Dubs from a Depressed Dude; A Digest Men’s Mental Health Month Feature

Mental health is difficult to tackle in the modern day, with the most prominent reason being how all encompassing the idea of it can be. At first thought, mental health is associated with padded rooms and serial killers from Netflix docs. In reality though, mental health is everything.

From how we interact with each other, to why we interact certain ways with each other, to the root causes of certain thoughts and points of view, mental health’s intersectionality is unmatched.

From a black man’s point of view, mental health is something that’s regarded with a certain amount of cognitive dissonance. As we get older and learn more behind the reasons that we do certain things, there’s a lot of things about yourself that you can begin to question as inconsistency occurs.

As these inconsistencies pile up, we have to tune a certain amount of cause and effect out of our conscious decision making because it becomes too tedious to constantly obsess about. The reality of this dissonance is none the more apparent than in November during Men’s Mental Health Month.

While in theory the month is a good way to bring awareness to men’s mental health, in my experience it has tended to be more inflammatory than helpful to our plight as black men going through this shared human experience.

Nearly all conversations that I’ve seen revolving the month itself has been focused on unhelpful discourse between men and women on social media comparing the struggles, that in many cases, we share.

The problem that I see in this regard is that as men, we feel as though we aren’t being heard by our female counterparts. From conversations that I’ve had with my peers, women feel the same in that we want to be understood by those we see as different or who’s experiences we may deem as absurdly different from our own.

Honestly, the entire situation comes off as counterproductive to the entire point of the month and mental wellness in general. As individuals, we all have our own mental to maintain and be accountable for, and to that end, there’s a certain benefit of the doubt that we have to give others as we coexist together.

The problem comes in however when that benefit of the doubt is lost, and as people, we don’t know who or what to trust. Institutions are naturally inept, businesses are corrupt, and people can’t be trusted. With those things in mind, it’s hard for black men of course, but anyone to find peace in our own heads, yet alone in this world that we all share.

I understand the need to not want to compromise on what you believe will ultimately contribute to your happiness, and I also understand just trying to make it through the day regardless of how you have to get there.

To that end, it’s my understanding that mental health is in large part dependent on internal factors specific to the individual, but it’s also dependent on the long term effects your immediate social sphere has on you.

A lot of us have PTSD and trauma associated with our past, and that’s fine. But as people who understand what it’s like to live through human experiences, I think it would behoove use to cut each other some slack.

We’re humans, and we’re destined to mess up and fall short of internal and external expectations, but that’s the point of the journey in the eyes of many. Maintaining good mental health is a constant endeavor, but on a day to day basis, just being understanding and kind with each other has to be as good a starting point as any.

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