I have observed a worrying pattern. Especially among my male friends. There seems to be a silent agreement to bear things quietly because the alternative is to suffer ridicule. As the lockdown progressed, I watched a lot of my friends consume copious amounts of stimulants to cope with the uncertainty ahead. Most recently, lay-offs at work.
Worried by this trend, I asked a couple of men about their struggles. Unsurprisingly, none of them wanted to talk. However, when I promised anonymity, they started to speak freely. They were more worried about being publicly judged than the weight of their problems. Sigh.
Here are some of the things they had to say:
1) When it’s time to kill a rat.
“Who told anybody that I want to automatically take charge of every situation? It just feels like I am only remembered when it’s time for dangerous situations. Yes, I am also scared of rats. Why is it something I should be ashamed of? Is it penis you use to kill rat or stick?”
2) Being blamed for everything that happens.
“It’s funny that the people that blame me for everything that happens to them expect sympathy for me. Lol. It would be easier to sympathize if the feeling was even a bit mutual. Not being told that “I will be fine” because I am a man. After all, I don’t have problems.🌝”
3) Penis jokes.
“Since there are bigger issues in the world, people expect me to act cool with all the “2 seconds” jokes. Good luck to anyone expecting me to open up about performance issues. Women say men can’t satisfy them but from past experience, many boys have learned that being vulnerable will only end in jokes. They will use it against you when they are angry. God forbid.”
4) I feel stuck.
“I hate my job and I want to quit. The only issue is that every time I tell my wife, she warns me not to try it. I must keep doing the job because it funds our lifestyle. The ultimatum from her is clear; If I leave the job, it’s as good as leaving her. I am not suicidal or anything but getting hit by a car would solve a lot of my problems.”
5) Not being able to just break down and cry.
“In the hospital where I work, after a 48-hour shift, the consultants will tell the women to go home and rest. They get to freshen up before morning rounds. As a man, you dare not make the same request. Your guys will treat you like the smell from a diabetic foot. So, I always crack a hard guy smile like I am not pained. Deep inside, I just want to breakdown and cry because what kind of life is this?”
6) Struggling with spirituality.
“I am struggling with the expectation that as a man, you are to lead your wife and family spiritually. Right now, I am not even so sure that I am a Christian. But everyone expects me to lead. I feel so lost.”