The phrase “man up” never cured world hunger.
Yet young men like me hear it all the time. Just have more discipline. Just work harder. My question is always, why?
As a former depressed young man that suffered in silence for decades, this is a topic close to my heart. I went down the rabbit hole to find out why so many young men are deeply depressed.
3200 people shared their thoughts here. And another 3100 people discussed the topic on Reddit here.
First off, there were many bad reasons that I doubt have anything to do with it. A few crazies mentioned religion … like that solves anything.
Quite a few blamed low testosterone. This is mostly unscientific. The craze of low testosterone being the answer for men’s problems became popular around the same time as the miracle supplements that supposedly cure it.
A few creeps even blamed women and the feminist movement for depressed men’s problems. Pretty sure that’s not it.
Let’s find out why men are *really* depressed.
A lack of good male role models
In the last 12 months male role models hit rock bottom.
Somehow a wild man named Andrew Bait-Hate (not saying his real name) took over the internet. Men fell for his cheap tricks with their d*cks.
The wild crap he said was so bad literally every social media platform banned him. Old mate Elon let him back though.
When the most popular role model is a man driving around in Lambos with blow up dolls in the passenger seat, you really have to wonder what the heck is going on. Surely men aren’t this dumb?
Now the saga is over. Hopefully, a few good male role models pop up in place of Andrew Hate.
There’s always Keanu Reeves 🙂
The overwhelming #1 reason men are depressed
Men are depressed because they lack purpose.
Everywhere I looked on the internet this answer came up. I can relate to it. When I was deeply depressed every day felt the same. I had no drive. I felt like I wasn’t part of something bigger than myself.
I lived to exist.
The internet has taught men to love the view from the summit rather than love the climb up the mountain. (Hat-tilt Sahil Bloom.)
The fastest way to lack purpose is to live on auto-pilot. To wake up every day and do the same old sh*t with zero randomness or creativity. This is how most men live and it’s tragic. No wonder young men are sad.
“If you don’t know what you want,” the doorman said, “you end up with a lot you don’t.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
Men rarely hear these phrases
“I believe in you,”
“You can do it?”
“How are you?”
“How you feeling?”
“I love you?”
Malique David Lewis nailed it. As men, a lot of time we’re on our own. We’re supposed to deal with hard things. We’re supposed to overcome any adversity.
We’re supposed to hide how we feel so we don’t look weak.
But when the hell did that become normal?
Maybe what men need is more empathy toward one another. Maybe we need to open up and stop trying to look so damn tough and invincible. It’s okay to lose. It’s okay to fail. It’s okay to be scared.
Lack of human interaction
The whole world operates online these days.
There’s no reason to leave home when you can work some or all of your days from home in your David Beckham underpants. Even school can be 100% online. Why leave home?
The challenge is this lifestyle can lead to loneliness.
It’s easy to yell in a tweet reply or use some horrific insult in a multiplayer game of Fortnite. It’s ten times harder to do in real life.
A lack of human interaction can numb us to the feelings of others. We can get so busy at talking that we forget how to listen.
The online world doesn’t exactly make it easy to listen, does it?
This wouldn’t be a story about men if it didn’t contain this
It’s no surprise p*rn came up a lot in this debate.
Previous generations didn’t have this same problem. They had to pay to get their rocks off or muster up the big balls needed to ask a sexy person out.
All the skin-on-skin action is at your fingertips. It starts out as the softcore variety via Instagram, then it can escalate into all sorts of weird acts too naughty for this G-rated blogger.
When all a man does is reach the highs of getting himself off, everything else can feel numb or boring. The images and videos literally rot a man’s brain. What’s normal becomes wildly out of proportion.
When the real world isn’t like the ultra-hypersensitized one on a screen, no doubt, it leads to massive disappointment and even depression.
P*rn should come with a warning label: may rot your brain.
Swipe right hookup culture
Dating apps with swipe right functionality will be the death of me.
My experience on these apps was so toxic I can barely write about it without getting upset. Again: lack of empathy.
These apps have tricked men. Long-term relationships are not as attractive nowadays thanks to hookup culture.
Why have one rumpy-pumpy partner when you can have more? Never settle. Play around. Let the slightest of defects force you to “go back into the market.”
A few of my female friends revealed a scary truth to me.
They said that many men scare them away when they try to act out wild fantasies in the bedroom that they saw in some raunchy adult film. It’s just not natural so women run in the other direction.
All this can lead to a large number of single men. There’s nothing wrong with being single, but for some men (like myself) it feels like death.
Men want to make easy money
There’s nothing more masculine than a successful business.
It screams “I’ve made it mommy” in a teenage cheerleader voice. The challenge is it’s forced some men to think making money is easy. Youtube and other channels have made the problem worse.
But making a lot of money isn’t easy, otherwise everyone would live in a Utopian fantasy where we each drove a Lambo. Making good money is hard. The thrill of the chase should be part of the allure.
Yet often it’s not.
Men quietly think to themselves “why aren’t I bloody rich yet?” I can say this because I felt this way as a depressed 26 year old. All I wanted was a truckload of cash and as many sports cars as I could buy.
I’d walk over dead bodies and weak zombies to get there. Then I got it all and became even more depressed. Even if I could say the money was easy to make (it wasn’t), every other part of my life suffered.
Us men need to reframe how we think about money.
Too much alcohol
It kills brain cells.
And we men sure do love to drink because it makes us look manly in front of each other.
Alcohol does nothing but numb the pain and delay it to some future point. Drinking culture has become so normal that I get called a weirdo everywhere I go for drinking water (what humans were built to drink).
If men dealt with problems instead of mask them with alcohol, we’d be an entirely different species.
An individualism epidemic
One suggestion is that, as men, we can be so consumed with ourselves we forget to be interested in others and commit selfless acts.
I’m certainly guilty of this. It’s easy to get caught up in a career or live day and night for a business you created, that you forget there are bigger problems in society than how many customers you sold to today.
No matter what year in history it is we can always do with more selflessness.
We have a comfort crisis
Comfort is a cage inside a zoo.
Author Michael Easter first coined the comfort crisis. It suggests modern conveniences have made life so easy that we don’t know what hard is anymore.
The book “The Coddling of the American Mind” goes a step further.
It suggests the safety culture we’re drowning in has come from all of this comfort. It’s why political correctness and social justice causes in workplaces are out of control.
It’s why there are trigger warnings on everything.
Grown men are led down this creepy garden path by all sorts of people with dangerous motives designed to suppress ideas and numb minds.
Men are depressed for many different reasons.
Because we rarely talk about our problems or feelings, it can easily turn into a crisis. I can’t help but think though…
Maybe life has always been hard and this is nothing new. I’ll let you decide.