Donnie's story: Depression doesn't discriminate

Auteur : Movember
I claimed my duties as a Movember Mo Bro on my university campus, when I took the position of the Wellness Coordinator. I noticed that we didn’t provide much information or awareness for men’s health. Soon after, I found out about the Movember Foundation and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to request a community toolkit for the men’s health awareness event I planned in the month of November. I recruited Mo Bros and Mo Sistas, and we had a great time. I also utilized the platform of my brand Cafe De La Hue, a coffee shop themed accessories line of bow ties, to raise awareness and funds for Movember and men’s health.

One key takeaway I had from the event was realizing how much more we need to talk to men about their health, and engage with them in a way that allows them to open up. I am aware that men are often seen as ‘feminine’ when they want to express feelings and emotions, so for a man to want to be seen as masculine, he has to do the opposite unless otherwise he becomes parallel. When it comes to masculinity, and most men being socialized to conform to a certain way of being and thinking regarding emotions, I think the most difficult piece is unlearning those taught ideas of what it means to be masculine. The fact that most males are raised to understand that masculinity is the only form of expression that a man can have, is a challenge for those boys who grow into men as well. It can be difficult to believe that your manhood may be at stake if you express too much, while expressing little to no emotion is a way to exhibit your ability to “handle things” as a man. Cultural ideas around masculinity also make it difficult for men to talk about how they are doing, especially in communities of color. Being that so much of who we are stems from our culture, if any pre-conceived thoughts of how we should be are threatened by something outside of what’s seen as the norm, how we are looked at is altered and shame/guilt can come about for us as men who do not submit to conformity. Upon graduating, I worked in public health for three years, advocating for HIV/AIDS prevention and the LGBT community.

Being a natural born advocate and someone full of passion, I feel it is my responsibility and purpose here to inspire, encourage, and motivate others to be their best selves. That starts with holistic well-being and setting an example by sharing my story as a means to get other men to talk. I believe in the power of vulnerability and I love allowing myself to be vulnerable, because it offers me a chance to connect with others. In doing so, I learn that whatever it is that I may be going through or however it is that I am feeling, someone else can relate… therefore, I am not alone. That’s a big issue for most men. Keeping quiet can result in not receiving the help you need. I talk more freely about how I am doing, because I may have gotten through a rough patch that the next person may not be able to alone or without the help that I may be able to offer. This is what we need as men. To know that there are other men that can actually help us. The people around me were also a huge help in making me comfortable enough to talk about what’s really going on with me, by just listening. I think being a really good listener is pretty simple. You listen, and you receive without taking it all in personally, and you allow the other person to simply express.

I have a hand full of really good listeners, and they happen to be some of my best friends. When we have these talking sessions, we usually end up being good listeners for each other and then helping each other figure out life along the way.   I am currently an independent artist who uses art and creativity to raise awareness on topics ranging from HIV/AIDS, Mental Health, and Intimate Partner Violence. And, I love being able to use my gifts to shine light on things that challenge communities to engage in conversations we don’t have too often.

With that in mind, my advice to men is this: just because society has had a way of trying to shape you to be a certain way because you are a man, does not mean that you have to suffer to the restraints and limitations of who and how anyone says you should be. No matter what it is you are going through it is always a good idea to share with trusted individuals who can help see you through it. Express your good and bad days alike. It’s okay to be open. It’s okay to be vulnerable and honest. To those around men who have conversations with men about how he’s doing, allow him to express himself. Let men know that it is okay to cry. It is okay to be emotional. It is okay to admit the things that he feels are a challenge that you may not. You may not understand his perspective of certain things. Assist our men. Assist them in identifying emotions and how they are affected by things. Help him become a better version of himself without judgement and be supportive no matter what. We can only be better, by doing better, and we can all do better together!     
 
 
 

I want to ask.

Simple steps to important conversations.

Learn more

 

 

For 24 hour crisis support, contact a local service available in your country.
If life is in danger, call or go directly to emergency services.
Australia
Emergency services: 000
24 hour crisis support:
Lifeline, 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service, 1300 659 467
 
Austria
Emergency services: 112
24 hour crisis support:
Telefon Seelsorge, 142
 
Belgium
Emergency services: 100
24 hour crisis support:
Tele-Accueil, 107
 
Canada
Emergency services: 911
24 hour crisis support:
Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention
Association canadienne pour la prévention du suicide
 
Czech Republic
Emergency services: 155
24 hour crisis support:
Modra Linka, 549 241 010
 
Denmark
Emergency services: 112
24 hour crisis support:
Livslinien, 70201201
 
Finland
Emergency services: 112
24 hour crisis support:
Mieli, 010 195 202, 010 195 202
 
France
Emergency services: 112
24 hour crisis support:
Suicide Ecoute, 0145 3940 00
 
Germany
Emergency services: 112
24 hour crisis support:
TelefonSeelsorge, 0800/1110111
 
Hong Kong
Emergency services: 999
24 hour crisis support:
Samaritans, 2896 0000
 
Ireland
Emergency services: 112 or 999
24 hour crisis support:
Pieta House, 1800 247 247
Samaritans, 116 123
 
Netherlands
Emergency services: 112
24 hour crisis support:
Sensoor, 0900 0767
 
New Zealand
Emergency services: 111
24 hour crisis support:
Lifeline, 0800 543 354
Suicide Crisis Helpline, 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
 
Norway
Emergency services: 112
24 hour crisis support:
Kirkens SOS, 22 40 00 40
 
Singapore
Emergency services: 995
24 hour crisis support:
Samaritans, 1800-221 4444
 
South Africa
Emergency services: 10177
24 hour crisis support:
Lifeline, 0861 322 322
 
Spain
Emergency services: 112
24 hour crisis support:
Telefono de la Esperanza, 902 500 002
 
Sweden
Emergency services: 112
Kyrkans Jourtjänst, 031-800 650
 
Switzerland
Emergency services: 144
24 hour crisis support:
Pars Pas, 027 321 21 21
 
UK
Emergency services: 999
24 hour crisis support:
Samaritans, 116 123
 
USA
Emergency services: 911
24 hour crisis support:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK)
Lifeline Crisis Chat