Welcome to Wellness Wednesday!
Starting today, I’ll Blog every Wednesday about a mental-health topic, from anxiety to depression to joy. Today it’s depression and men.
Tough-as-nails men break too!
I’m not too surprised when women my age can relate to my book Journey to Joy.
After all, the book deals with perfectionism, anxiety and self-criticism—things I think come easily to women. But I am surprised when grown men are in tears at my presentations, and when they tell me their own stories of emotional struggle.
The first of these large, strong men messaged me one day and told me of the hard time his son was having. I sent him my book. Turns out, both he and his son could relate as they are both survivors of tough times, extreme sadness and depression.
This tough-as-nails guy messaged back:
“We all go through it but are scared to talk about it. You have brought me out of my bubble. I’m not the big tough guy everyone thinks I am.”
The second man who struck me with his vulnerability is a six-foot-three RCMP officer. He was a complete stranger to me, having attended a book reading in B.C. this summer. Sitting in front of me with his broad shoulders, and his confident grin, I could not have anticipated what was to occur after the reading.
The imposing and muscular gentleman walked over to me and asked if he could buy a book and have it signed. I shooed him away, telling him that his wife had already purchased the book, so there was no need for him to get one. He looked me in the eye with a look that was so sincere it almost broke my heart and he said, ‘No, I’d like a book just for me. I know where you’ve been, because I’ve been there too.’
I looked him squarely in the eye, and I did something I’m not proud of … I giggled. I smacked him on the side of the arm (because I couldn’t reach his shoulder) and I giggled and said, ‘No you haven’t. You’re a big tough cop.”
He looked back, this time with glassy eyes, and I knew he and I understood each other. We had indeed both ‘been there’ — there at the point of such despair that the world didn’t seem welcoming any more.
And so, I sold him the book and I signed it for him. In return, he promised that one day he’d share what he’d been through with me.
The third lovely fellow sent his wife over to fetch me during a book event. His wife asked if I could come to their car in the parking lot because her husband wanted to talk to me. I don’t usually go with strangers to cars in parking lots, but this time I did.
The elderly man was waiting there by the back of an open van. I looked inside and I saw hundreds of hand-carved boxes he had made. He told me to pick one. I protested and said I couldn’t and asked what I could pay him. He looked me in the eye, with those glassy eyes, and he said, ‘I want you to have it for the gift you’ve given me. I suffer too and now I know I’m not alone.’
So, I continue to get out there and sell my book. Not because I want to make money, or because I’m after recognition, but simply because those women and those men—the ones with the glassy eyes—help me to know I’m not alone, and I never have been.
To order Journey to Joy ($24.99), click on ‘Shop’.
Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com