I met a beautiful lady this week who asked me why I was doing Movember, who’s husband had recently passed from a battle with prostate cancer, and I explained to her that I wanted to help men facing mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Later that evening, I wondered why I had picked anxiety and depression as my primary drivers for the cause, and not physical issues such as prostate cancer. I began to write down my ‘why’ and today I’d like to share it with you. This is a very personal issue to me and I’m afraid to hit ‘Publish’ but here goes! If it can help a single person out there to face their own mental battles, it’ll be worth it…
Growing up, I had the confidence I could achieve anything I put my mind to. I was the first in the family to venture out of the norm and experiment with things I was unfamiliar with – I thrived on it. At the age of 18, I flew to Sydney for university studies and fell in love with this beautiful country.
Five years later, my whole world changed one week after I graduated. My residency application was rendered invalid because of a few changes in immigration laws made days before I submitted the application.
I was shattered. I had built a life here, I had friends who were family and I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving. I met with a migration agent who told me things were going to get tough before they had a chance of getting better, but he believed I could get there.
The next five years were challenging. I was unable to apply to a single graduate program as residency was their first line of criteria. To keep myself sane, I volunteered three days a week with a charity organisation while I continued to find work opportunities. Through building relationships with the people I met, hard work, perseverance and a dash of luck, I was able to move from unemployed to employed to being sponsored to work here, and in August 2015 l received the phone call that I once seemed like a lost dream. I was a resident.
During these past years, my confidence was shaken to its core. There were days I experienced anxiety and panic attacks with the mere thought of how far I had to go under conditions I had absolutely no control over. I felt overwhelmed and often considered throwing in the towel. I was, am and always will be so grateful for the amazing support network I had that continued to push me forward and remind me that I was not in this alone.
For someone who has always had confidence growing up, what I experienced terrified me and it was only a taste of what so many others go through everyday. It taught me a great deal about life, overcoming challenges and most importantly, not being afraid to ask for help – something men often don’t do. I grew in many ways that I otherwise would not have, and I can now look back and say it was meant to be part of the journey.
I registered for Movember this month, and I did it so I could understand more about men’s mental health issues. It wasn’t until I started talking about it to others, especially the lady that evening, that I realised why I particularly gravitated toward support men facing anxiety and depression. We all have our battles and mine showed me just how quickly a strong mind could be broken, but could also be restored. With this in mind, I would love your support in three ways:
- Please donate to the Movember cause if you are able to: https://mobro.co/patgudhka
- Please start a conversation with an important male in your life and ask them how they are doing. Sometimes a single conversation can make a person feel incredibly valued.
- Please take a piece of paper and list 10 achievements you are proud of – big or small. Gratitude is an important practice for good mental health and I discovered during low times that I only had to look back to see how far I had come.
Thank you so much for being here and taking the time to read this – I hope you have a wonderful day. I would like to leave you with something a friend once told me that I find to be a great way to approach any circumstances in life:
There are things you can’t change that you have to learn to accept. There are things that you can change that you have to learn to drive. Most importantly, know the difference between the two.
Here’s a photos of my mo (and it’s only 12 days in – *worried*)