I am reading a new book called Lonely at the Top: The High Cost of Men’s Success written by psychologist Thomas Joiner. Initially I thought that this was just another book undermining men’s success by proclaiming that if men are successful at work, they can be setting themselves up for loneliness and suicide by middle-age or beyond. This negative interpretation of men’s success seems to pop up in the media and culture from time to time to punish men for not being “more like women.”
That said, while I felt that Joiner’s book subtlety promoted the message that if you are male and “on top,” you would suffer for it, he also had some good ideas about how men could improve their mental health and did seem to have some empathy for his fellow man. He gives an example of his clinical treatment with a man who was depressed every November and couldn’t figure out why. It turns out that 14 years ago, in November, his wife had left him after giving birth to their son. The man had been confused, never grieved her loss and instead, sunk into a depression. Once he understood what had happened and worked through the loss, the depression lifted.
Joiner makes a good point about men not seeking treatment often enough, though given the anti-male climate of the mental health crowd, who can blame them? However, instead of saying “get to a therapist if male and depressed,” he gives simple and effective solutions that can lessen depression in men. These include phoning someone everyday or having even a short polite conversation, getting back to nature and getting good quality sleep which he says, is often difficult for men.
The book has some decent advice for men or their loved ones who want to decrease the depression in their lives. Just watch out for the PC chapters by the author such as the one entitled, “Causes, Don’t Tread on Me–the Perils of Independence.”
Good grief, without this independence, nothing would get done. The author does acknowledge that independence is important, along with connection, but sometimes connection is another word for submission. I get the feeling that this author is not keen on political autonomy if the reader is male and right-leaning.
Anyway, any thoughts from readers out there on loneliness and success for men? Do you think it is lonely at the top or is it just a buzzword for men acting more like women in our society?