No Fear-No Vember (a story)

Lisa SchumacherArticles

No Fear-No Vember (a story)

“The major point of this first message is, please do not allow yourself to suffer in silence. Even if you are the mocho-est man on earth, but suffering, seek out help, that’s strength and power.”

-a staff member

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Well, I’ll just start with the beginnings, and I’m including some personal stuff that’s not a big deal to me because it’s just part of my story. Anyhow, looking back into my childhood and adolescence, I took on two persona’s, I tended to be quite shy, yet at the same time, a class clown.

Where things got hazy were the years between 12 and 24 years old. Those were years filled with a great deal of substance abuse. Some might say I was self medicating, which is likely true. I recall that during those years, having to be under the influence whilst in pretty much be in any social setting.

As soon as I stopped using all substances of abuse, it seems that the anxiety had been masked and held at bay to some degree. Soon after, the symptoms of anxiety exploded, however, I really wasn’t aware of what was happening. Over the next 10 years or so, I truly suffered with moderate to extreme symptoms of social anxiety, obsessive compulsive symptoms and frequent panic attacks. These symptoms were a constant and daily thing that did interfere with life, however, being the typical tough guy, I felt like I could muscle through it and handle it on my own. Day after day went by, then month after month, then year after year went by, however, my “toughness” was no match against the levels of anxiety that ensued.

It wasn’t until 2009 and into my first year of graduate school, when my head exploded (not literally of course) and I nearly and truthfully lost my mind. This was an extremely scary thing that had happened, 12 years of “self medicated” plus nearly 10 years of “untreated” anxiety all coming to the surface at once.

"...how ridiculous it was to allow myself to suffer for as long as I did, so as not to appear as a weak man, when all it took was a brief meeting with a doctor and a small little medication which began to improve my quality of life immensely."

This was scary enough that I talked to a psychiatrist the following day who started me on my first of many psychiatric medications over the years. I was started on Zoloft which helped tremendously, and made me honestly think of how ridiculous it was to allow myself to suffer for as long as I did, so as not to appear as a weak man, when all it took was a brief meeting with a doctor and a small little medication which began to improve my quality of life immensely.

Medications have certainly not cured me, but certainly helped make me a better student, and have helped make me a better husband, father, employee, neighbor, and friend. The major point of this first message is, please do not allow yourself to suffer in silence. Even if you are the mocho-est man on earth, but suffering, seek out help, that’s strength and power.

-a staff member

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Movember and Men's Mental Health

Movember looks at mental health through a male lens, focusing on prevention, early intervention and health promotion. The official Movember.com movement focuses on several different aspects of men’s health and is a fundraiser for that organization.

At WMH, our Movember focus is on men taking care of their mental health and being willing to seek help when they need it. We had 8 WMH Movember Ambassadors who agreed to participate by growing a mustache and sharing their experiences about starting conversations about men’s mental health. Read some of their experiences in future blog posts as well as on our social media accounts.

Our goal is to get 100 men to get a mental health “check up” by taking our free, online, confidential assessment. You will get results back that show mental health issues that you might be at risk for, such as anxiety or depression, along with individualized recommendations for next steps. Take the assessment here.