life events

Isolation – Disease of the Modern Man (A Movember Post)

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The best thing about blogging on WordPress is the opportunity it brings to interact with people of different sorts – different regions, different backgrounds, different philosophies, different behaviors; it’s rare that I bump into a person who is a whole lot like myself. Different as we are, we remain mixed together in this big, digital WordPress bowl with our muddled words bumping against each other, and everyone seems to get along quite nicely, perhaps because we are loosely united in our common quest to see and be seen.

The “different from me” phenomenon is no better exemplified than in the comparison between myself and the magnificent™ Le Clown. I know what everyone is thinking – is there really anybody quite like Le Clown? He’s one of a kind, true enough, but I dare say he and I are differenter™ than most (my new trademarked word, Mr. Clown). He’s a brash, liberal, bilingual Canadian with a broken potty mouth filter. I’m a conservative, slilingual (English with some Spanglish) American who still tends to rethink and edit blog posts that people stopped reading six months ago. Despite our various differences, I manage to feel a sort of kinship with Le Clown, as many do. Interesting – I don’t believe it’s primarily his humor or his creativity or his frequent F-Bombs that explain his extensive following; I think all those things attract views, but none of it does much to maintain faithful readers the way he does. The feature of Le Clown’s writing that keeps me following him is the way he writes with genuine honesty, particularly when it comes to the trials he has overcome and continues to deal with. Beneath it all, Le Clown is a caring person, exemplified by his Bloggers For Movember campaign.

Raising money for prostate cancer research is nothing new, but Le Clown put a twist on it. He and several other amazing bloggers are raising money and awareness for both prostate health and men’s mental health, and it’s the mental health part that captured my heart. Men’s mental health is an issue that is largely overlooked, and I believe the reason is due to our insane propensity to “suck it up.” Go rub some dirt on it, son, and get back out there. Now, I know most men are natural fighters, so a mentality of toughing things out is unavoidable, but as men, we have become so tight lipped, closed off, isolated; it’s killing us, sometimes literally. Most know about the tragedy with Le Clown’s father. My own father drank himself to death.

Friends, we are losing our men. Women are great; women are capable, but there are certain things we need men for, and I mean for more than opening the stubborn lid of a peanut butter jar. If you are a man reading this (I think I have at least three male readers), and you are struggling with physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual anguish, I hope you will seek help. Go to the doctor, go to therapy, go to friends, go to church. Don’t go to a bottle or a needle or a crazy overdose of media consumption.

Many of you know about my recent struggles with acute anxiety. All my life, I have been able to keep a level head in any situation. While everybody else is running around frantic, I am cool. For reasons I haven’t yet discovered, I’ve lost my cool. I made a decision months ago that I would not medicate this problem with unhealthy habits, no matter how bad it becomes, and it’s gotten really bad at times. I’m getting help. That’s not easy for me to admit, because as are many men, I am terribly insecure; I have succumbed to the “tough it out” mentality for most of my adult life. Ok, so I’m not so tough. May we all find a place, at least one place, where we can safely be not so tough.

I’d like to thank the magnificent™ Le Clown for his openness, his transparency, and for spearheading this campaign.
Much love to you, brother.

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33 replies »

  1. Wonderful post. And yes, we do need men. I sure adore the ones in my life! Thanks for bringing awareness to the issue of men seeking medical treatment, and kudos to you for acknowledging your own weaknesses in the area.

  2. well written and thought stimulating and for the stress and emotional issues that invade my life i turn to my horse i got him as i lay dying in a hospital with cancer because a friend had told me “get what you want and enjoy it while you can ” and he gave me the will to survive Jake a trickster a breath of life and warmth on a cold day a Le’Clown of his own

  3. Legion,
    This was a powerful post. I’m sorry about your father, and I commend you for your courage to share your story. Thank you for doing this.
    Le Clown

  4. Legion,
    I really enjoy disagreeing with Le Clown, he ups my sarcasm/wit/my zinging abilities but in this case I totally agree with him. Powerful and courageous post! I certainly know the present and lasting effects of alcoholism….A gift that keeps on gifting, sadly! Please know we all carry around something that would be nice to hand off to someone else.

  5. Great post. I have had various family members who have lost battles with the bottle. It is not always easy or straight forward to deal with, and often a more complex problem than most care to admit.

    The prostate / mental health campaign is a good one also, so well done to you both.

  6. You and Le Clown are two of my favorite gentlemen on the blogosphere. I thought I was the only one who still edited blog posts from several months ago.

    Thanks for this post, Legion—you speak truth, men need to look out for themselves. We women are quite fond of you. You don’t have to “tough it out” on your own, but I know that’s how so many guys have been trained. And I just read your post about your anxiety issues…I sympathize, because I know what that’s like. I hope you find your cool again, sir. The uncomfortable feelings really are, well, uncomfortable.

  7. I’m glad I wrote yesterday’s post, which you responded to (glad it helped you-I’m not usually the “thankful” type-more on that in a minute) which has prodded me into getting back into the blog world, come over here and read *this* amazing post.

    Anxiety? I’ve battled this monster all my life. The free-floating anxiety that attaches to nothing and everything. and keeps me in a state of panic over-well, over everything and nothing. Occasionally, some event/problem will come along and I can try to attach it to that, but the anxiety was with me first and will be with me after the event/problem is over or resolved. It comes and goes, apropos of… what? It sneaks up from behind with a big club.

    I’m also the cool one. I just fall apart inside. Sound familiar?

    There’s nothing being done about men’s mental health. My father was an alcoholic (I had to quit as well) and I believe that he drank in part because of other problems that were not addressable at the time. That was 40-50 years ago, when “nervous breakdowns” were only had by women. Even now, men’s mental health seems like a footnote in the mental health field. Articles seem to be augmented, much more often than not, by pictures or images of women.

    Anxiety is one of the reasons I stopped blogging for a while. Strange, isn’t it? Sit down and freeze up in front of the computer. I can write for myself, but not for public consumption. I need to figure out a way around this.

    One small thing I tried that helped was to cut out sugar and wheat/grains. Rice is ok. Also,anything with ingredients you cannot understand. Preservatives etc. Processed food. It’s not the magic bullet, but I feel more stable.

    Best of luck. I’ll be back. Off to read Le Clown…

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