Mental Health Awareness Month (MEN)

My name is Carmin, but my family and close friends call me Chucky or Chuck. I was skeptical when this was brought to my attention because I did not want to write about it. It’s a dark past that I thought would be best to keep hidden and buried forever. But I later realized that this dark past could help many people going through the same thing. So, here’s my story:

I was born in Haiti, and I moved to the United States when I was 11 years old. For as long as I can remember, I witnessed my mom struggle as a single mother. She even had to do the worst jobs to provide for my needs. Through this, she was able to send me to school. However, it got to a point where that wasn’t even enough. I was sent out of the class one day because she couldn’t pay my fees that semester. This horrible experience made me feel ashamed and angry because I couldn’t help her. I knew that I wanted to be a provider at a young age because I recognized her struggles. This situation made me angry at my dad because he wasn’t there when we needed him the most. He often sent me some toys, but it didn’t help how I felt about him. My mom’s situation and my dad’s annoying behavior made me so bitter that it took me to a dark place. 

Reflecting on the past today, I can say that this experience taught me many things. I can now easily detach from the things that aren’t truly important to me. I’ve worked with mentally disabled individuals and Pedophilia, as a mental health counselor in a psychiatric hospital. In other words, these struggles have made me see life from a different perspective. I took the lessons I learned from those horrible experiences and put them to good use.

As I look back on these struggles, I forgive my father and mostly my mom because she was my motivation. I remember when she got angry at my dad’s way of life and everything else. She often vented her anger to me at the slightest opportunity, and she often did this in the form of abuse. This made me avoid her at all costs. Of course, my father was the cause of most of her venting. I’ve thought about it repeatedly and realized that I would be angry if I were in her situation. I’m not mentioning this to make excuses for her. My father always made her angry, and I genuinely believe her abusive nature was because she raised a male child with no father figure. Not having a father figure in my life always made my mother feel like she had to be strict with me; after all, it is not easy to raise a child, much less doing it alone. She had to stand as my father and mother simultaneously.

While growing up, I often felt like I was the reason for the bad situations we were in. That was probably why she treated me the way she did. Slowly, I started feeling like I had no purpose in life. Still, I didn’t tell anyone because I thought it would eventually go away if I didn’t share it with anyone. At one point, I was helpless and always afraid whenever I was in a relationship. I felt like the relationship was not going to work. Sometimes, I sabotaged it because I was scared of rejection and loneliness. Still, I knew I wanted to do better than my father. Despite this, there were many hard days. Today was one of those hard days, but I always remind myself that tomorrow would be better than yesterday.

I dislike abuse in any form, so it hurts me when I am the one inflicting pain on someone. I was scared of bringing a child into this world because I didn’t want to end up like my father. In my first relationship, my partner got pregnant, and I decided that she would abort the child. At that moment,

I didn’t have the best job, so I felt like I wasn’t ready to be a father. I still feel devastated about that decision, and till this day it hurts me tremendously. If I could take it all back, I would. Most times, I would even like to apologize to her. I want her to know that she did not deserve what I said and that it wasn’t her fault. I was just afraid of making mistakes, but along the way, I realized that my mistakes and that of my father had made me the man I am today.  

Let’s fast forward to the present. God has blessed me with a beautiful daughter who saved and changed my life. I was scared when I heard that I was having a baby but even more scared that I would lose her before she was born. When I saw her, I knew that I had to be there for her. She gave me a reason to be joyful, and I would sacrifice anything for her. I won’t let her experience what I went through as a young boy. Her evolution is a breath of fresh air, and I want to walk her through this journey until my last breath. 

I wrote this article because many people who went through difficult times while growing up can relate to this message. I want you to know that you are not alone, and it is still okay to be vulnerable.

