I saw this comic online last week and really felt it. I struggle with depression and for the past couple of weeks it was kicking my ass. And yet, when my weekly men’s group came around, instead of engaging and sharing and dealing with it, I ducked.
#ducker (It’s an inside joke with Evryman group.)
It’s so easy to fall into the trap of internalizing and walling off when I feel like that. Intellectually, I know that will just keep me trapped in that dark space, but feeling trumps thought every fucking time.
So why is it so hard to reach out?
Some of it is fear. I’m afraid that my problems aren’t worth others worry. I’m afraid of rejection or judgement from the group.
Some of it is shame. I still think I should have my shit together, but I don’t. As men, or at least for this man, we learn that we should be self-sufficient. Self-made. The Strong, Silent Type.
The thing is, when these men share with me, I feel honored. I love being there and creating a space for them. That gives me joy. Yet when it’s my turn I feel the opposite. I feel like I am being a burden. Like my problems and struggles are somehow unworthy of their time and attention.
It’s poisonous thinking. I know that.
But like it always does, the depression switch flipped. The clouds passed. I woke up yesterday and thought, “You know what? I’m fucking worth it.”
I am worth doing the work. I am worth living. I am worth it. And, yes, I am worth sharing my problems and my struggles. Even when it’s hard. Hell, especially when it’s hard.
Interestingly, in the past 24 hours I’ve stumbled across several Twitter platforms that supposedly provide “men’s help” that were advising men to hide their problems. Don’t share. Keep it to yourself. I couldn’t help myself, I had to argue the point with them. Because that sort of thinking is poisonous. It’s killing us. It nearly killed me.
All that is to say that I’m so excited to see my men on Thursday. I’m excited to show up and be present and vulnerable. Because you know what?
I’m worth it.