So, why The Movember Foundation? For me, it’s really an issue of breaking some male stereotypes that are so deeply engrained in our society. Over the past year or so, I’ve begun to really see how serious and tragic male suicide rates are. When I see that men are 3.5x more likely than women to die by suicide, my heart breaks for their silent struggle.
Throughout elementary, middle, high school, and even a little into college, I was that guy silently struggling. I was a straight-A student, captain of my track and cross country teams, a seemingly happy kid, and an all-around fairly likable guy. Because of this, I wasn’t on anybody’s radar as someone who was struggling. But I was. I was struggling to figure out who I was as a person. I struggled to understand who I was apart from my accomplishments. I struggled with my parents’ divorce. I struggled to figure out what my future would look like. I struggled with navigating through different challenges life threw at me. I struggled with suicidal thoughts. I cried a lot, but rarely in front of anyone. I can’t say this is the experience of every guy out there, but I know I’m not the only one. Thankfully, in college, I started to see the importance of being vulnerable and talking things out with other guys. It was only when I started doing this that I saw that I wasn’t alone. I started to see that my experiences were not unique to me. The words “me too” were the most comforting words I had ever heard.
I do want to add that none of my personal struggles and lack of support was my parents’ fault. They grew up in the same society that I did. A society that taught that boys just need to toughen up, suck it up, power through pain, and not talk about their feelings or struggles. My parents did the best they could with what they knew and what they had, and for that I’m so incredibly grateful. They did a great job raising me, and I wouldn’t be the man I am today without them.
I long for a society that understands the importance of talking things out, seeking help when necessary, and that doesn’t think something is “wrong” with someone when he seeks a professional counselor to improve his mental health. The idea that guys just need to “suck it up” permeates not only mental health arenas, but it bleeds into physical health too. Guys don’t seek medical attention when they feel something isn’t right in their bodies because they’re just going to “power through” it. As a result, men are dying of testicular and prostate cancer, two cancers with high survivability when detected early. Men are also dying of heart disease and a slew of other diseases at alarming rates simply because they don’t seek medical attention.
Guys. Get help when you need it. Take preventative measures for your physical AND mental health. Stay active. Talk to people you trust about what you’re thinking, feeling, struggling with, etc. It’s one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. This is why I’m choosing to support The Movember Foundation.
Visit my my fundraising page to help raise money for this incredible foundation!