“Here is the tragedy: when you are the victim of depression, not only do you feel utterly helpless and abandoned by the world, you also know that very few people can understand, or even begin to believe, that life can be this painful.”
I was initially going to start this with an apology for the grim nature of the piece, yet to do so would fly in the face of everything that Movember stands for. Movember is about raising awareness for men’s health, not shying away from it, or apologising for speaking out loud. Unlike previous years where the focus has been mainly on Prostate and Testicular cancer, this year sees a broader focus, encompassing mental health too.
I’ve had the unfortunate pleasure of witnessing the mental decline of too many friends. Too many people, so close I consider to be brothers, fighting a sickening battle in their own minds… changing over the weeks and months until they see no alternative but to check out. I can’t fathom the inner conflict that results in the resignation that there is no possible alternative but to end it all and take your own life. It rips me apart to imagine how dark that place is, where even the longest/best/deepest of friendships can no longer be seen.
Having struggled myself (see What doesn’t kill you…) my empathy levels are sky-high, yet I know that no matter how close you fight by their side you are always a distance away… but regardless, no matter how distant, you never leave a man behind. Pulling someone back from the brink leaves a piece of you behind… but there’s plenty of me to go around!
So this year Movember will be extra special. I’ll grow my moustache like a man possessed. These follicles are going to be bleeding due to over-production!
I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve been asked why I do it. Why do you deliberately choose to look like a complete clown for a month, especially considering your birthday is in November? Why do you dress like a sexy lady and run around with your lovely pair of coconuts slapping you in the face for 10km? It’s the same reason I want to scream when I ask guys if they’re participating, and they reply “Oh, I wouldn’t feel comfortable”
IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU!!! If you’re not one of the 6000+ who commit suicide every year due to depression, or you’re not one of the 1 in 8 men who’ll be diagnosed with a mental disorder in their lifetime then consider yourself lucky, yet spare a thought (and a hair strand or 3000) for those that are.
“The Movember community has raised £346 million to date and funded over 800 programmes in 21 countries. This work is saving and improving the lives of men affected by prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health problems.”
Be a part of something bigger. One month on the lips… be a part of the fix (and this is why I never branched out into jingle writing)