Day 60 (of 187) #Movember #doyouevenmentalhealthbro #sicknotweak
As we near the end of November, it is the end of the visual signs of “Talking about and supporting Mens Health issues” – the moustaches and beards. But it does not mean the conversations should stop. Even today, I was reading from “Taming the Worry Dragons” to a primary class and mentioned how tough it can be for boys and men to admit that they have worries and fears. But it is important for men to share and model their fears so that our youth don’t feel so isolated….because mental wellness can be very isolating – and empathy can be hard:
As I opened my TEDx talk: we don’t tell someone with throat cancer that we know how it feels because we had a really bad cold once. Yet with mental wellness we like to connect feeling sad with depression and worries with anxiety. And while there are some pieces that can be connected, they’re not exactly the same. That is what makes it difficult for men to open up about. You can take medicine to fix a cold. Sadness goes away. Worries can be addressed. But depression and anxiety and and and make it hard to deal with because it is hard to talk about…because it is not an easy “fix” – if anything it is not about fixing, but living with… and that’s complex.
Heck – the lack of communication and role-modelling has meant that 2/3 of men aged 16 to 24 would rather be known as “short fused” rather than “vulnerable” and willing to talk about cancer, mental health, etc and that means that 3/4 of all suicides are men under the age of 44.
Also of concern (for all ages)
Not being able to sleep.
Changes in bathroom routines.
Trying to self medicate with “legal” options (smoking of any kind leads to heart disease and cancer and messes with lungs – even e-smoking) alcohol and liver disease is the third top cause of mens death for 20-34 year olds.
Or we can continue to poke fun at possible role models – such as Tony Soprano and the tease “a mob boss who needs a shrink?”
We can continue misnomers starting with “Real men….”
There is no pill that can “fix” everything. But there are medical supports that can be tried – especially when you link physical wellness with mental wellness – gotta keep everything in balance. But no quick fixes. Time is both an enemy and ally…
Meditations (slow breathing) can be good. Being mindful in what you do is also important. Yoga. Gratitude. Journals – not things that men have traditionally embraced, yet have been leaders of these strategies.
Doctors need to know the whole story – even the parts you don’t want to know about (illegal/legal drugs, frequency of ___) because they will know how everything interacts and works with or against each other.
As Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius said: Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one. —> because the next generation of men are watching…let’s help them out by being good healthy role models.
and once again – a big shout out to @heylandsberg who started @sicknotweak to share his own mental wellness battles. So while my facial hair fades away at the end of the week, my conversations with dads and boys (and families- as sisters moms girlfriends and wives also need to play an active role) in my learning community will continue!
and if you want to donate – I have a Mo Space available – but I am more about the conversations than the fund raising as others are better at collecting funds than I am!