Movember is a powerful charity event for so many reasons. It means even more to us at Churchill Hui as we have team members whose lives have been affected by the challenges Movember aims to tackle – that’s prostate cancer, testicular cancer, suicide and mental health.
Our Clerk of Works and Site Inspector Stuart Miles has kindly shared his story for our “Movember Motivation” series.
Stuart, like many men, women and young people, has suffered serious bouts of depression – the ‘black cloud’ that can descend without warning and make even the simplest tasks seem daunting and paralysing. Having gut-wrenchingly concealed his mental health from family and friends, he concurs that men don’t talk about their feelings enough – and this needs to change.
“I used to get so low I did not want to go out, see anyone or talk to anyone – not even my family. I have hidden my depression from my own children.”
After about 10 years on and off prescription drugs, Stuart has found his own holistic remedies to keep depression at bay such as regular gym and swim workouts (even though he found these difficult at times when he was at a really low point), walking in the great outdoors and practising mindfulness. He has made more time for himself – taking dedicated time out and winding down from every day stresses. Contrary to what people may think, focusing on his job helps Stuart – “it’s my work that keeps me sane”.
Sadly, Stuart’s older brother was affected by mental health issues from a vulnerable age and by his twenties was regularly using drugs to escape from a life where he struggled to find a sense of belonging. Hampered by prison life and heroin addiction, he finally took his own life whilst living away from his family, in a hostel. Although this felt like he was free from his troubled life, the pain of discovering later on that he was a diagnosed schizophrenic was, and still is, hard hitting for Stuart and his family. His brother’s mental health was well hidden by the façade of a man who was popular and sporty. Ending his own life at 43 is simply tragic. Was there help out there that he just couldn’t access? What could have coaxed him to open up about his feelings and suffering? This is why Movember wants to stop men dying too young.
Stuart’s younger brother is currently fighting his own mental health battles. Having been close to taking his own life, he was helped in time by a friend who got him emergency medical care that saved him. He is now on anti-depressants which are working and he is in a much better place physically and mentally. This is a promising outcome from a desperate situation and gives us all hope.
“The best things are communication and true friendship. Look out for the signs and hopefully you’ll stop your mates from reaching the stage where they feel alone and helpless.”
We all have mental health and we don’t always feel positive or well from one day to the next. As Stuart points out, we are all different, but we can all talk and listen. Together we can raise awareness and hopefully prevent depression and suicide.
Churchill Hui are taking part in Movember by growing moustaches and ‘moving’ 60km in a month! You can sponsor the team “Masterley Moustachery and Movement” at https://moteam.co/masterly-moustachery-and-movement-churchill-hui. We’re raising funds and awareness for all the dads, brothers, sons and mates in our lives.