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11/19/22

Movember

Abba Leneke

To mark the international men’s day, I thought about what men go through and how it has not been easy for men.

 

We were just boys when we learnt about society’s expectations for what men should be like and what we should follow. We take every day to numb our pains to prove we are men, they tell us “Boys don’t cry” but they don’t tell us why, so when tears start to fill up our eyes, we hide it. We talk about our power to numb these pains like it’s a badge of honor.

We face both self-stigma and social stigma when we show our emotions or talk about the level of anxiety, low mood, and stress. This self-stigma comes from the culture we’ve been conditioned to as the narrative of who a man is.

But guess who are the leading victims of suicide? It’s young men who don’t know the way out of depression.

Depression is a terrible thing. The depression caused by chronic pain is no less formidable of a problem than any other medical emergency. When it’s undealt with, untalked about and unaddressed, it grows inside us. Before long, depression, anxiety, anger, rage, sadness, and despair all set into our worlds because we didn’t know who we were at times, or what we were doing.

We’ve seen men wallow alone in their despair. Many of us have died, by our own hands, or from the pain of our addictions, the horror of our demons, and the result is mostly tragic. Young kids are left behind, fatherless. Wives are left behind, as widows. Friends are left behind, wishing they’d known something was so wrong, wishing the departed had reached out. Parents are left behind, in the most unnatural order, having buried a child.

Talking about our pain is the biggest step we can take, whether we are suffering or we see someone who is, we must say something to someone. As men, we pride ourselves on strength. We fear being seen as weak. As all we know is to be tougher to feed and protect our loved ones, and that was what we were taught to be.

But honestly, we want to be better than just that, so today, I say to all the fathers, husbands, the young men trying to be better out there whether you are having a mental health emergency or are having suicidal thoughts, there is always help. As humans, we can help our brothers in the world out there, knowing that they’ll have our backs if it were us that were suffering. When we try to do it all alone, we set ourselves up for failure and pain.

The international men day has tagged November as Movember, it charges us to talk about our issues. I’d encourage everyone that read this piece to get out there with their friends, husbands, and brothers, check on them and assure them of your support and love, and ask them: “My guy are you alright?”

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