In Their Words…Art
We have come to learn just how much men appreciate reading/listening to the stories of other men who have dealt with depression, anxiety, and the challenges that go along with these conditions. I have reached out to the 140 men who attend our support groups and asked them if they would be willing to share a story that was important to them that relates to the struggles they have had. I have made no edits to the content of what they wrote and the words that follow are those of the man who wrote them. Today I am sharing a story by Art, who attends a Face It Men’s group.
Face It has improved my life in many ways. Regular attendance of my group meetings and other events is an important part managing my life while dealing with anxiety in depression. One of the areas where it has helped the most is in my relationships with other people. I would like to go over a few of the ways Face It has helped me specifically with romantic relationships. All of these things are interrelated.
First off, Face It gives me a safe place to talk about feelings with other men. That is all too rare in this world. There is a certain camaraderie that is quickly established when one realizes there are other men who have been through similar struggles. No one at a Face It meeting is going to tell someone who is struggling to “toughen up, buttercup.” We find that everyone’s situation is different, but there are many similarities. Face It provides a forum for these sometimes-difficult conversations; all the practice rubs off in my other relationships romantic and otherwise.
Secondly, I am more in touch with my feelings. In the past, when my partner has asked me how I am feeling, I might reply “fine” or “I am depressed.” Those short statements might get me off the hook temporarily, but they do not express what is actually going on. Having so much practice from Face It with identifying what exactly is going on in my head. Now, I am much more likely to offer further explanation: “Work is busy and stressing me out. I am feeling like maybe I am feeling insecure in my abilities and that could be linked to my depression.” That gives my partner a lot more to go on. It also opens up the possibility for further discussion and for her to offer me support specific to what is going on that is troubling me.
Lastly, and maybe most importantly, I believe I am a lot easier to be around since I have been attending Face It. Instead of leaving my feelings buried, they tend to come out to the group of ten men that have become my closest friends. Support, ideas and advice are offered. I am not left alone to muddle through. After leaving a Face It group meeting, I sometime experience a “high.” Even if I am in a bad place, I feel a sense of hope and understanding that was not there before. This is definitely apparent to my partner afterward. It is not uncommon that the energy I bring out of a meeting will translate into very valuable conversations with my partner.
Moreover, Face It has made me more open in my relationships. I am much happier and I believe much easier to get along with.
Please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or thoughts and I will pass them along to Art.