This month is Men’s Mental Health Month (Movember), and we reached out to our male friends and family to get a genuine male perspective on this very difficult subject, but we didn’t get far. We then looked to a well-known fictional character who we thought might make the subject just a little easier to talk about and the curmudgeonly, grumpy Victor Meldrew came to mind. In this blog Victor presents a unique perspective through the lens and voice of his fictional character who approaches life's absurdities with humour and a dash of cynicism. While this perspective may resonate with some, this creative approach doesn’t attempt to trivialise the seriousness of the matter but rather presents it in a distinct and light-hearted manner. Let's take a moment to consider the themes of mental health through this unique lens and, above all, encourage open conversations and support for those facing such challenges.
I’m not one to shy away…
"I CAN’T BELIEVE IT! Here we are, folks—yet another month that’s been assigned some particular theme. And this time, brace yourselves, it’s Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month. Now, I’m not one to shy away from acknowledging the importance of mental health. No, no, no. It’s a serious matter. But really, do we need a whole month dedicated to it? What’s next, International Tea Cosy Knitting Week? Oh, wait, they probably already have that!
Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month. I must say, I find it quite comical that we need a whole month to remind everyone that us chaps have brains that sometimes misfire. I mean, it’s a given, isn’t it? We aren’t just a bunch of cavemen grunting our way through life, despite what some might believe.
But jokes aside, mental health is no laughing matter. It’s like having a car that’s sputtering, stalling, and threatening to break down on the M25 during rush hour. We’ve got to take care of our mental engines just as much as our physical ones. And this month apparently aims to highlight that. So, fair play, let’s dive into the deep end of men’s mental health, shall we?
None of this ‘grin and bear it’ mentality
Firstly, let’s clear up a few misconceptions. Some might think that a man acknowledging mental health issues is akin to admitting he can’t change a lightbulb. Absolute poppycock! It takes a real man, a superhero of sorts, to admit that he's not feeling tip-top mentally. None of this ‘grin and bear it’ mentality, pretending everything’s hunky-dory when your inner world resembles a tumble dryer on the spin cycle.
It's like the time I went to the doctor and he said, "Victor, your stress levels are off the charts!" Of course, they are, Doctor! Have you seen the state of the world? But no, apparently, it was something I needed to ‘address’. Address it? I barely have time to find my glasses in the morning!
Mental health struggles aren’t a sign of weakness
Speaking of addressing things, there’s still an odd stigma surrounding men and mental health. It’s like we’ve been handed a script since birth: ‘Thou shalt not show emotion, thy shall be tough as nails, and if you dare cry, it shall be in the privacy of your shed while no one’s looking’. It’s about time we rip up that script and toss it in the bin. Mental health struggles aren’t a sign of weakness, they’re a sign that you’re human. And last I checked, we’re all in the same species here.
Now, don’t get me wrong, chaps, I’m all for a good moan. There’s nothing like a good rant to lighten the load. But when it comes to mental health, it’s more than just a gripe session down at the pub. It’s about opening up, seeking help, and maybe, just maybe, trying to understand that deep, mysterious labyrinth that is our own minds.
I remember when I tried meditation for the first time. I sat there, trying to empty my mind. But it’s like trying to declutter a junk drawer that hasn’t been touched in 30 years. I ended up thinking about the plumbing, the garden gnomes, the price of cheese in Tesco… Anything but achieving inner peace.
One thing that might help is getting rid of this macho image we’ve built up. I mean, who decided that a man is only manly if he can wrestle a grizzly bear, fix a car blindfolded, and never shed a tear during ‘Marley & Me’? It’s preposterous! Sometimes, we just need a good cry while watching ‘Titanic’. No shame in that, gents.
It’s okay not to be okay
Moreover, there’s this issue of communication—or the lack thereof. It’s like we’re all trying to send smoke signals to each other rather than just saying, “Hey, I’m not doing so great, old boy.” We need to break the ice, melt it, and swim in the open sea of communication. It’s okay not to be okay, but it’s not okay to bottle it up and let it ferment into a grand old mess.
And don’t get me started on the expectations society heaps upon us. The pressure to be the breadwinners, the emotional rocks, the providers of endless dad jokes. It’s a tough act to follow, I tell you. We’re expected to be the Atlas holding up the world, but sometimes, we just want to put the world down for a minute and have a cup of tea.
It’s also high time we realise that mental health doesn’t discriminate. It’s not exclusive to certain age groups, job titles, or whether you can grow a full beard or just a patchy stubble. It affects us all. From the young lads struggling to figure out their place in the world to the experienced gents who’ve seen it all—it’s a playing field leveller, mental health is.
Let’s support one another
So, during this Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s raise a cup of tea (or a pint, if you prefer) and toast to acknowledging our mental ups and downs. Let’s be the change we want to see in the world by breaking free from those antiquated stereotypes and normalising conversations about mental health. And most importantly, let’s support one another. Because, my friends, we’re all in this magnificent, bizarre, sometimes utterly bonkers journey called life together.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to practice my downward-facing dog pose. Who knows, it might just help me find that elusive inner peace... or I’ll end up falling flat on my face. Either way, it's bound to be entertaining. Cheers to Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month!"
Thank you Victor! Remember to check in with friends and loved ones, and there is no better way to do so, than sending an unexpected gift box from Luxury Gift in a Box, to remind him that you are thinking about him and that you care.