in my teens, and had sexual issues around age 30, this was very much my M/O. I had different theories each week of what was going on with me, and how to fix it. But it wasn't until I sought out therapy in each case that I really began to shift the problem.

This tendency shows up strongly in the statistics on depression, as compared with suicide. Typical depression statistics show that it impacts women twice as often as men; and yet, men are committing suicide 4 times as often. What accounts for this? Depression statistics cannot measure men who don't talk about their depression - who aren't seeking counseling help, or help from their family or friends. So I would imagine that there are hundreds of thousands of men in the USA right now who are struggling with depression and choosing to have those struggles on their own.

And there's so much help available. There are men who have been in a similar place, and can hear about what's going on without judging you. There are counselors, coaches, self-help programs, and transformational workshops that can directly address and shift this sort of pattern. As an initiate of the Mankind Project, I know that I always have my weekly MKP meeting to bring forward any pattern that isn't serving me. As a practitioner of Shamanic Breathwork, I know that accessing altered states in a workshop context can help achieve breakthroughs we'd never find with a mind simply trying to 'figure it all out'.

What will it take for men to open up about our suffering? What will it take for you to open up about yours? Here's an exercise: write down one issue in your life - emotional, sexual, financial, big, small, whatever - that you've been struggling alone on. Then make a list of at least three resources that are available to help you with that issue. Once that's done, ask yourself - why are you choosing to suffer alone? Sit with this question for a while, until you get a really clear answer. Next question - would it be beneficial for you to get support? If the answer's yes, make a choice between the resources you listed and go ask for help right away. You may or may not get any sort of swift resolution, but at least you won't be suffering alone.


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