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It's a man's world but not if you are paralysed by anxiety

Posted on 20 March 2017

When a man walks into my anxiety hypnotherapy clinic in Henley or Harley Street I can almost guarantee that they will be surprised when I tell them I see lots of men for similar issues.

There is a reason for this. Although there is more recognition than in the past of men’s mental health issues, it is still a taboo subject and men find it hard to acknowledge that they have a problem.

Yet the problem is huge. The number of men who are suffering badly and often in silence is increasing. A recent You Gov survey of men between 16 and 24 found nearly a quarter had self-harmed because they felt they could not cope.

With no help and no-one to talk to, men who are suffering with anxiety end up adopting coping mechanisms which only add to the problem. Even usually healthy behaviour can become extreme and change into something which is a problem as lonely, frightened men try to reassert some level of control over their thoughts and emotions.

The You Gov survey found excessive exercise and tightly controlled eating were used by young men in an attempt to control hurtful thoughts and feelings. In some cases, this can lead to direct physical harm, for example some young men carried on punishing exercise regimes even when they were injured. Even where this is not happening, this sort of behaviour will not be getting to the root causes of the problem.

Anxiety can also lead to large scale drug and alcohol abuse and violent behaviour such as hitting walls. Government statistics show men are much more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol than women and much of this abuse is an attempt to develop coping strategies when the pain of anxiety, depression or other mental problems gets too bad.

This seems to fit a pattern where men turn to risky behaviour more frequently than women. Also, they seek outside help less often, so ‘self-medicate’ with drugs and alcohol.

There is certainly a social aspect to this. Some of the anxieties which experts have seen growing in young women, such as obsession with body image and dislike of their body shape, are now showing up on a bigger scale in young men.

So, it is great to see an increasing number of charities dedicated to helping young men and there is an increasing awareness. I especially like the online services such as this one which are easily accessible to young men through their smartphones.

These services are particularly necessary as men often lack the social networks many women have where they can talk about emotions.

Anxiety hypnotherapy is helping men to talk ‘emotion’

Because they are often not practised at it, men can simply lack the language to articulate their feelings. This can lead to a vicious circle where, if they do try to talk, they feel clumsy and inarticulate or ‘a bit stupid’ as one man who came to my anxiety hypnotherapy clinic in Harley Street confided in me recently. When this happens I always work to convince my client that, although how they are experiencing their anxiety is unique, they are not the only person who is going through the horrible effects of anxiety.

It is amazing how much this helps, if you know you are not alone it makes it much easier to accept help. Isolation can increase those feelings of not being good enough or not being worth respect and love. These feelings are shaped by our different life experiences.

For men, this can often be a lifetime experience of being told that ‘men don’t cry’; men are often told not to talk about their feelings and that disclosing emotions is somehow unmanly. They may also often find themselves in cold and ‘emotionally illiterate’ workplaces and social spaces where they feel as if there is a glass wall between them and the rest of the world. At the same time, they are told that they must cope and manage and be responsible for the wellbeing of their families.

I work with my individual clients to help them overcome these outdated assumptions and blocks and replace them with a healthier mental attitude. Once I have built trust with a client this process can happen surprisingly quickly and a happier life can result.

I am here with anxiety hypnosis clinics in London and in Henley-on-Thames so break that isolation and come and see me.

Fiona Nicolson on Google+

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