June is the month of multiple things.  It is the month of my birthday, it is Pride Month, and it is Men’s Mental Health Month.

Imagine yourself not wanting to go anywhere, not wanting to talk much to anyone, not wanting to do many activities outside of a few in your home.  Sounds perhaps like a classic introvert.  But what if you were not totally like that before and then became that way…what prompted this change?  Imagine someone who most would say is a ‘nice guy,’ but then you are now emotionally shorter with people, more quick to get upset, holds onto what made you upset longer than you used to.  You used to say ‘sorry’ for mistakes you made, but now take little to no responsibility, put excessive blame on others, and push people away.

What comes to mind here is mood destabilization and depression.

What can sometimes occur with these situations is that they can be somewhat slow in onset and not always feel like a ‘symptom.’  You can feel like you are just being yourself.  But if you compare yourself to some years back (you may even have to go back a few decades), you may notice that you are not the same as before.  ‘Life’ can surely contribute to all of this, but that does not mean a potentially short or long term mental health issue is not also part of what you are experiencing.

Depression, particularly in men, can present itself not only as someone wallowing in despair or crying a lot, but instead as moodiness and anger.  I think part of this is because society tells you that depression is weak, and anger is strong.  Actually, anger is indeed a strong and energizing feeling, and depression can be a weak feeling.  Anger can get you to move.  Depression can keep you from getting out of bed.  But that does not mean you are overall a stronger person due to anger or that you are an overall weaker person due to depression.  It also does not mean that the strength of anger can resolve the depression.  It may feel good in the moment, but the depression didn’t go anywhere (sounds like emotional eating right?).  So if the depression doesn’t go anywhere, what do you think happens overtime to the compensatory mechanism of anger (and moodiness)?  It can get worse and/or more frequent.

Not only this, but sometimes women also have been trained that men are supposed to be ‘strong.’ But what they do not realize is that their definition of ‘strong’ may be skewed, and thus they help to enforce skewed ideas that they probably did not invent.  Or if not skewed, at a minimum, it is a relative and changeable definition, depending on the person.  Not everyone is meant to be with everyone, and in this case I mean from the standpoint of each person’s emotional composition.

The location on the spectrum of sensitive and easily stressed to insensitive and not easily stressed varies per person, and that includes amongst men.  Where you are on the spectrum is important for you to know so that you can figure out what tools are best for you to use to maneuver throughout life.  Awareness can influence what choices you make for your own well-being.

Furthermore, too many men too often have had ‘a’ (not ‘the’) concept drilled into them of what it means to be a man or to be masculine.  Then that concept drives how they show up for the world, and for themselves.  This can be a good thing, but it can also be a bad thing when that concept is flawed.  When were they trained about their humanity?  For me, humanity is first, or at a minimum it is tied in priority with the masculine and feminine ideas.  What happens when your humanity presents itself but you have no concept of it?

I was watching a zoo show on tv once.  There was a tiger who was found to be terminally ill by the time the staff discovered the illness.  The staff explained that the tiger is very good about hiding its ailments in order to protect itself in the wild.  But protecting itself in a zoo did not keep the illness from getting worse.  We live in a society that is both still wild but also not at the same time.  For some of you, where you grew up is also not where you are now – perhaps you are in a safer environment now.  I encourage you to realize what opportunities are available to you now, and use them.  Men are infamous for propagating the idea that you can’t let your emotions get the best of you, but what I have also noticed is that sometimes men ‘do not let their emotions get the best of them’ by suppressing them.  Suppressed emotions can run you, especially when you have suppressed them so much that you can’t even feel them despite them still being there.  You have to be aware of something first in order to manage it wisely.

The same people who taught you what being a man was and to not let your emotions run you probably did not equally emphasize to not let your pride do the same.  Pride can be a major obstacle to healing.  I have seen it happen.  “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, but loses his own soul?” – Mark 8:36.  (Just fyi, I may quote any spiritual text I find relevant.)

Mental health awareness is taking a greater stand these days and I can tell you from experience and observation that it needs to continue doing so.

In addition to going to a therapist, there are several holistic and natural approaches that can help with various types of mental health issues.  Here are a few:

Removal of food sensitivities – mood balancing

Passionflower (herb) – to stop your mind from racing

White chestnut (flower essence) – to stop a thought that’s constantly recurring in your mind

Lavender (herb) – often used as an essential oil topically or via a diffuser to promote relaxation

L-theanine (nutrient) – mood balancing

Orange or citrus essential oil – mood lifter

St. John’s Wort – mood lifter

Acupuncture – calm the mind, promote relaxation

Also, eating a healthy diet, exercising, and getting proper rest regularly are important first steps for your mind to be balanced.

I worked with a client who was depressed, bloated and fatigued for years.  In one month of working on his digestion and adrenal health, his mood lifted.  Although not to take away from its usefulness and sometimes necessity in certain phases of some people’s lives, directly affecting Serotonin through a medication that is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI – commonly prescribed for depression) is not the only pathway to improve a mood.

There was another client I worked with who was experiencing digestive issues.  I gave her an herb to soothe her intestines.  Whenever she’d take it, she would overall feel calm too.  The mind and digestive tract are connected.

In honor of Men’s Mental Health Month, if you are experiencing anxiety, irritability, depression, or digestive issues, until July 8th, 2023, I am offering a special discount for 2 consultations.  If interested, please contact me.