Movember: Men's Mental Health, Masculinity and Vulnerability
DISCLAIMER: This post contains sensitive subjects such as mental health, depression and suicide which may be triggering for some readers. If you are struggling with mental health, please reach out to your support system or your local help line.
Welcome to MOvember - a month dedicated to men's health to raise awareness around prostate and testicular cancer as well as men's mental health. This month I want to put a focus on men’s mental health and break down this outdated idea that being vulnerable by sharing your thoughts and emotions makes you weak.
On the contrary, being vulnerable makes you stronger by releasing the physical, emotional, and psychological stresses you carry with you on daily basis, and it also fosters stronger relationships with those that you choose to confide in and share your experiences with. Being vulnerable allows you to heal yourself and become a happier, more fulfilled version of yourself.
Mental health has always been an important topic to me, but men’s mental health is near and dear to my heart because of my experiences with my dad who suffered from bipolar disorder. I have mentioned this before on the podcast, but it isn't a story that I have shared publicly in any great length or detail. I want to share this story with you in hopes that it can help you in your own mental health journey and give you a deeper appreciation for those around you that may be going through similar experiences.
I was exposed to the realities of mental health from a very young age without even knowing it until I was in my teenage years. My parents were divorced so my time was split between the two of them during my childhood. On weekends with my dad, we would go down to the lake where we had a house and a boat. It was about an hour drive from our hometown and whenever I would go my mom would always pack a baggie of quarters in my duffle and tell me to call her if I needed anything (This was before cell phones were popular and had to use the payphones - which makes me feel very old). I never really understood why she did that, but I never thought to question it.
As I got a bit older, I realized that there was a reason for the quarters. I knew that my dad had some issues with his mental health, but I wasn't aware of the extent.
When I was fifteen or sixteen, my dad sat me down for a conversation that was difficult for him to have. He shared his story with me. For context, my dad played hockey growing up and he was a good hockey player at that. He played with Wayne Gretzky and had potential to make to the NHL (from what everyone tells me anyways). When he was around the age of e