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Join Alison, Paul Elam and Tom Golden as we look at some letters sent to us by our listeners discussing men’s mental health.
Letters from the show:
Ryan H. writes:
Hello, badgers. I’m a 23 year old white man, and I have had a solitary mind since I was young. That is to say, I have had to rely on myself to try to craft the man who I was to become, who I wanted to become. Anyone who knows me now, and any who could find that little nugget in my younger brain that was to be a template of what I thought I might become, would find several (thousand) flaws between the two images.
This isn’t a sob story, and I don’t mean to make it out to be. I grew up without a father for much of my life. I met my stepfather when I was ten, but at that point, I was already well on my way to a downward spiral of ineptitude and disappointment in myself. I love my stepfather, he’s a good man and a good father, and I don’t blame him at all for how I’ve ended up, but throughout my life, I have never had a positive, male role model.
What I have done, is I have begun to cast a mold as I am still sculpting it, and the results have been disastrous; though I am intelligent, I have flunked out of community college no less than twice. Though I am more outgoing and witty than most, I find myself with a small handful of friends (only three, really) one of whom is like a brother to me, and is facing charges of continuous sexual abuse of a minor. I have only had one girlfriend in my life, and I barely knew what to do, and I ended up being the ‘nice guy’ boyfriend, and I bailed before I could make a mistake.
I say all of this because it’s the antithesis of who and what I WANTED to be. And still want. Today, at work, while listening to old songs that I enjoyed, I rediscovered Meatloaf, and the persona he uses within his songs (specifically Bat out of Hell and Paradise by the Dashboard Lights.) Listening to these songs now has inspired me, once again, to try to chip away through the wall of apathy that separates me from health and happiness, using the IDEA of a man in order to try to fix the mold and recast myself.
I’ve already gone on far, far too long, and I appreciate you taking the time to read this email. I very much enjoy HBR, and I appreciate what you all do as a service to society, and as an empathetic support for men all over the world. You’ll always have a friend and fan in me.
I wish you the best, and merry Christma-Hanah-Quanza-ka.
Jesse V writes:
Hi Honey Badgers. Big fan of the show. I’m looking for some advice.
I’m a 22 year old male with ADHD/PI and Anxiety. I’m the middle child in a family of 10 kids, where I grew up in a chaotic, unorganized household on welfare with an eccentric, spacey, but well-meaning mom and a paranoid, controlling, and emotionally neglectful father. I’ve always had a problem focusing my thoughts so school was always an issue for me. That, and the stigma of my family’s mental health led to me being shy and socially awkward around other people. For the most part I’ll be polite to people as a formality, but I’m generally distrustful of the intentions of people I don’t know. I eventually warm up to people if I like them enough, but whenever I talk to them I feel like I’m attention seeking and emotionally needy.
I also angst about my mental capabilities because I don’t feel like I’m good at anything in particular, and I lack any ambition or motivation. I have some hobbies/interests like superheroes, comic books, and video games, but I’m not skilled at any of those and I feel I’m sorely lacking in creativity.
I was wondering if there was any advice on better developing my interpersonal skills and/or finding my niche in life.
Thanks in advance!
P.S. Any of you guys or gals see Deadpool yet? It’s a good movie
Joseph A. writes:
Hey, Honey Badgers,
My name is Joseph and I am a nursing student from Indiana. I came across your videos last year and have been following what you do and what you advocate for. I wanted to tell you a bit about myself and to thank you for all that you do.
I graduated with a BS in Psychology back in 2014 with hopes of being a school counselor, hopes that were dashed by the lack of programs and the lack of accessibility into the field. Family, friends, and a girlfriend (at the time) urged me to pursue a degree in nursing where I could practice compassionate care for others all while growing and expanding myself as a person. I will soon finish my current program, a fast-track degree for a BSN and will be a licensed nurse come August. Through my time studying psychology and even more so in nursing, I am overshadowed by the voices and opinions of women, most of which identify as feminist (many of whom are radical feminists). I have been told that I should not work in fields that interest me, particularly in postpartum care, where I would be able to interact with mothers and babies alike. I plan to work in psych nursing, where I can act as an advocate for men and women alike.
Over the years, I identified as a feminist. As an impressionable young adult from a small Indiana town, going to a large university and interacting with others who held these beliefs made me particularly vulnerable to the rhetoric that they use. I’ve sat idly by and listened to girlfriends discuss their issues, from birth control to safety at parties or walking home alone. I have been compassionate towards those ideas and have supported them. That being said, I have always regarded myself as an egalitarian. Until recently, I never looked into the rights of men.
Over a year ago, I struggled with alcoholism and depression. At one point, I drank anywhere from 12 to 24 beers in a day up to four times a week. I was also taking Prozac on top of the alcohol, contributing to many nights where I would drink myself into oblivion and pushed myself further and further down a path that would end up with being arrested or killed. During this time, I thought about killing myself on multiple occasions but could never bring myself to a mindset where I could consider suicide as a viable option, despite having the means to do so. About 8 months ago, I quit drinking. Four months ago, I stopped taking my antidepressants. Currently, I struggle from time to time but watching your videos has helped me realize that I am not alone.
One day during my drunken endeavors, I stumbled across videos of Sargon of Akkad criticizing the Young Turks, media that I consumed daily. From Sargon, I found Karen’s videos. From Karen, I found HBR. If I am remembering right, it was a video of Dr Randomercam and Alison covering some Laci Greene video that really drew me in. I enjoy that you use humor and sarcasm while tackling topics that can be very distressing at times, especially those concerning sexual violence towards men or the disparity of equality in the family courts system. I watch many of your live streams when I have time and while I love Karen’s work, Doc and Alison are still my favorite Badgers.Â
Without your videos, it is likely that I would have ended up as I phrased earlier getting arrested or killed because of alcohol. My mental health has improved significantly and every day I wake up and think about what I can do to ensure that no one that I come across in my future profession will feel like I did and will know, men and women alike, that there are people out there that support them and advocate for their rights. I would love to contribute however I can; I do not currently donate to your Patreon, but I plan to once I have been established in my field and have money that I can do with as I please. While I do not agree with everything that you talk about, I do feel that the advocacy that you do and the materials you produce help people like myself who struggled with their own identity and what they believe is right. I consider myself a MRA but am very outspoken about it in my field. I hope that in my career I will be able to advocate for others in a way that you all have advocated for me. Particularly in psych nursing, where I have worked in clinicals and absolutely loved, there is a massive population of individuals who do not have proper advocates and do not feel supported. Many patients would tell me that the people who work with them do not care about the population with which they work. I hope to bring some kind of change to that system and truly support others.Â
I apologize if this email seems fractured or unorganized, I had four final exams yesterday. I am not the best student and much of the time I struggle with my studies. Anyway, I would like to thank you all once again and hope you continue to make your videos. There is much love from myself and people like me here in Indiana. Take care, I’ll see you all on your next live stream!
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