October 14, 2021

Why Is It So Hard to Speak About My Mental Health?

Greg Shearer

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PoetryStasi, 2021

As a working class Glaswegian who grew up with little to no understanding of mental health issues other than occasionally meeting someone with the prefix of ‘mental’ so and so or overhearing in hushed tones drunken family members refer to an uncle or cousin who had ‘passed away’, the past decade has been a difficult and enlightening time for my understanding of mental health. It has also been one that has seen my own struggles with depression come to the forefront and this piece is an expression of the frustration I found when seeking professional help. The difficulty that comes to a working class male when having to seek help, particularly from those who are seen as your ‘betters’ i.e. professionals, is in my experience a wrestling match between your desire to be better and your prideful unwillingness to admit there is a problem or indeed to discuss your perceived weakness. This poem I hope will be seen as both accurate and absurd and opens a conversation about how both working class men can and should seek help but also how the systems in place create barriers to their seeking help.