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Emotional Support for Men with Hepatitis C

Emotional Support for Men with Hepatitis C

Yeah Yeah … we’ve all heard that men don’t have feelings like women. Most people kick guys to the curb in that category. Typical stereotypes show how tough men are and how they can handle stuff without expressing emotions. Since they were young, they got the message: keep a stiff upper lip, don’t ask for help, never show weakness, hold everything in. Men get stuck where they have always been – silent when suffering.

With health needs from hep C, men endure many symptoms. They try to keep going and shrug it off. This can lead to a lot of inner conflict. They’re no different than a woman who is sick. They battle fatigue, anemia, fear of treatment, jaundice, ascites, and even isolation.

What kind of emotional support for men with hepatitis C is really there when they need it?

Look In

By listening to the talk going on inside their heads, men can notice how they are feeling. If their thoughts keep circling around the same thing – heads up. For example, a man who constantly reads the warning labels on meds may be afraid of the long-term side effects of hep C or its treatment. If he keeps rehearsing a conversation that ended poorly, chances are, he feels regret. Maybe he feels angry, or it could be that he is nervous. Either way, it might be a sign that he wants his side to be understood and feels disconnected or lonely.

Look Around

By exploring the relationships in his family, a man can test the waters to see if it’s okay to tell someone how he really feels. He might say that there’s a lot on his mind regarding health decisions. By telling others that it makes him feel tense with worry, there is some relief. Others may be glad, especially if he has been distant or quiet. If there have been outbursts of anger, they can understand that it’s not their fault.

Look Out

When guys are stressed out, they may not say so… instead, they could show it in other ways. They may complain about physical symptoms. They could get angry at a story in the news and talk about it for hours. Chances are, if they are not expressing resentment for being sick, they will have resentment toward people or situations.

Look Up

If a dude starts noticing his feelings about having the hepatitis C virus, he can take action. If he is too tired to get physically active, he may find another way to direct it such as working on a hobby or skill. Staying active can keep his thoughts and feelings from creating a cycle of despair.

A guy’s first line of action is to look inside himself. Next, by looking around, he may find much needed support. Step back and look: actions speak louder than words and tell a lot about how a man is feeling. By taking good actions, he can quit burying his emotions and take steps toward feeling better mentally and physically.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The HepatitisC.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Bill Bartlett
    2 years ago

    As a man with Hep C and feelings, I have still found it hard to identify symptoms and discuss my disease. Part of it is the shame I feel for having gotten Hep C in the first place. I shared needles in my teens.

    Another factor is the way Hep C progresses. It is a disease of decades and symptoms slowly creep up on you; so, it can be difficult to identify changes in presentation of symptoms. Sure, I feel less energetic than I did in my 20, but I’m 55 now. So, it’s hard to say if that is malaise due to advancing liver disease or aging.

    Anyway, I find it easier to talk about having a cold than my Hep C. I’l take it easy for a few days when I get a bad cold. I soldier through Hep C.

    bb

  • Karen Hoyt moderator author
    2 years ago

    Hello Bill,

    Thanks for stopping by and adding your thoughts to the conversation.

    I think you nailed it when you said that it is hard to identify symptoms and discuss the disease. It’s hard to listen to your body when you are not able to talk about it.You know how I feel about shame… so I hope that you can find a way let that go. Just by talking to me, I hope it has been helpful. xo

    You’re right about the decades thing too. When something changes slowly over time, we adapt to the change. I see people my age who didn’t have Hep C and some of them are in worse shape than me. Do you notice that too?

    I’m gonna get you if you keep soldiering on though. Give yourself a break. I’m kind of the same way and even though the virus is gone now – I still have to push some days. Let’s give each other permission to get some rest…

    Thanks again. We’re in this together, xo Karen

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