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Steampunk, Freddie and Men's Health

erstellt von Manuel Reinhardt at 06.11.2018 11:48 |
What Movember means to me
Steampunk, Freddie and Men's Health

Last year's moustache

When I first started with Movember it was nothing more to me than some good fun and an opportunity for getting away with growing a moustache. Moustaches are, as I hope you're aware, awesome. To me the moustache evokes the Victorian era and steampunk aesthetics, and I am fascinated by its changing history as a symbol of masculinity. My biggest youth idol, Freddie Mercury, famously and proudly sported a dapper moustache. In short, it was easy to get me on board for Movember.

The second time around I ended up doing a little more research about the Movember Foundation and its goals and message. I found that there was much more to it than I was aware of. Here was a worthy cause that I could contribute to. I started giving more elaborate answers when someone asked me about the facial hair that was growing under my nose in late autumn. I shared links and encouraged men to take care of their health, and women to look after the men in their lives.

Another year later I realised that I had something personal to contribute. It was fine to pass on a general message about men's health, but what if my own story mattered? What if I could pass on what I had experienced, and make a difference in someone's life? This Movember was going to be the most exciting and fulfilling yet.

I've struggled intermittently with mental health issues during my time at university. I won't go into too much detail here - you're welcome to ask, though! - but these are some of the lessons I learned:

  • Mental illnesses are actual illnesses. It's a different thing to suffer from a psychosis or depression than to feel under the weather or to be sad about something or to overreact to something. When my symptoms first started I was reluctant to acknowledge that I was sick. I told myself that it was a crisis, or that maybe it was just the way I was. Only when I accepted that it was an illness did I start to find ways to get better.
  • Feelings are important and need to be perceived and handled. It's an unhealthy cliché that men are supposed to hide their emotions and be (or seem) "tough". There is no harm in acknowledging that a feeling is there. To the contrary, an unacknowledged feeling is more likely to grow, to work away at you subconsciously and do considerable damage. If you're feeling sad, lonely or hopeless - that's not going to go away by pretending otherwise.
  • You are not alone. Sometimes it may seem that nobody understands you, nobody feels the way you do, or nobody cares. None of this is true. You can find a lot of people with similar thoughts and feelings as you, and they are likely to be sympathetic because they know what you're going through. There are also people who don't feel the same but who care about you, and they can learn to understand you as well. And chances are there are more of these people than you believe.

I hope that this Movember we can continue to spread this message, to encourage men to take care of themselves, to take care of each other, and to let others help them. If you can spare a few Euros to make a donation, consider giving to the Movember Foundation, or to a charity of your choice. Stay healthy this Movember!

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