Being A Man With Mental Illness

I have spent most of my life alone.  The last time I had a roommate was my senior year of college in 2004.  Lived alone ever since.  Some days it’s all right, being free to do whatever I want and whenever I want.  Some days it is almost unbearable though.  The worst days are when I make multiple attempts to reach out to people only to be ignored.  Sometimes when I want to talk to someone, I’d rather it not be family.  As much as I love my family, they can be narrow minded and judgmental about some things.  Sometimes I feel like I can’t be my true self around them.  I severely censor myself or keep my problems to myself because I’m in no mood for a lecture or being condemned.  Irritates me that, even after twenty years of mental illness, I’m still blown off and told to “quit whining”, “be a man”, or “you’re so lucky.”  I still hear all of these quite often.  And people wonder why so many men never talk about their problems or make emotional connections to anyone.  Having a mental illness makes this only worse.

People have often asked me when I’m getting married.  I don’t usually have the stomach to tell them never.  Most of the time I want to tell them to shove off.  I never want to get married.  For one, my mental illness would make me a lousy husband and father.  Second, my mental illness makes it impossible for me to hold a job.  And let’s face it, almost no one respects a stay at home dad.  Third, I fear getting divorced and losing my family, my friends, my home, my prestige, just because I made the mistake of marrying the wrong person.  Fourth, why should I?  My entire life I heard this “I don’t need a man” or “You go girl” or “girl power”, etc.  Which I really have no problem with except that too many people build others up by tearing others down.  Why is it when I say I don’t need a woman living in my house I’m seen as weird and weak?  Why do women get to expand their roles beyond the traditional nurturers and home managers but men are expected to just stay in the moldy old days?  I don’t understand that.  It makes no sense.  What does the world really lose because I choose not to marry, have kids, or get myself an early grave trying to prove my worthiness for life at a job that ultimately means nothing?  Why do I have to prove myself all the time?  Why do I have to earn my humanity and manhood?  I really want to know.  And why, oh why, can’t we just leave people that don’t fit in alone and stop bugging them?  Will civilization collapse if everyone isn’t doing the exact same thing all the time?  No.  So stop expecting everyone to fit into some subdivision.

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