CreativeCommons

The Three Critical Places We’re Losing Our Boys and Men What We Must Do to Save Them
Welcome. Thanks for subscribing to me and my work. As you know I'm a writer, researcher, entrepreneur, and psychologist who specializes in global health-care, gender-specific medicine, and helping us make the transition from Empire to Earth Communities. My latest book, MenAlive: Stop Killer Stress with Simple Energy Healing Tools is now available. I've had 11 books published including international best-sellers Male Menopause and The Irritable Male Syndrome that have been translated into more than 25 languages. I enjoy hearing from people and appreciate any comments you make. Thanks for being part of my community. Jed Diamond, Ph.D., LCSW, author http://www.MenAlive.com https://twitter.com/MenAliveNow http://www.facebook.com/MenaliveNow

Whatever you think about the health field, I suspect you’ll agree with me on the following:         It isn’t easy being a man today, though many of us try to hide this fact. We are told that males are the privileged sex and boys have it better than girls. We learn that real men are tough, take care of their own problems, and don’t complain. After all, what could we have to complain about? Social scientist Thomas Joiner, PhD, tells us, “Men make a lot of money and have all the accompanying privileges and power. This has been so for millennia. Men are over-represented in each of the following categories, just to name a few: those earning over $100,000 per year; Fortune 500 company CEOs; and U.S. presidents, state governors, and senators.” I’m assuming that you (and most of the men reading this book) don’t fall into any of those “privilege and power” categories. But for all of us, regardless of our wealth or position, the stresses we face can be deadly. A recent report states, “Males experience higher mortality rates than females at all stages of life from conception to old age.” Suicide is the most extreme indicator of the stress men feel today, particularly in men over forty. According to the National Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 38,364 people killed themselves in 2010 (the last year for which full statistics were available)—and 30,691 of them (80 percent) were male. Eleven times that number attempted suicide. I felt the reality of these statistics at a very young age. I still remember the terror I felt when I heard my father had an “accident” and was taken to the hospital. I was five years old, and he was forty-two. I didn’t learn until years later that he had tried to take his own life, but even as a small child I was aware of the stresses he felt as an out-of-work writer trying to support his family. When I was forty, I came across a journal he had written during that critical time of his life. He describes his mounting frustration, anger, and despair as his hopes and dreams began to fade: June 4 Your flesh crawls, your scalp wrinkles when you look around and see good writers, established writers, writers with credits a block long, unable to sell, unable to find work; yes, it’s enough to make anyone blanch, turn pale, and sicken. We can no longer afford to get sick. Our current medical system is not working well for many people. It’s too expensive and not effective enough in treating the chronic problems most of us face today. It’s better to prevent problems than to treat them. Stress is at the root of many of our medical problems. If we can reduce stress, we can improve our health. Treating humans as though we are machines doesn’t work. Our modern world separates us from ourselves, from each other, and from the earth. Our medical practices treat a thousand separate problems, but they often neglect the whole person. We need to have better choices. There must be a better way. June is Men’s Health month. Here are some things to consider to improving our health and the health of those we love.

August 15 Faster, faster, faster, I walk. I plug away looking for work, anything to support my family. I try, try, try, try, try. I always try and never stop. November 8 A hundred failures, an endless number of failures, until now, my confidence, my hope, my belief in myself has run completely out. Middle-aged, I stand and gaze ahead, numb, confused, and desperately worried. All around me, I see the young in spirit, the young at heart, with ten times my confidence, twice my youth, ten times my fervor, twice my education. I see them all, a whole army of them, battering at the same doors I’m battering, trying in the same field I’m trying. Yes, on a Sunday morning in early November, my hope and my life stream are both running desperately low, so low, so stagnant, that I hold my breath in fear, believing that the dark, blank curtain is about to descend. As a midlife man myself, I felt my father’s pain as his self-esteem slowly eroded away, the fear and frustration of trying to support a family taking its toll and the tide of shame beginning to envelope him. Six days after his November 8 entry, he tried to kill himself. Though he survived physically, our lives were never the same. Over the last thirty-five years, I’ve treated more and more men who face stresses similar to those my father experienced. The economic conditions and social dislocations that contributed to his feelings of shame and hopelessness continue to weigh heavily on men in today’s battered economy. As psychologist Herb Goldberg reminds us in his book, The Hazards of Being Male, “The male has paid a heavy price for his masculine ‘privilege’ and power.” He writes, “He is out of touch with his emotions and his body. He is playing by the rules of the male game plan and with lemming-like purpose he is destroying himself—emotionally, psychologically, and physically.” Three Critical Stages Where We Lose Men In order to reclaim our health and wellbeing, we have to overcome our denial and take a hard look at the reality of our lives. When I think about men’s health, I often think of my father. He loved baseball, but he would never watch it on television. He always preferred listening to it on the radio. I think he liked bringing his own imagination to the words and picturing the action in his mind. When I think about the crisis in men’s health, I picture a baseball field. To be successful in the game of baseball, you have to touch all three bases and make it home. If life were like baseball, I believe we’re losing too many men before they can make it around the bases and back to home plate. I believe we are losing men at three critical stages of their lives. Too many young men don’t ever make it to first base. The stresses of young adulthood lead to accidents, alcohol and drug abuse, and violence. We lose young men before they’ve had a chance to truly live. Many midlife men have trouble letting go of their youth. They try to stay forever young. They deny their age, refuse to make the turn at second base, and end up alone in left field. Older men often give up on life and become isolated, depressed, and withdrawn. They aren’t able to make the turn at third, and they end up dead in the dugout. When I’ve talked with men over the years, they often feel powerless to change their lives. This surprises women, who often see men as having most of power. In his book, Why Men Are the Way They Are, gender researcher Warren Farrell helps us better understand why men and women often have a

different experience of power and powerlessness. He says, “When a woman is divorced, has two children, no alimony, no child support, and no job experience—that is her experience of powerlessness. When a man is in the hospital with a coronary bypass operation caused by the stress of working two jobs to support two children his former wife won’t let him see, and he feels no other woman will get involved with him because of those very circumstances—that is his experience of powerlessness.” Farrell concludes, “Both feel loneliness. The flip sides of the same role make both sexes feel powerless.” To read more, please check out my latest book MenAlive: Stop Killer Stress with Simple Energy Healing Tools.

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