"You know what your next book should be about?" my friend, Frank, blurted. "Manopause. Because there is definitely something major that happens to men, too, around this time of life."
Another dear friend of the masculine persuasion came over to "catch up" on his yearly visit to the island. "I’ve been going through some big changes," he sighed. "I’m re-evaluating everything. And I’m actually having night sweats, so there is a physical component to the changes." He went on to chronicle other changes occurring in his "Manopause": a libido gone AWOL, depression, a re-evaluation of his whole life. "It pisses me off that people just dismiss this as a "midlife crisis".
Right! I get that! Just like women being dismissed as "oh, she’s just going through the Change." As if it were an inconvenience that we need to get over, rather than the biggest cataclysm to shake us since puberty. We need support, not labels. And so do the men who are honest and aware enough to realize they are changing, too.
My husband, Dewitt, reminded me that he’d had big changes in his early fifties. He was visited by mood swings, generally feeling out of sorts, panic attacks, even the occasional hot flash. When we finally thought that it might be male menopause or andropause, we found corroboration of his symptoms on the net. He says that the biggest help for him was just finding out he was not going nuts. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Dr Jed Diamond, psychotherapist and author of Male Menopause (sadly out of print, but check out his website link below) talks about the scope of male menopause.
"There are a number of changes that men go through: hormonal, physiological, interpersonal, sexual and spiritual.
When you think of midlife crisis, you think of the psychological or social changes, like when men act in a way that focuses upon youth. We ignore the hormonal and physiological changes. With women, we think the opposite, emphasizing the physiological changes.”
Dr Diamond says the main problem for men is denial. Or as my husband quips, "Maybe they have TV on too loud to notice it. What doesn’t make the remote disappear makes you stronger."
I think an equally important problem actually might be silence, just like for us goddesses. If women didn’t talk about the Big M historically – men REALLY didn’t talk about it. And don’t. And that needs to change.
Below are a few resources to get the process started. Share them with your husbands, brothers, fathers, and friends. Help them start the conversation.
Wellsphere Health Blogger Cathy Taylor’s site at everythingandropause.blogspot.com
Jed Diamond’s site at menalive.com