Hilary Valdez having a seat.

(Photo by Hilary Valdez)

Throughout life, there are many things that can cause stress and anxiety in people. For men, specifically, the things that can be stressors or triggers for anxiety vary and evolve as they age. The range can be from first date jitters to familial issues and societal expectations.

But with the burden of maturity, fatherhood, race, professional achievement, and socioeconomic status, this can be a burden on a man’s mental health. Where does a man find psychological replenishment? Friendships are tricky. Some men experience male friendship as a battleground where each guy is out to prove himself, to win respect. There’s a lot of top-dog-bottom-dog, comparing who makes more money, who has the newer car, who has the prettier wife. Anxiety and depression are now finding a parking spot in a man’s brain. As a starving writer, I don’t worry about stuff like that. I accept my poverty.

According to Men’s Health Magazine, half of men suffer from insomnia. For me, I walk around the house worrying about losing weight and what I will do when I win the Lottery: Maserati or Ferrari? Still some mental health conditions have physical symptoms including changes in appetite and energy, aches and pains, digestive issues.

Sure, some guys are strong, silent, competitive, and emotionally restrictive, but our inner emotions always find ways to be expressed. Unfortunately, men hide much of their real selves due to fear of rejection, risking vulnerability, transparency, and fear of labeling. Enter liquid therapy aka elbow therapy, going to a bar to get happy or drunk.

So, what are men worried about? Men look to other men for identification while men’s behavior is predicated on the perceived expectations of other males. Ask a man who was his role model growing up.

Guys who suffer the most are “the rocks,” the macho guys who strongly maintain the most narrowly defined and traditional ideas about masculinity. For some guys, growth choices are the most difficult to make because it means a shift in life-style. However, if Mr. Macho has children, the children look to Daddy to share his feelings, open up, and be vulnerable. Trouble sets in if Daddy Macho doesn’t know how to reveal his inner emotions. This is where each male needs to take an emotional leadership role.

If a man has difficulty expressing himself or show tenderness to his son or daughter, he needs to clarify his basic beliefs about himself. A man needs to be is a state of psychological readiness and realize that feelings build trust; silence creates suspicion. What will you pass onto your kids?

Men have difficulty describing what happened to create certain negative emotions, what caused grief and how to find a solution. According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America nearly 1 in 10 men experience depression or anxiety but less than half of them will seek treatment. The association also found that nearly four times the number of men die by suicide than women every year.

However, men are less likely to have received mental health treatment than women in the past year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Some common symptoms of men include anger, irritability, aggressiveness, changes in mood and energy level, difficulty concentrating, feeling restless, or on edge, misuse of alcohol, drugs, or both, sadness, or feelings of hopelessness. If you can read this article, you are having a good day, whether you believe it or not. Count your blessings.

988 Mental Health Emergency Hotline: Calling 988 will connect you to a crisis counselor regardless of where you are in the United States.


Hilary Valdez is a freelancer living in Tokyo, Japan. He is an experienced Mental Health professional and Resiliency Trainer. Valdez is a former Marine and has worked with the military most of his career and most recently worked at Camp Zama as a Master Resiliency Trainer. Valdez now has a private practice and publishes books on social and psychological issues. His books are available on Amazon and for Kindle. Learn more about Valdez and contact him at his website or email. Follow his YouTube channel Hilary’s Quick Talk for more insights.

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