‘To the man with depression and anxiety. I see you. I know you worry late at night if you can’t keep it all together. If you can provide for your family.’

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“To the man with depression and anxiety. I see you.

You’ve been told so many times that men are strong. Right from when you were a little boy and you fell over, you were told to get up, and brush it off. You were told strong boys don’t cry, they get up and they keep going. You’ve been told that a lot. All your life you’ve been told to keep going. I’ve seen you try to get up and keep going.

I know you’ve been so used to hiding your emotions it’s made you feel confused and numb. I know sometimes the only outlet for those feelings is a drink, a smoke or screaming at the top of your lungs. How else can you get that bubble out? You’ve been told not to do anything else, that everything else is weak and that there is stigma attached to it.

You’re told to suppress your emotions. That men are the providers, the leaders, the stronger ones. I know you’ve been told that anxiety or depression are weaknesses. That men don’t get it. I know you don’t want to think you could get it, that it’s always just circumstantial… but I want you to know there’s no weakness in it.

You’ve been told it’s just stress, your boss is riding you, your employees aren’t doing their job, your wife or partner is just being mean… this is all the things you’re told to explain your mood… even if it’s more… just to keep you in the box.

New babies can affect you, too. Bringing home a new bundle of joy is overwhelming. It’s not only women who can suffer when a baby comes home. I see it’s difficult for you too. I know you worry late at night if you can’t keep it all together. If you can provide for your family. It’s a burden society makes you carry, and makes you feel you could fail at any minute if you aren’t perfect and doing it all.

I know when you get like that, you need to go away and think for a while. You need to go to your space… you need to shut off… and your partner needs to know when you do, it’s not personal. It’s not them, you just need that space. Space with your friends or just space away, doing whatever it is to feel whole again.

I know it doesn’t help if you feel blamed, and you do… you feel blamed. You feel guilty for having your space, but you shouldn’t.

I know it’s hard for you to connect with people and pushing them away is easier. You don’t feel worthy of love… but you are.

Sometimes life is overwhelming. Sometimes it’s sh*t. Sometimes it sucks to be a man in this world. But we want you to know, we love you, you are worthy… and we are with you.

For all the times you’ve had your heart broken, I want you to know, you’re not alone anymore.

We see you.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Laura Mazza of Mum on the Run, where it originally appeared. Submit your story here, and subscribe to our best love stories here.

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