The truth of life is we all have to die one day. Our mortality is the only certainty in our uncertain lives. Still some deaths are more heartbreaking than the others. Nothing can be more devastating than losing a loved one to the monstrous suicide. Last week the famous chef and the host of Parts Unkown, the culinary god Anthony Bourdain committed suicide in his French Hotel. I have always been an ardent fan of cooking shows and Bourdain’s take on food and his humble style reckoned with me like nothing else. A few years ago, the great Robin Williams was found dead in his room apparently a suicide too. In my own family, I’ve been a witness to a suicide of an uncle and a dear pal. These untimely deaths left me bereaved and with several questions. According to a survey, there has been a staggering rise in the male suicides. Is there something going on with our men that we are unaware of?
Male Mental Health & Suicide
Before marriage men were always mythical creatures to me, raised by a single mother without any uncles around, for my comfort I had created an image of men in my mind; a knight in shining armor with a herculean body with only one emotion romance. Yes, as traditional and stereotypical it sounds I didn’t believe that men have emotions like women. Growing up I was told, men don’t cry, and they don’t feel pain. As I grew up and came in contact with real men not the figments of my imagination, I realized men have emotions too and some pretty intense emotions. They too sob in pillows, cry in pain and go through mood fluctuations. It was a revelation to me, and I am sure to many women out there. In the twenty-first century with ever-shifting roles, men are more prone to depression than women. The pressure to sustain a family coupled with an unimaginable pressure that modern society puts on men. I feel less has been done in the field of male psychology. There is no awareness and specific study on the male mental health.
Feminism began in 1920’s with a noble intention of ending subjugation of women. The suffragists went from pillar to post fighting for the equal rights for women. Although the fervor of feminism is still there, somewhere, I think we have missed the core purpose. The misplaced feminism has trivialized the issues of women by the mere bashing of men. I don’t think that the endeavor was to accuse the men of all the wrongs or to treat them unfairly. Gender equality is about ethics and fair treatment. However, in the contemporary world, it has been reduced to rumor mongering and mudslinging of the worst kind. I do believe that the early feminists wanted men to be an integral part of this great movement not to isolate them. What’s more surprising is the negative role of media which is trying to reinforce a misunderstood version of feminism. As a result, many men feel cornered and misrepresented. It is true that women are still not paid equally to men and in many parts, women are still denied basic rights, but that doesn’t mean that we end up punishing men who are good.
Perhaps it will always remain a mystery why someone ends up taking such a drastic step as suicide. It’s impossible to tell in some cases where the person showed no behavioral patterns or signs of depression. All we can do is to interact with our friends and family member on a daily basis and be watchful if there are some apparent signs. Also, most important let’s not corner anyone based on caste or gender. Men and women alike are equally susceptible of falling into the dark trenches of depression. As Milton rightly said, “mind can make a heaven out of hell and hell out of a heaven.”