You will have to scroll down if you’re impatient to know the answer to the title, but if you can show some forbearance, you will find out.
What’s your biggest fear as a man?
I’m sure, like me and other men, you have many.
My biggest fear for years was heights. I could not climb a ladder, look from a tall building, though flying never bothered me – apart from the obvious stress that airports induce.
But that fear of heights has largely gone.
I can now stand on the glass section of the Eiffel Tower, or peer from the top of Britain’s oldest wooden rollercoaster in my local town, Great Yarmouth, and even climb a ladder to ascend a roof.
I’ve come a long way.
Another fear I’ve harboured for years is one of snakes, and in my pissed up days of all inclusive holidays, I was mortified to be volunteered (by my wife) to be blindfolded and have a snake charmer dangle various snakes around my body, whilst I was well oiled (though still terrified) in my all-inclusive annual bender week in Lanzarote.
I’m pretty sure now, though, some eight years later, a snake draped round my neck wouldn’t rattle me.
Fear is irrational, isn’t it?
As a child, I had a morbid fear of the beach and particularly seaweed and would be carried, kicking and screaming, on to beaches in Bridlington, Filey or Scarborough, but again I have no great affection or fear of beaches now at all.
But what most men fear is speaking.
- Speaking about mental health.
- And public speaking.
I was initially embarrassed and ashamed to have CBT and EMDR counselling. I was ashamed to be off work, after I looked normal to anyone who saw me. I was desperately mentally ill though: clinically depressed, suicidal and manic.
I decided though to explain it if anyone asked and apart from a few uncomfortable silences and the local church primary using it as a stick to beat me, it was right to admit it. Even though it landed me in career trouble – the job though was what was making me ill. That door closed. I stopped banging on it. I told people about what had happened. I recovered.
Public speaking is something I’ve never had a real issue with. Obviously as a teacher from 1987, addressing groups of students was a natural act for me and the only public speaking that made me slightly nervous was addressing school assemblies when I was first asked to. Like speaking about depression, speaking to a hall full of students with attendant staff got easier with time and practice.
I think that being open about any fears is a good thing.
Men need to talk, in public and private. Men need to share fears, however irrational or absurd. Men need to talk about stress, anxiety and depression.
You know what too?
Man Stress is a safe platform for you to share your stories, your mental health struggles, anonymously or openly – and trust me, talking about stress, anxiety and depression, really helps lessen those three things.
I’ve been in a desperately dark place for years, with snakes and ladders, but now I’m out of those places and speaking openly.
You should too.
Submit your story, speak up and we guarantee it will slay some mental demons.
It has with all three of us.