INTRO 1 – Don’t bottle it up
There’s still a lot to be said for the stiff upper lip. Just a few minutes on Facebook will have any self-respecting mid-lifer running for cover under a barrage of ‘Yaaayyyyy!!’, ‘Love you hun!’ ‘Big hugs!’ ‘So True!!’ all followed by the obligatory ‘xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxs’. Whatever happened to emotional restraint for God’s sake? Rest assured, Churchill wouldn’t do emojis.
All that said, it’s equally important that mid-lifers don’t go too far the other way on the emotional restraint scale. There’s a massive body of research to prove that bottling up your feelings and not showing weakness isn’t smart. One glance at the scarily high suicide rate amongst mid lifers is more than enough evidence of this.
Men then need to seek out the happy emotional middle-ground that lies somewhere between ‘Yayyyy!!’ and ‘No I’m fine’. No one’s advocating group hug sessions with work colleagues, or cheese-laden Haiku on your good lady’s pillow:
“My last jigsaw piece
Your love means my World make sense
You complete me.”
Actually that’s not bad......What is absolutely essential, however, is that when you are feeling anxious or down – and we all do - don’t grin and bear it, share it. Whether it’s with your good lady, best man, best mate, your GP, the Samaritans, or – shock horror – your Mum or Dad, talk about it with someone you can trust to be discreet and honest. It’s not a sign of weakness but strength, recognising that there’s something slightly wrong and you’ve made a positive choice to address it. If you broke your leg you wouldn’t expect the receptionist at A&E to congratulate you on being brave enough to come in and address the issue, and the same mentality must apply here.
I can almost guarantee that you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the positive response you get from those you confide in, and will feel a massive surge of relief the moment you start talking.