To care for Mental Health in Men is to find out what as a Man makes us vulnerable and what can bring us in a state of depression or anxiety. In the world we live in, society has a stigma that men are supposed to be this strong human being with a tough exterior and no emotion. But in reality we as men bottle up a lot of emotions that we are told not to spill and just brush it off. Society makes men feel that if you cry and show emotion you are not a man, you are weak. Mental Health in Men is just as important as it is in women today. As of today the highest suicide rate is in Men. The world doesn’t really show very much importance for Men’s mental Health. Society makes us feel that all we are worth is working and paying bills, but we are more than that. We as men definitely need to take care of our mental health because if we can’t take care of ourselves first how can we expect to help and love others. A construction worker can’t help and rebuild homes if his own house is in shambles.So Men, let’s take time to work on our mental health and find inner peace within ourselves. Take that weekend off, take that five day solo vacation, take that day to get your mind right. If you feel you need to cry to get some of those feelings out do it, crying doesn’t make you weak, it makes you a man that can express how he feels at any moment. Let’s make 2022 a year we can be proud of fellas!!!!      

 

Mental health problems affect both men and women, but not in equal measure. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, “men die by suicide 3.5 times more often than women” and “49% of men feel more depressed than they admit to the people in their life.” Most men are dealing with their mental health issues in silence. I remember being told to as a boy to “Man Up!”, “A man is supposed to be tough.” or that “Feelings are only for women.” Most men feel that society would perceive them as less masculine for seeking help or sharing any emotion.

I want to let you know that you have nothing to prove to anybody. Keeping your issues locked inside doesn’t make you more of a man. It just makes you a good actor, just playing a role for society. When the show is over, you’ll go right back to reality. I spent so many years of my life holding problems in and trying to play this “Macho Man” character. In the end, I was only fooling myself. Neglecting my mental health affected my previous relationships, made me isolate myself from people, my relationships with family members/friends, my relationships with coworkers and my overall happiness/well-being.

Cut the act! The best thing I ever did was finding people I trust and talking about my issues. Getting others to help me with difficult situations helped reduce my burden and helped me to enjoy my life better. Implementing more self-care into my life also helped my mental health tremendously. I hired a personal trainer @reps.guru and lost over 50 pounds in 6 months. I also changed my diet and learned new marketable skills. I recommend weekly self-care because it can help you relieve stress and change your mood in a positive way.  Remember this, you are as successful as the support system you have around you! Men, you don’t have to fight this battle alone. There are plenty of online resources out there willing to help you. There is absolutely no shame in asking for help.

– Kevin Gaillard

@kevtheeducator

Hello Gentlemen,

It’s Men’s Health Awareness Month and I thought it might be a good time to check-in and see how you men are doing. I’ll admit I’ve been concerned that 2020/2021 was a heck of a year  and we all faced challenges we’d never faced before.

I saw many of you struggle, sometimes with fear and depression, while worrying about losing your job, your income, your ability to provide for their family. Unfortunately for many of you, that’s what happened during the pandemic. Some of you lost more than that, a parent or other loved one. Perhaps you felt there were no words to express your loss. Maybe there still aren’t and that’s what concerns me the most. As men we’ve been taught that speaking about pain or sadness, even after a devastating loss makes you weak and no man wants to be seen as weak. 

Many emotional factors have a significant effect on our fitness level like depression, aggression, negative thinking, frustration, and fear. A physically fit person is always in a good mood and can easily cope up with situations of distress and depression by contributing to training. Mental fitness implies a state of psychological well-being. It denotes having a positive sense of how we feel, think, and act, which improves one’s ability to enjoy life. It contributes to one’s inner ability to be self-determined. Being mentally healthy extends your life by allowing you to experience more joy and happiness. Mental health also improves our ability to think clearly and boosts our self-esteem. We may also connect spiritually with ourselves and serve as role models for others. When our minds are unstable, they affect the whole functioning of our bodies. Being both physically and mentally fit is the key to success in all aspects of life. People should be aware of the consequences of mental illness and must give utmost importance to keeping the mind healthy like the way the physical body is kept healthy.

Duality by Blade Pinderhughes

Be chivalrous. Be a gentleman. Be a protector. Be a provider. Be selfless.  

Being a “good Man” seems to always be aligned with living in servitude of others. What happens when a Man chooses to prioritize his own desires & pour into himself? Does the societal pressure of being perceived as “good” overpower his internal struggle to do what’s best for self?  Can a Man still be considered “great” if he chooses to just “be”? Maybe the best version of man is to set healthy boundaries and demonstrate a balance between his emotion and his logic. 

