It is not just to grow a mustache, but to raise awareness for men that are too afraid to speak out about their mental health.
Some people may think that Movember is just a fad, a time of year that men go rouge with their facial hair, but there is actually a stronger purpose and meaning behind those mustaches you sometimes only notice once a year. They are the mustaches representing and supporting a community of men, who at one point didn’t even know they had a community around them.
You may ask why this would be my main reason, a cause I’m supporting for a second year in a row…the reason is because I kept a major secret for over 15 years.
As many of you probably know, I lost my older brother when I was 14. The loss and life altering incident, sent me into a downward spiral very quickly and faster than I could even try to grasp. He was my mentor, my rock, my role model and most importantly my brother. I quickly became very depressed and suicidal. For the last 15 years, I’ve waivered in and out of these thoughts, depressed state of mind; never really feeling the same. The trials and tribulations of life in general has it’s ups and downs. I experienced losing my brother at an early age, an event not many will experience in their current lifetimes. But also loosing friends, the stress of school, work, deadlines, societal impressions, heartbreaks and fear for the years ahead kept me as a prisoner to my mind.
There were many days that I didn’t want to live. However, for some reason could never bring myself to do it. To end it. I kept this a very quiet secret and I’m pretty sure those around me never knew how bad it ever actually was. It wasn’t that those around me didn’t care about me, they did, they cared a lot. It was my ability to mask it with a smile or being there in someone else’s time of need. But I like to think, I was so fortunate to have such a strong network of friends and family, that’s the reason that I’m still here today. Because no matter what, suicide is the most selfish thing (in my eyes) that someone could ever do. Even though that it releases you of your pain, it just transfers the pain to someone else. The wheel only continues on.
The crazy thing about the Movember Foundation and Movember Movement itself, is that it was the movement that opened my eyes to seek professional help. Reading other mobro’s stories really opened my eyes that it is okay to talk about it. That there’s nothing wrong with seeking help.
I feel we as men try way to hard to cover up how we truly feel because our society has always said you need to be a “man,” “men don’t show their feelings,” “be tough.” With that being said society has portrayed a false image on us men and have paved a path that leads to an unhealthy mental state. I think men are far too nervous to ever speak out and let their true emotions show. We as men need just as much help as anyone else who has the ability to wear their emotions on their sleeves. If not more because we men are not as expressive about our true emotions.
I think it is very common for men to hide their true emotions through putting on a front, but that front is the exact thing that society deems expectable or a true form of a “man.” That front only hides the thoughts, that then continue to implode underneath the front that is “holding it all together so well.”
Well guess what? It is okay to show our true emotions. It doesn’t make us less of a man, weak or not good enough. If anything, it makes us that much stronger and more of a man than ever before.
You may ask yourself how do I start? or where do I start? This goes for everyone, not just men.
All you have to do is start. Whether it be awareness, taking action or pressing go. You can start by talking or more importantly listening. Listen to your self, be a friend, a mentor or just be a man and listen to another man.
I can guarantee you right now that there are other friends that are going through tough times. Tough times you don’t know anything about and all you need to do is just ask and listen.
Or just start speaking and people will listen. Put your ego and the prejudgments aside and just listen. Don’t be ready to respond or give what you feel is the “proper response.” Sometimes the silence from just listening is the needed response.
I thought for so many years that my friends would shame me for seeking help. However, the Movember Movement has taught me that, that is not the case. Get the word out and make sure it is not only known within your group or family, but globally. Together we can all help men from dying too young.
I am sure you are reading this and saying ‘holy shit’ is he crying for help now? That is not the case at all. I’m crying for all the men, brothers, siblings, fathers, uncles, mentors and any other man in our lives that has been too scared / intimidated / nervous to speak out about how they feel because they feel less of a man if they actually had to show their feelings.
If I have learned anything over the last year, you don’t feel less of a man for showing your emotions and telling your story. Once I finally started openly talking about it, I found out more and more of my close friends had also sought help. We all feel so alone until we start talking about it, to then realize we were never truly alone.
Be true to yourself, be true to the loved ones around you, no matter how rough life might feel right now, in the past or in the future. It is never too late to seek help.
I am an example of this, it may have taken me 15+ years but I asked for help and I am no less of a man for asking. In fact, I might be more of a man for doing so. I have become closer with my family, my friends, my girlfriend all because I finally put my ego aside.
Whether it be just taking extra notice of the mustaches you see this time of year than any other time of the year, or taking a deeper look into the eyes of the men around you. I encourage you all to speak, to listen and be the difference. Get out there: exercise, meditate, write, sing… whatever you need to clear your headspace.
Daily exercise and meditation helped me a ton and brought me the strength I needed to help my mental health.
The Movember Foundation is more than just an area to donate to. There are many other causes under the umbrella, continuing to help men open up about their health from prostate and testicular cancer to mental health to suicide prevention.
I’m always here for anyone that needs a place to turn but isn’t sure where to start. Direct message, email, text or call.
This is my story, a story I felt I had truly share. Thank you for listening and continuous support