Ending the stigma on Therapy: Q&A with Nick
I am so proud of this guy. SO proud for so many reasons, but today I’m especially proud that he is helping me spread awareness. We’ve been through a lot together, he’s been through a lot but neither of us could have done it without therapy. There is a stigma on therapy alone, and throw in a male who decides to get therapy, well it’s an entire different story. Why is that? Why do men not seek help as much as women do?
Fun fact: Only 60% of depressed men go for treatment, but over 72% of women seek help. TBH I wish both percentages were higher, but the more we can normalize therapy, the more we can vocalize how important it is to help men seek out help, the quicker we can end this stigma.
Last week I had a question box up for Nick regarding verbal abuse and how we hit rock bottom. Well there were hundreds of questions and we were so humbled. I gathered a few of the ones that seemed to be asked a lot and got him to answer them! I cried as I read his answers because it took me back to that day, those moments when I told him we would have to call it quits. I hope you read his answers and realize how far Nick has come. 5 years ago he would have never even agreed to even talking about our problems, and here we are today. These are the questions you all asked Nick. Thank you for this.
When your attitude is negative towards the other person, what do you find that gets out of that spiral?
Several things. First, I always like to put myself in their shoes and realize that their day may have been even harder than mine. Having a better understanding of what they are going through. Second, is thinking about all the good things in that person rather than focusing on things that probably don’t matter as much. Lastly, saying sorry! Even when I am not 100% sure what I did or if it’s my fault just saying sorry and getting past it as quickly as possible.
What kind of help did you seek?
I strongly recommend a therapist. In my opinion its always better to have a third party to mediate disagreements and we are lucky enough to find someone that we both value their opinion and lean on when we are going through rough times. One important thing here is that you can’t force the other person to seek help – it needs to come from them and be their idea and they need to be ready.
Did going to therapy alone v. together help? Was it more or a personal v relationship issue?
I think you need both. I had personal things I needed to and still need to deal with and don’t need Erin to be a part of those. And then when her and I see our therapist its focused on things between her and I.
No question, but what a man to step up to the plate for your family and get help!
Do you know how awesome your wife is?
100%. It’s so awesome to see how many people she is helping! Also, there is no way I could go through a fraction of the things she has powered through over the past several years. I have never felt closer to her and I can’t believe I ever took her for granted. She is my best friend, and I am looking forward to growing old with her! Side note: If men had to go through getting pregnant and having birth we would have far fewer humans in the world!
How did you agree to therapy? My husband refuses, he finds it humiliating.
For me it took hitting bottom and realizing that I was going to lose my family if I/we didn’t get help. I will say, it has to be your husband’s idea and not yours. You can explain to him how you think it will help but forcing anyone to go never works in my opinion. Sometimes it takes finding the right therapist. I had one early on that I did not click with and once I started going to our current one things drastically changed for me and I saw the value way more! On the humiliating part - I think having other men to talk to that go to therapy is always good for other men to see how normal it really is.
Did you realize when you were being harsh? If so what triggered it and did you feel bad after?
I didn’t realize until after the argument – how harsh I was being. I was very hot-headed and still am, but I do try to catch myself now. It was triggered by several things – sometimes stress at work, other times financial concerns and sometimes setting unrealistic expectations for Erin. Yes, I always felt bad after but it took me really understanding how it impacts Erin and hitting rock bottom before I really started to try harder to change.
What can I do to help my husband stop the verbal abuse?
This is not an easy question. I think there are several things. 1) Making him really understand how it's making you feel and how its impacting your day to day. If he cares he will make an effort to change and if he doesn’t then I think you need to be really firm and tell him you can’t continue to live like that. 2) Try to understand what he is going through and see if there are ways you can help alleviate the stress or whatever it is causing him to get so mad (just know it’s probably not you). There is always a deeper reason that is not always easy to see. 3) Walk away – don’t let him speak to you that way. If you need to walk away and let him cool down sometimes that may be the best option.
How did your wife’s fertility issues affect you?
I felt helpless. I felt like I couldn’t help her get what she/we wanted and that absolutely killed me. Seeing her go through all the shots, the appointments and worse, the disappointments was heartbreaking! I still remember getting the news when we first thought we were pregnant (and being on a huge high) only to find out several weeks later that she had miscarried…and crying together in the doctors office. It was a huge rollercoaster of emotion and although I know she was the champ throughout the process, it truly did affect me greatly. I would not wish that journey on anyone.
Are there any things that you used to say to Erin that are off limits now?
I am assuming you mean negative things? Calling her names…I used to do that a lot and now I try really hard to refrain from saying the B word or…
No question, but so proud of you both
Did you do IVF just to support your wife? Or because you also had a strong desire?
Both. Initially her and I were on the same page about adding a new little one into the world. But after years of struggling I had second thoughts on whether we should continue, and I would have quit a lot sooner than Erin! But I knew how much she wanted it and it made me want it just as much. So by the end I was even more determined than she some days to make it a reality!
How did you realize you needed to be a better version of you?
I finally realized how much I was impacting Erin and her joy for life. She made it crystal clear that I needed to change, or we were not going to be together and that was something I was not OK with. So that forced me to be better and made our relationship stronger than ever.