They are immune to anxiety and depression, suicide and cancer. How preposterous does that sound?! Yet for years, social norms have almost encouraged guys to neglect their health.
To mark Movember, which aims to promote men’s health issues, we’ve asked our allied health assistant and ‘manbassador’ Hayden for an insight into his experience after a vehicle accident threatened to leave him wheelchair bound. He is testament to the strength in vulnerability and accepting support.
“I tried to make hospital as fun as possible and was often laughing. Crying, in my mind, meant I was weak. The morning was always a struggle. I had to be fed, lifted out of bed, wheeled to the toilet and shower, wheeled back to be lifted in and dressed. I had no control and no way to help. For toileting you get put on a commode and left over the toilet for about 20 minutes. I dreaded this time, left alone with my thoughts. In this time, I would think about just giving up. The thought of living with symptoms such as bed wetting and a left hand that hardly functioned made me feel like I was fighting a losing battle.
“I didn’t realise then that I didn’t possess the skills to deal with what I was going through. During my long recovery, my mental health suffered and I struggled with substance abuse, which was a desperate attempt to cope. I still suffer with anxiety and have worked with a psychologist to help overcome the trauma. But I also now have a fulfilling career, a wonderful family and a rigorous fitness routine. I now see vulnerability and humanness as virtues and strengths. It’s okay to struggle and to ask for, and accept, help.”