By Kevon Mukabi a 1st year Marketing NTU Student
‘I’ll be fine, it’ll be okay, I just have to hold it in a little better today,’ he assured himself. J was never the kind of person to speak about how he felt. He was conditioned to believe that as a man, the less you were vulnerable, the less emotions you showed, the more manly you appeared to be. To him, having not shed a tear in three years was his biggest achievement. He had become so adept about hiding his emotions, but little did he know it was doing more harm than good.
Was society to be blamed for why he acted this way? To a large extent, yes. The environment we find ourselves in directly correlates with how we interact with our emotions and as such, many men today find themselves in the opposite end of the spectrum. Many have grown up in areas where from such a young age, if a boy was to hurt himself in the playground, they would immediately be instructed to stop crying and man up. Boys often grow up to believe that they must bottle their emotions and keep them to themselves. For some, they find it okay. Until it’s not.
‘I’ll just have to hold it in a little better today.’ He assured himself, again. How much longer do we have to hold it in? When is the right time to speak up? Men feel too. We have emotions like every other human being and it’s important to be able to address them and speak about them. I have found it very helpful to find an outlet for my emotions and I am grateful to have a couple of other male friends who I can comfortably speak to when stressed or just feeling a bit low. There is comfort in knowing that you are not alone and having an opportunity to discuss very pertinent mental health issues as opposed to bottling everything up because at one point, you might explode and spill on people and situations you had planned not to.
Alongside this, journaling has become very helpful, especially when I need to let out my emotions more extensively, it also gives me an opportunity to go back and see the kind of mental space that I was at when writing things down and I can use that as a way of selecting personal areas that need growth and also taking note of certain recurring habits, partially ones that pertain how I talk about myself. Finding what works best for you might take a while, but it is worth giving it a shot.
Lastly, bearing in mind that it is men’s mental health week: check on a fellow brother, find out how your cousin, nephew, dad, friend, or uncle is doing. Sometimes all it takes is to feel that someone else cares, that someone else can resonate with our hurt, that someone can be there for us, that someone acknowledges that men feel too!
For help, advice and resources whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.
- Support from NTU
- Self-Care books in NTU’s libraries
- Silvercloud: SilverCloud is our online system designed to help with a range of mental health issues.
- Health and Wellbeing resources
- NTSU Information and Advice service
- Wellness in Mind: Advice and support for anyone in Nottingham experiencing issues with their mental wellbeing
- Student Minds or Student Space
- 10 Keys to happiness