I’ve been debating whether or not to share my story but I’m doing it in case it helps someone else… particularly other men. Men aren’t supposed to talk about feelings. We’re supposed to be brave supermen who brush things off and grunt with other men. Even taking our anger out on others is more socially acceptable than admitting our weakness. Well, that mindset nearly cost me my life so I figure it’s time to come clean.
I was adopted at 9 months old into a loving family. I was taught I could be anything when I grew up. Well, I guess I took it too far because I kind of thought it meant someday I could stop being a gook or a chink–all those insults kids hurled at me when I was young. I eventually realized that I’d always have the face of all those caricatures in the movies I grew up watching. But I was too afraid to think about suicide then. I didn’t want to hurt my family, who I loved very much. I kept waiting for something to change as if I were waiting to be turned white or something.
Fast forward 20 odd years. My girlfriend broke up with me. Cliche, I know. She ended up with a white guy after she dumped me and that part really stung the most. All my childhood insecurities came rushing back and I felt I’d never be as attractive or important as those white dudes. Even black guys have it better than Asian men in the dating world, but we’re not really allowed to say that. Anyway, I was in a terrible place and I’m sure I put more energy towards hating being Asian and hating my ex for going with a white guy than I should’ve. Hindsight is 20/20 though. My roommate was on antidepressants and was out for the night, so I found his bottle of pills and spent 5 minutes swallowing the bottle that was nearly full. My roommate came home that night and found me passed out on the floor. He had a friend help him take me to the ER and long story short, I obviously survived.
The best thing that came out of that embarrassing mess was it finally got me to go to therapy. I never told anyone I was going, except my roommate who surprisingly didn’t bail but didn’t really want to talk about it either. Therapy wasn’t perfect and I definitely still felt misunderstood in many ways, as an Asian man, but overall it was what I needed. I think I had so much self-hate and outward hate bottled up inside for so many years. Finally having a place to vent about it didn’t completely cure me of my feelings but it got me out of the danger zone. It also helped me understand why my girlfriend left. She always complained about my anger and attitude and it used to make me more angry and annoyed. Now I see that the way I viewed myself and others was not only unattractive but harmful.
Sometimes I still bottle up my feelings, like most guys I know. Sometimes I take it out on the wrong people. I try to apologize and remember why it’s happening. Talking to people about this stuff doesn’t make everything okay but it takes the pressure off the moment. Even writing this, I can feel like I’m letting some air out of my tires. So what I’m trying to say, especially to other dudes, is that I know what it’s like to feel misunderstood and silenced–either by myself or others. If you’re feeling this way, find someone to talk to. Don’t wait until it hits the absolute breaking point like I did, because you may not be as lucky as I was. Therapy isn’t just for women. And having feelings and talking about them doesn’t make you weak. I actually think it makes us stronger.
Shared by a KAD who prefers to remain anonymous.