The Best Medicine

[Image - Sam Ciurdar]
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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Don’t suffer in silence, it’s time to start talking about your health.

20 years ago, the hugely popular sitcom Father Ted first aired in the UK. Three years later, it was abruptly halted after its eponymous star Dermot Morgan died suddenly of a heart attack aged just 45. His co-star Ardal O’Hanlon said Morgan knew he had a medical condition. “But he was ignoring it, like men do. We think it’ll be fine, it’ll go away. He just didn’t want anyone to know.”

Bottling up thoughts and feelings seems to come quite naturally to men. At some point, every single one of us has brushed off a health concern as “nothing” and dads are usually the guiltiest party, whether it’s not wanting to appear weak in front of loved ones or being too stubborn to admit something is wrong. However, communicating with our partners is just as important for our health as our diet or whether we smoke, if not more.

Perhaps part of the apprehension is the fear that a long term health condition – such as cancer or depression – could pile a great deal of pressure on those around us. This may be the case, but equally, it’s our family and friends who can help make the journey better. In fact, those of us with strong relationships are 50% more likely to survive life-threatening illness than people who do not have that support.

“We know men in relationships are more likely to seek help for health problems than single men because their female partners encourage them to”, says Relate counsellor Peter Saddington. “But life can get in the way – things like fatherhood and work can mean our health isn’t always our top priority.”

Read the full article and discover expert tips from Relate here.