More on Anxiety and Depression

I have gotten much more feedback than I ever expected on this topic from private emails. As a result, I am writing a second article on the topic for those who wrote to me. I feel a responsibility to you out there, since I wrote about this, and started the dialogue by “coming out” as having anxiety disorder.  Most people, especially men don’t want to talk about this topic because as one guy said, this kind of stuff usually happens to women who are more emotional than men.

I think that’s where a HUGE part of the problem begins. Men typically hide their emotional feelings in dealing with life where women behave differently by allowing themselves to express emotion. I had thought that the mentality behind this stereotype ended with my parents but apparently it hasn’t. It makes me wonder if the reports of women having more anxiety and depression than men are wrong because as I just stated, men don’t talk about this openly as women do and I believe that men NEED to begin a dialogue about this. I wonder how many men are hiding in fear with this?

Another huge issue (and I touched on this in an earlier post) is you cannot see this under a microscope. You can diagnose HIV and see what it is or cancer, diabetes, a stroke, or cardiovascular disease but (and I can speak from personal experience) you can go to the doctor 100 times take all kinds of tests for the physical symptoms but nothing shows up!

This gives rise to the statements such as, “Just get over it” or “what are you crazy or something?” “There’s nothing wrong with you. The tests show you’re ok!” I want to tell you all something, Just because it cannot be quantified doesn’t mean you’re ok.  Problem is, you’re NOT ok regardless of how you look or how “others” see you or perceive you to be! This is where a good caring therapist comes in, and maybe even sometimes a psychiatrist to prescribe medication to ease the symptoms while you work on your issues with your therapist. MANY times the symptoms INCREASE as you deal with them; the issues you hid, beat down or pushed down so as not to deal with or even look at them.

Now comes the stigma and it can be worse, much worse, than any stigma of HIV or any other disease because people think of mental illness as a person who goes off his rocker and is the proverbial ticking time bomb ready to go off. Or those who think that the person may turn on themselves AND others or just on himself and commit suicide. These are ALL extreme but you’d be surprised how many out there think that. This creates a huge stigma where so many go into hiding (another reason to hide) because of the “name” you get if found out. Well if you hide, you give power to the illness and if you come out you take away the power from the illness, giving it BACK to yourself! You CAN and WILL get better if you seek help and treatment. You CAN live a fulfilling and full life. You are NO less of a man for coming out into the open admitting you have a problem with anxiety, depression, BOTH or any number of other emotional challenges that result in illness. Remember its NOT a disease its an illness.

The beginning of these problems vary greatly from person to person on an individual basis. It can start with nervousness, anxiety or with anxiety that leads to a panic attack, or depression from a traumatic incident, or abuse from parents or siblings, or depression FROM the anxiety and nervousness. Whatever the reason, if you have it you need to fix it. This isn’t going away on its own. TRUST ME ON THIS FACT! Its not a common cold. Repressing your feelings will only make things worse down the road because by burying it now means it will only rear its ugly head later and TRUST me, it ALWAYS does. Any traumatic incident in your life that happens, it WILL come back. IT WILL!! You may have stretches of time where you’re doing fine but then BANG, you get a panic attack or something throws you into a tailspin and you’re back to square one. All the old feelings insecurities and problem come racing back because they were never dealt with. The only way is to face it, deal with it, and get help for it. PLEASE keep writing me. IF you all would like to start an online support group to discuss our day to day goings on, I am up for it.

CATFISHING (CATFISH)

Many of us have seen the popular MTV series “Catfish”. In a nutshell, it is all about people who have online romances and relationships without ever meeting the person they have fallen for. 99% of the time the person is found out to NOT be the person in the photos. Thus far this is season two and ALL of the people involved are on Facebook. I wanted to do a little experiment after watching EVERY episode of the series since the beginning but instead of using Facebook I used my smartphone and one of the gay male chat sites.  I want to tell you I was ONLY using the fake profile for 7 days. I NEVER promised to meet anyone, fall in love, have a relationship or conduct myself in any way but friendly. There were NO sexual overtones that came from me. and there was NO on line sexual activity. I put up a photo of a very hot built guy that was jacked up (the term for steroid use) and I was up and running on my phone within 10 minutes with a full profile and a photo. The photo was not nude or sexual. It was simply a face picture photo of a jacked up guy flexing and ONLY from the waist up.

I am not going to divulge which site I used or the photo of the guy who I claimed to be. AGAIN, I used this profile for EXACTLY ONE WEEK. At the end of that time, I TOLD EVERYONE I chatted with, that the guy in the photo was NOT me and that I was conducting an experiment. I apologized for the deception but I wanted to know the Why’s of how people get SO caught up and involved online with total strangers and will fall in love with someone they really DO NOT know! Was it a dirty trick? NO because I came clean and apologized and in one weeks time the profile was gone. I am probably the most straight up man you will ever meet; being brutally honest sometimes; not only with others but even more-so with myself. I have no problem righting wrongs and correcting my own behavior when needed. On Catfish the vast majority are straight YOUNG people in their 20’s on Facebook. I dealt ONLY with gay men from 21 to 60 on a gay smartphone chat site. I dare say that if I had a phony profile on Facebook the results would have been the same.

I discovered some VERY big issues. There are a LOT of lonely gay men out there. With all the looks, the big jacked up bodies, there’s a lot of loneliness. The big guys that I chatted with weren’t really happy. They were the MOST respectful to me actually. They didn’t hit on me sexually at all. They were more interested in what my workout was like and where I went to the gym. They did NOT go to the bars at all and preferred staying at home NOT doing the party scene. There were some who did the drugs, party and have lots of anonymous sex but the vast majority did NOT. The most disrespectful men were the average guys. Actually they were down right cruel and mean. One telling me flat out, ” I guess I’m not doing enough cycles of steroids to get your interest, and then blocked me”. Believe it or not I got blocked A LOT! Again NOT from the other big guys but from the average joe’s who were insulted that I didn’t want to have sex with them after 5 minutes. Most of the young guys in their 20’s just wanted sex and nothing more. The majority of men who contacted me were single although there were a few in relationships who wanted to cheat, but not many; and others wanted 3 ways. This has given me a totally new and different perspective on jacked up big guys. They are more lonelier than the average guy and MUCH more sensitive than you would think. Thy hang out with each other, not for sex but to discuss their gym routines and cycles of steroids in a support system. They feel that they will be judged by those who don’t use so they hang out with their own, and I was one of them so I was instantly accepted into their circle on line. One told me they hung out together like nuns riding in a Volkswagen! They respected my likes and dislikes and not one of them ever were mean or blocked me because of my opinions. It was the average guys and the young ones who used the blocking feature 100% of the time. The MOST rude,cruel and mean were the guys who were overweight and less than average in looks (this is a subjective term, but its what *I* think of as overweight and less than attractive). It appears that gay men WANT to be connected to each other but are afraid of rejection and they hide behind the screen where they don’t have to put themselves out there. A LOT of guys are REALLY looking for love or at least that’s what they say. It is the late night when I was asked MANY MANY times to go over to their place to sleep with them and to cuddle; no sex just cuddle. They didn’t want to be alone but they don’t find any satisfaction in the bars and many of them are not finding any satisfaction on line but they felt that if only they were big enough or hot enough they would be happy. Being on line was filling up time because they were bored. MANY guys wanted to give me a massage. Some wanted me to dominate them and others wanted to dominate me. REMEMBER these are ONLY MY PERCEPTIONS over a VERY short period of time on ONLY ONE chat site but even so,  it gave me a new perspective on cat-fishing and where our culture is now. Only thing is, where are we?