I’ve long believed that Men are just as, if not more emotional than Women; the real issue is most Men don’t possess the same level of patience Women do when it comes to expressing themselves. It’s hard to be patient with something you’ve never really practiced enough to trust. If we can agree that most Men have a difficult time expressing themselves, we must also agree that most people haven’t had enough practice listening to what a Man expressing himself really sounds like. It’s kind of like the: “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” scenario; Is it that Men were made to feel expressing their feelings were viewed as weak? or is it that Men were made to feel nobody would listen or understand if they attempted anyway? For the sake of my perspective maybe the chicken and the egg both arrived at the same time.

Young boys were conditioned to find distractions to process how they felt as opposed to expressing themselves. Whether the post conflict escape was running outside to play sports, reading books, resorting to TV, the computer or playing video games the common theme is pretty much the same – those boys were left to process their own emotions and self soothe through distractions. Safe to say those aren’t the best practices for instilling conflict resolution skills in children. Fast forward to adulthood and the deeply rooted avoidant style  of communication that has us Men in a proverbial chokehold in spaces where we lose patience from feeling unheard for so many years; Are “Man Caves”, bars, being buried in work or going for a drive all that different from how boys found distractions to cope as children? will you take a stance and express yourself after processing your emotions? or will you continue to bottle those emotions and potentially self-destruct? 

Self-preservation of Men will happen when we accept the reality that we are to find peace within ourselves without chasing peace through distractions. When Men fully embrace that we are just as emotional as we are logical; when we have enough self-awareness and emotional intelligence to realize it’s up to us to enforce healthy boundaries and create safe spaces where our voices feel heard. The true key to being a “good man” is continuing to adapt and evolve to become well balanced beings while maintaining a degree of selflessness that doesn’t sacrifice our individuality. 

Embrace your duality, 

Blade Pinderhughes

IG: Regalcourtier7

When I think of mental Health the first thing that comes to mind is the stigma that is attached to the topic despite the progress in recent years. Especially amongst black men, the world is designed in a way that portraits us as Machines with no feelings,heartless and emotionless. From birth to our teenage years and sometimes beyond that,most of us have no idea of what it really takes to be a man. Many of us grew up without a father figure or with a father who isn’t the best role model which robbed us of the education & foundation needed to succeed & thrive in this world as men. 

My name is Kenny Laborde, most people know me by Dj Magic Kenny. I grew up without a Father Figure in the home and I didn’t know the impact it would make on my life and mental health until 5 years ago when I started spending more time with God & educating myself on various topics including traumas and Mental Health. I probably would have lost myself if I didn’t take the time to learn, grow, humble myself before God and allow myself to be more vulnerable.I believe that everything starts in the mind, if the mind isn’t in the right place, then it will be very hard to grow and live a blessed and fulfilled life. Taking care of our mental health helps us maintain and understand how we feel, think and act. Positive Mental Health helps improve relationships in our lives, think more clearly, establish a sense of inner peace, be more productive and just have an overall better quality of life. I say all of this knowing just how hard it is to break out of everything society tells us we have to be as black men. Many of us have not been taught how to process and talk about our emotions or our emotional experiences. However, we have been taught to always be strong, to never let anything affect us and that men don’t cry. We are praised for having many women and for having money because without those two things you are basically Nobody and the world won’t love you. Because of this Lie, many men hold their emotions inside and act as if nothing affects them even when they are breaking and suffering inside. 

 I pray that all my brothers reading this Blog seek the help they need and understand that vulnerability isn’t weakness. Remember, Mental Health & Physical Health go hand in hand and once you start taking care of your mind your body will in many ways thank you for it. We as men, are created to be leaders & fathers and the only way to succeed at that is by taking care of our Mental Health first. Even the Bible tells us “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23). The word heart here really means “Mind” So let’s do better my Brothers, and learn how to protect and take care of our Mind. We got this!

