Becoming a man: Dealing with personal problems.

15yr old me


In Year 9 after two years of bullying, I admitted defeat, I trudged into the school counselors office and made an appointment.

Asking for help in my eyes was seen as a weakness. I was an independent soul. I disliked playing in team sports and I got annoyed at group projects. Even more embarrassing about the defeat was that, I was going to a counselor! Going to the counselor meant that I must have massive problems.

So with reluctance, I sat down and talked about my bullying problem, the counselor told me that I cannot look like a victim, next time I walk past the bully, look him straight in the eye and keep walking.

I didn’t believe that it would work. I gave it a shot anyway. To my surprise it bloody worked! I was so surprised that I ran back to the counselor’s office and recounted the event.

From that week out, I started rocking up at the school counselor every week. He was a sounding board for all my thoughts.

I never thought anyone would be able to help me with my personal problems. I thought, as men we were meant to be able to deal with all that emotional stuff by ourselves. I thought that my problems were too small. I was wrong.

Today, I worry that a lot of men still think that asking for help with personal problems is a sign of weakness. To me an attribute of a modern man is someone who is not scared of their feelings and understands when they have a problem and is not afraid to ask for help.

I cannot recommend seeing a counselor enough. Counselors are great because they are not involved with your life so there advice is always impartial. If you have kids, make sure to let them know that they can talk to a school counselor about anything they like.

I was nervous about writing this post, but I found the guts to write it from seeing fellow bloggers Mark(who has a post on becoming a man coming up in the next few days), Matt and Gavin who have shared their feelings in the public forum of online. Thanks guys!


This post is part of Man Week organized by Reach Out. I urge others to lead by example and share your stories about what it means to be a man.

110 comments:

Hayley_Gleeson said...

Great post.

Hayley_Gleeson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jefske said...

this is a really nice post.
props to Reach Out for their work too.

Ben Shepherd said...

It's crazy that people are scared/reluctant/worried about asking for help ... no matter how bad the situation might be.

I had someone very close to me go through absolute personal hell for years when reaching out for help would have assisted in them turning it around. This person hit rock bottom pretty badly but is now turning things around and making great progress.

The only regret they have is not doing it sooner :)

Annik said...

I dig 15 year old Julian's frosted tips and thumb ring. How could the bullies pick on such a fash fash alt bro?

I also has some sessions with my highschool counselor (under duress) and the sum total of her advice was "Maybe when you feel like cutting yourself, you should try listening to happy music?"

Yours sounds like he was more helpful though.

I think that all these manly ideas about dealing with your own shit are old fashioned. If women can vote, a man should be able to put up his hand for help.

Super post, Juju. Not that I wouldn't have seen it cause I read Adspace every day, never miss a beat.

@jbewes said...

Good on you for sharing your experience Julian. I'll be sharing your story with my kids tonight. Thanks :)

returnon said...

Its not easy talking about personal problems, aside from the pain, they're difficult to articulate.

You should forward this post on to your counselor, talk about job satisfaction!

I'd talk about my guidance counselor, but he told me I was unlikely to succeed at uni. He got busted a few years after I graduated for having child porn on his work computer. Probably should have seen a counselor himself...

Gavin Heaton said...

Great post, Jules.

One thing that always amazes me is the limitations that we put on ourselves - these are usually to do with insecurity or a sense of weakness.

I guess that is why we are exhilarated (and a little relieved) when we overcome a barrier. Going to a counselor can take great courage - as does admitting defeat of any kind. The thing is ... we all have our own stories of defeat. But it is only the courageous who share them ;)

Ian Lyons said...

Nice one Julian. It wasn't until I read Steve Biddolph's "Manhood" that I realised how under prepared I was to be a man - still working on it.

His site is http://www.stevebiddulph.com/

Kate Richardson said...

Jules, a brilliant and brave post.

Anna Mackenzie said...

Hi Julian,

Thanks so much for sharing this - having more voices like yours out there is a fantastic way of reducing the stigma often attached to asking for help, especially for guys.

We're posted it on our original Man Week blog post.

thanks :)

Anna (on behalf of the Reach Out crew)

Eatout Brisbane said...

Enjoyed this, its food for thought. As a Mum I try and make sure my sons (11 and 8) are surrounded by good influences (that I have vetted!) that they feel confident talking to, if theres anything that they dont want to talk to me about. Takes a community!

Rob said...

nice work Julian, great post

Josh Strawczynski said...

Good post jewjew, one thing I have always found in my life is that strong relationships like the one I share with you can get you through any situation.

I am proud to see you had the courage to write and post this.

AKTIFMAG said...

I thought I commented on this yesterday, I must be a loser and not pressed the right button.

Anyway- weak as piss, the bully that is. One stare and he was gone? I went to a psychologist but it doesn't take you long to realise the only thing that is going to make you happy is if the twat staring at you gave back the $700 you have handed over to him [or her]

Justin Williams said...

good on ya, mate! (as i guess you aussies say, uhh) if more people only had the courage to not only be self-aware, but to share - there would be a lot less stress out there. plus, you found the secret early on - attitude is about 99% of confidence! not just for yourself but as others see you. nice work jjw

Vanessa Tran said...

Lovely, honest and thoughtful post.

You're the man!

Farrel said...

It's funny how society perpetuates old school beliefs. By not expressing, your repressing. A good movie about this topic is called Men's Group. http://www.mensgroupthemovie.com/

This post exemplifies being a man, good on you juls.

Anonymous said...

Good work.

Bryony Cole said...

so proud of you julsa, you're my hero x

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