‘Movember’ 👨 With The derma Fam!

by | 13 November 2020

‘Movember (an amalgamation of the Australian-English lingo for moustache, “mo”, and “November”) is an annual event involving the growing of moustaches during November to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s suicide.” Click here to find out more about the Movember Movement or support to this brilliant cause.

Movember started in 2003 as two mates from Australia. Travis Garone and Luke Slattery, jokingly decided to bring back in fashion the moustache by convincing their friends to grow one. Inspired by a friend’s mother who was fundraising for breast cancer, they associated the moustache with the pink ribbon, but for men.

At derma we believe your mental health should be treated just like your health – so we have asked a few of the special guys in our lives how THEY KEEP MENTALLY HEALTHY and to share with you their version of supporting each other and looking after themselves and what a difference to their mental health, they can make by personally carrying out these activities.

Our lovely Kai, Skin Educator and Corneotherapist says: I tend to worry about things that haven’t happened yet, and I know it’s a negative aspect, but that’s just how I am, and my mother is the same.Dealing with stress doesn’t always come naturally to me as it’s not like switching off a light and it’s all over and done with. Throughout my life I have faced many challenging situations that almost forced me to quit, but in my world that is not an option. You rise above and keep on giving it a go because at the end of the day, if you take a chance in life sometimes good things happen and sometimes bad things happen; but if you don’t have a chance nothing happens. I live my life by this every single day. To deal with stress, going for a long walk (30-45 minutes), listening to music, dancing around, communicating with people who understand, spending time with family and taking a few moments to gather my thoughts is my coping mechanism during times of mental health.Communication, communication, communication… it’s hard to get help without it. I sincerely believe and encourage open and honest conversations to help one through stressful times as it really is the best medicine.

Jake talks about his long family history: My family has had a long history with, what is now called, mental illness (depression back then). My father suffered through long deep bouts of depression for years and unfortunately ended up in hospital on a few occasions. When he was on the right medication he was 100% perfect, you could tell it in his voice & he lit up the room with his presence.

Personally, I have had stress related issues through work and an unhappy marriage that eventually broke down. I was ‘diagnosed’ (ever so quickly sometimes) and prescribed medication but didn’t like the thought that this would be the only thing to help me through and I strongly believed it was a band aid solution. I met a beautiful loving woman who is now my wife and has been a wonderful support to not only me but my children. There are still stresses in our life but we have found surrounding ourselves with positive people and focusing on good things and the things we can control, as well as consistent exercise & a loving marriage helps enormously.

I am either running, or riding most days, have set goals, and love that my wife and I have like-minded interests. There are still occasional days when it is hard to get out of bed but I know I just need to to make the effort and push through. I feel so much better once I’ve exercised, it clears my mind, & I stay positive during the day. I definitely aim to exercise daily (sometimes, and if I can…twice a day), and I enjoy a relaxing drink but try to make it only at the end of the week.

James has had recent exposure to the treatment of testicular cancer and shared his story in brief: For a bloke such as myself to be bearing all on my recent experience with the “Dancer” must show how mainstream this form of sharing has become. Boarding school upbringing and stiff upper lip has always given way to talking about men’s issues in an open forum.

With little warning and an extremely quick diagnosis of testicular cancer earlier this year has made me appreciate how important having a solid partner, family and friend network is when faced with difficult life choices. I wasn’t ‘sick’ as such, but I did need a little push to get to the GP initially, and to keep going back when things just weren’t on the improve.

Well, the thing that really woke me up as to how quickly this disease overtook my health was the speed in which it took hold. A very quick look at the great odds for recovery galvanized my actions to take control/demand a second opinion and scheduling for remedial assistance through the excellent professional network available. I had seen my father put off treatment for prostate cancer in the hope that it would miraculously go away, so that spurred me in to forcing action. I went to my GP for a sore left ‘nut’ but he diagnosed a completely different condition which was apparently treatable with antibiotics. Not so, for the later diagnosis of Testicular Cancer old ‘Harry Hindsight’ proved that seeing a specialist Oncologist with anything to do with ones testes was indeed, the right course to follow.

So how about the chemo? Well it was not nearly as bad as I had originally feared. A little nausea on some days and some favourite foods no longer smelled that good, but all in all, an easy ride for sure. In recovery, exercise is my best friend, along with a lot of water daily and a positive attitude.

Jimmy appreciates ‘Movember’: I love that ‘Movember’ is focused on so many men’s issues, and doing it in a really fun way. The importance of being able to talk with people or feel apart of a group is vital for my mental health. Personally, I love talking to my brothers, they are similar but incredibly different in their perspectives of life and all offer amazing support in their own ways.

On moving to a new town, for me, joining the local rugby club provided an instant connection with people and the community you live in. These clubs go beyond the sport and make a huge effort to make people feel welcome to a new town, embracing their partners and family into the club too. It has made this journey for us, so much more comforting and manageable.

Matt currently works as a mental health peer worker: More specifically, a peer worker with lived experienced of mental health challenges both directly and indirectly. The idea with this role is that we have the ability to build rapport quickly with people we support due to our own personal experience of having ‘gone through tough times’. It’s an extremely successful approach to providing support to people who are reluctant to engage with professional health services. Basically, on many levels we can somewhat relate to what they are experiencing. I think there’s so much power in sharing your story, especially your struggles. If we manage to build enough courage to talk about our struggles, it allows others to support you or at least have perspective. Not only that, that courage in admitting your challenges gives permission for others to be vulnerable too. They realise it’s not just them that has challenges to face. This needs to be normalised.

We need to create a culture that encourages honest and REAL conversations with our families and/ or friends. Those conversations can lead to a strengthening of connection and even engagement with additional support if need be. This is one of the most important steps in anyone’s recovery from mental health challenges. The numerous ‘awareness challenges’ seen all over social media are great, but to truly make a huge difference, we need to simply pick up the phone and check in with your friends and family. Have an honest yarn, meet for a coffee and a real conversation, maintain connection with those you cherish. Be there for others and others can be there for you. You know that saying when you have a child ‘It takes a village’? Well it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to support a teen, it takes a village to support an adult, and it takes a village to support a person in their twilight years. It always takes a village. Let’s do what we can to improve our village 💙

Thank you lovely men, we are always here for you and all so lucky we have YOU in OUR lives, keep talking and stay healthy!

Note: It’s Empathy (noun; the ability to understand and share the feelings of another) we need not Sympathy (noun; feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune). Feel free to watch and resonate with this sweet version on empathy below: 👐