Thank you Zoulette 

Connect with me Via

IG djmagickenny

If I’m being completely honest, it isn’t the easiest duty to carry being a man in today’s world. As a man, there’s so many expectations that we are held to and with that alone comes with a lot of challenges. It doesn’t make things easier when you fall under the minority/ lower-class bracket either! Growing up as a young man, I was always taught to just take life by the chin, remain tough, and to not allow my emotions to get in the way of what I had to do. There’s always been this stigma that men are expected to always have tough skin and to never emotionally fold to our adversities. We have never gotten the “okay” for us to be vulnerable and show signs of weakness. I can’t begin to stress how this has tainted, not just my mental, but the mentals of all the fellas around me. It’s never been popular for us, as men, to vent or express our feelings. Society doesn’t promote therapy, so as a result ‘therapy’ is looked down upon and for us, is only applicable if you’re a “special case”. 

That is when I intervene and say, forget what society paints us as! Fellas, our mental health is undoubtedly THE most important component of our makeup. We cannot adequately prioritize anything else without making sure our mind is fine. If you’re anything like me, it isn’t the easiest to stay empowered and uplifted. It’s almost impossible to control every thought that crosses our mind. However, by taking the time to just FEEL, be emotionally vulnerable, and vocalize our sentiments we’re able to strengthen our mental health to a degree. Guys walk around with designer/expensive outfits only to distract the cheap/poor and deteriorated mental that they carry. We’d figure that even though we’re not sharp on the inside, we can at least represent it through our appearances. However, it only takes so much until you realize that we can’t fool/distract ourselves from our mind forever. Then, you become someone like me, who, now, would rather do self-reflection in the morning rather than stress about what I’m wearing that day. Fellas, there is no physical without making sure our mental-state is where it’s supposed to be! Before a gym workout & retail therapy, make sure to book a mental self-consultation! 

Max !

Mental health is just as important as physical health because everything starts with the mind! Many men suffer from anxiety, depression, etc but never get the chance to talk about it because they feel like nobody cares. We live in a “nobody cares, work harder” society where men aren’t able to get the proper help for their mentality. Therapy is important for mental health. To be able to vent without being judged. Nowadays jobs are offering mental health benefits that I highly suggest all working men to take advantage of. 

– DJ UNIVERCITY 

My Name is Kerpatrick Mental Health to me means being in control of your own thoughts. You find out what is a place you can go to mentally and also physically to be at one with yourself. Mental health is something that is really important, because you have peace. Not your family, friends, peers but your own. Mental health contributes to your happiness, intelligence, and your actions. Something that should be of more importance. 

My mental health is essential to me getting the most out of life, but it’s only one part. I truly believe in mind, body, and soul. You can get gas for your car but how good is a full tank if all the tires are flat ? One hand washes the other but both hands wash the face. Everything has a different role but a common goal. For me that goal is peace and clarity. 

     Since the beginning of the pandemic I’ve started reading and working out more often and it’s done wonders for my confidence, which has spilled over into bettering my mental health. I still work towards reaching my goals but instead of stressing about when I’ll reach them, I’m enjoying the lessons I learn along the way. At a time I was addicted to comparison. If a peer of mine was more “successful” than me I would begin to doubt my work ethic. But what is success anyway ? There isn’t one answer because everyone’s idea of it is different. With this new mindset I’m able to move at my own pace. 

     Find some encouraging podcasts to listen to. Get a haircut every 2 weeks. Make sure your surroundings aren’t cluttered. These are all simple but effective ways to boost your morale. It’s cliché but the truth is when you look good you feel good, and when you feel good you perform good. As men we need to do everything in our power to be good partners, sons, siblings, friends, etc. that starts with us believing in ourselves. Don’t be afraid to share how you feel with someone else. We’re all in this together. 

IG: @Eleven14.Deuce 

One thought on “Mental Health Awareness Month (MEN)

  1. This was beautiful. To be vulnerable enough to tell your story and over come these trials and tribulations as a black Man is powerful. Society has played a big part in making men feel they have to be strong and not allowed to show weakness when in all reliable men needs to be cradled and love as much as women sometimes more. This was a must read and looking forward to more to read. Thank you Zoulette for capturing these amazing stories. A special heart felt love to Chuck for letting your guard down and showing the real you. Love it and you guys will always have a support over here. Congratulations

    Liked by 1 person

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