On January 17, 2010, Joshua R. Beharry stood on a British Columbia bridge, attempting to end his life.
Luckily, his attempt failed, and today Beharry is a mental health advocate and Project Coordinator of HeadsUpGuys, a British Columbia-based campaign to support men who have depression. He tells his story so that men, and all people with depression, can feel empowered to reach out.
“I didn’t really start out trying to reach men more specifically,” Beharry wrote to Talkspace in an email interview. “But through my work at HeadsUpGuys I’ve come to realize that a lot of guys go through similar issues and face similar barriers to reaching out as I did.”
Beharry is not alone. While more women than men attempt suicide, more men than women — 3.53 times more, in fact — complete it. This contradicts the widespread notion that depression, and other mental illnesses, are women’s diseases — and points to a serious gap in mental health resources for men. Researchers have found that while factors like racial discrimination and cost of mental health care prevent men from reaching out for mental health help, there’s another culprit: toxic masculinity, or harmful stereotypes about what it means to be a man.
Continue reading Why Don’t Men Ask for Mental Health Help?
My mom had one response to our childhood complaints of schoolyard mean girls: “They’re probably having problems at home. Let it go.”
I, of course, wasn’t having any of it. “But they’re mean to me,” I would wail. “Can’t you take my side?”
Now that the grade school social scene is firmly behind me, I understand that my mother didn’t literally mean that every kid who picked on others had a difficult home life. She meant instead that people hurt one another for a reason, and understanding those reasons can help us make sense of hurtful experiences and move on.
Research on forgiveness backs up my mother’s advice, with numerous studies (below) finding that forgiveness not only encourages emotional healing, it can improve your physical health.
Continue reading Do You Have to Forgive to Move On?
Forty dollar, potentially toxic “raw” water. Pricey massages. A $400 juicing machine that doesn’t even juice. These days, wellness is big business. The average person is constantly bombarded with hot new wellness trends promising to make them healthier, happier, and more relaxed. Many of these products and services praise the benefits of self-care, or prioritize the self to de-stress, enjoy life, and prevent burnout.
Of course, this brand of self-care is drenched in irony. By making self-care into a task to check off the to-do list in your hectic schedule, many wellness trends create yet another yardstick to measure yourself by. At the same time, these trends can come with hefty price tags, making it sound like taking care of yourself requires a fancy, Silicon Valley-level paycheck.
Continue reading The Anxiety of Treating Yourself: When Self-Care Becomes Problematic
“A friendship between college girls is grander and more dramatic than any romance.”
So says Hannah Horvath, Lena Dunham’s character in the hit TV show Girls, which follows four women in their twenties through romance, career — and most importantly, friendship.
It’s not just college women who have grand and dramatic friendships. While friends tend to be given short shrift to romantic relationships in our culture, our friendships are super important to our mental and emotionl lives. And the joys and traumas of friendship can be just as painful, if not more so, than the ups and downs of a romantic relationship.
Continue reading How To Survive a (Friendship) Breakup
We all get anxious sometimes: first-date butterflies, taking a test worth 33% of our final grade, or driving away from home only to wonder if we really turned off the stove. Most of the time, these everyday worries pass.
But if you have an anxiety disorder, daily worries can take over your life. From work performance to social interactions and everything in between, an anxiety disorder can leave you feeling nervous, fearful, agitated, and constantly on edge. Luckily, therapists can help those who suffer from anxiety disorders learn to cope with symptoms, and address habits caused by anxiety.
Understanding these habits is the first step toward living happily and healthily with an anxiety disorder. And the news isn’t all bad: Many of the habits people with anxiety express can actually be good qualities if channeled in the right way. Here are some common habits of people with anxiety, and how you can find your secret strengths inside of these behaviors.
Continue reading The Unexpectedly Positive Attributes of Anxiety
“Why don’t you date?”
My therapist’s comment took me aback. After a difficult relationship, why didn’t I put myself back out there? After all, meeting new people would be a healthy distraction, enrich my social life, and build up my confidence by reminding me how ridiculously charming and attractive I am.
Okay, maybe I don’t have a problem with confidence.
I have never been shy or reluctant to meet new people. But the idea of dating left me exhausted. More sexist men, more risk of sexual violence, more worrying that — Cat Person-style — a seemingly innocuous date would reveal a shock of coercion under his charm.
Continue reading Dating as a Woman: Balancing a Desire for Intimacy with the Threat of Violence
Studies show it, anecdotes illustrate it, and entire movements are built around it: When it comes to professional and even personal success, historically marginalized people — women, racial minorities, sexual minorities, people with disabilities, and others — are judged negatively for their strengths.
Whether it’s women being punished for academic success or people of color being judged less competent than their less-qualified white peers, discrimination continues to hamper us, from the classroom to the boardroom.
Continue reading How Marginalized People Can Overcome Imposter Syndrome
Your palms sweat. Your heart races. You don’t remember where you are — are you here, now, or back in another, scarier time?
This is a flashback. And for many people living with PTSD, it’s a common experience. Faced with a reminder of a traumatic event, someone with PTSD can be jerked back into the mental, emotional and even physical experience of trauma.
But what happens when that trauma is ongoing, or a prolonged series of events? This is where a Complex PTSD diagnosis bridges an important behavioral health gap.
Continue reading Complex PTSD: How a New Diagnosis Differs From Standard PTSD
“I promise I’ll change.”
These are four words most people in a relationship with an abusive partner have probably heard. Longed-for yet dreaded, the words can offer both hope and disappointment. Hope that things really will get better this time, and disappointment when, inevitably, the abusive behavior—whether emotional, physical, or verbal—begins all over again.
We’ve all heard that a leopard can’t change its spots. But what about an abusive partner?
Continue reading My Abusive Partner Promises They’ll Change. Will They?
Even the most dynamic of duos has the occasional fight. Whether it begins with “Who forgot to take the dog out?” or “Do I really have to go to your brother’s birthday party?”, having arguments is a common — and healthy — part of any relationship.
But in some cases, what we call an “argument” is actually something worse. Ever had a partner who criticizes everything you do? Who shouts and uses cruel language when they get angry (and they may fly off the handle a lot)? Who makes you feel like you’re wrong or “too sensitive” when you try to speak up?
Continue reading Is It a Normal Fight or Verbal Abuse? Here’s How to Tell