An Open Letter to every Husband, Brother and Son

isolated young male

Dear Fellow Brother,

 

I have a lot to get through today but first I want to share with you a scary statistic.

 

Did you know that Male suicide is 3 times higher than that of Females?

 

Why is this? This should be alarming to us all. Considering how easy it is supposed to be to be a guy – it is also quite hard.

 

To be honest – I believe the fact we are told to man up and that emotions are feminine has a lot to do with this statistic.

 

We are told to toughen up and to be a man. Have some cement and harden up.

 

Men don’t cry.

 

So we keep it in.

 

We don’t talk.

 

Which in turn means that we don’t learn how to deal with our struggles and more importantly – our emotions. A lot of the time we end up feeling alone and overwhelmed.

 

But you’re not in it alone.

 

We are in this together. We are all brothers. I know we are ‘Blokes’ but it is important to tell your mates and brothers to that if shits going down, that we can talk.

 

Life can be shit sometimes. But its shitter without your best mates around.

 

I personally have gone through my ups and downs and I expect there are more to come. That’s kind of how life is really. I would be lying if I said that I hadn’t considered driving my car off a cliff. That I felt consumed by my problems and mental dialogue. I wouldn’t say I have had depression. But I believe its real. What I do know though are these two things;

 

  1. I never ever wanted to feel like that again
  2. I never want any of my mates to ever feel like that

 

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It takes a strong person to put their hand up when they are drowning in their own thoughts and problems and I am here to tell you there is hope.

 

I want to share with 50  things I have learnt along the way that helped me. Some you may align with and some you may not. Some are directly related to the above statistic and some are things I wish I knew as a teenager.

 

I wanted to make it a flowing letter but naturally, it came out in dot points.

 

So, to every Husband, Brother, Son and Friend I share with you some of the tips, quotes and advice that has helped me:

 

  1. Respect every female regardless of how they act.
  2. Never hit a woman. Ever.
  3. The first one to get angry loses.
  4. Get up early. Achieve something before the world wakes. Read, run, lift or listen to a podcast. Just get up.
  5. Give to charity/community – but don’t go around telling everyone. Don’t do it for recognition. Do it because it’s the right thing to do.
  6. Do something active – join a sporting team or community gym.
  7. Tell people how you feel. Not just angry feelings – I mean emotions.
  8. Tell your parents that you love them. Honestly – they fed you and wiped your arse when you couldn’t do it yourself.
  9. Write down your goals. Again. And again. And again. It will get easier to be clearer each time.
  10. Hold the door open for people. Not just females but also for your fellow bros.
  11. Go for girls outside your “league”. Because this is the best way to learn that no one is.
  12. Learn to say sorry – and actually mean it. Also – learn how other people communicate. Sometimes you need to show people you are sorry. Whereas others need to hear it.
  13. I want to say find a mentor but it doesn’t work that way. Rather, follow your passion and give to the community. People of influence will want to help you. Probably because both of those things are genuine.
  14. Never buy flowers to say sorry. Always buy them for no reason at all.
  15. Learn how to cook. Something. Anything.
  16. Buy a slow cooker.
  17. Always stand up to shake hands.
  18. Shake a womans hand – not too tight but enough to match their grip.
  19. Give compliments – to both genders.
  20. Find someone you can talk to.
  21. Don’t always give answers. We want to fix things. Sometimes people want to talk but aren’t ready yet for things to be fixed.
  22. Ask for permission to give advice before giving it.
  23. Eat your damn vegetables.
  24. Read books – not comic books.
  25. Listen to podcasts.
  26. Trust your gut.
  27. Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.
  28. The truth always comes out and character never lies.
  29. You can disagree but don’t attack someone or belittle someone for their opinion.
  30. Bringing someone down doesn’t make you any better – it is a direct reflection of you.
  31. If someone hurts you – don’t hurt them back. Try to understand why they are lashing out first.
  32. Someone only ever hurts you when they themselves are hurting. No one has ever hurt someone from a place of happiness.
  33. Never, ever bully someone. Especially over the internet. It is one of the WEAKEST social aspects that the internet has brought to mankind.
  34. You are never too old to change a habit.
  35. You are never too old to tell someone how you feel.
  36. Silence is deadly and it is not weak to speak.
  37. Study the universe, stop and look at the stars. You will somehow learn more about yourself if you do.
  38. No one owes you anything. Nothing. You are not entitled to anything. So you want something. Go out and get it.
  39. You can have anything you want. You just have to outlast and outsmart the problems.
  40. Find a form of art that you are proud of – make it your hobby or work.
  41. Build or create something tangible throughout your life. This could be a cubby house, a bridge or even a book.
  42. The harsh reality is that one day a bus is going to come and hit you. Hopefully not literally, but at least metaphorically. You and I both don’t know when that day will come. So don’t live in an illusion that you have time. You don’t. Be patient but hustle and create chances. Understand that time is the last thing you have and the first thing we take for granted.
  43. Eat food. Not healthy food or clean eating. Just food. The “It grew from the ground or had a mum kinda food”. Everything else is slowly poisoning you and the genes you are passing down.
  44. Travel. You will grow as a person every time.
  45. Spend money on experiences and memories.
  46. Don’t set goals based upon your current circumstances and resources.
  47. Don’t let someone else’s opinion of you become your reality.
  48. Buy some nice cologne. Seriously. People remember smells more than anything.
  49. What happens is not as important as how you react to it.
  50. And sometimes, family isn’t always blood…

 

… and sometimes these family members who aren’t blood are the ones that save your life. They don’t know they did. All they asked was “What’s up bud? Everything OK?”.

 

Silence is deadly, gentlemen. This is my message to say that I am here to listen. If you feel the same then feel free to pass on this message to someone who needs to hear it.

 

To every person who helped me out of my hole – thank you. This is me paying it forward.

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

Brother Dave.

53 Comments

  • Eric Kyle

    Reply Reply June 22, 2015

    Thank you Dave , for this valuable message of support to the guys & our brothers that are silently crying out for help, as I have a friend that has lost a son recently due to this very thing you are talking about. This young man had a good job & a lovely family to support, however did suffer from depression, & out of the blue took his own life with no real reason, I feel that he was suffering exactly what you & many others have been through, so your message is so important to get out there. Thank you bro for paying it forward, I hope this helps lots of young guys back on the right path to good mental health & understanding, cheers for now, Eric Kyle.

    • Dave Nixon

      Reply Reply June 22, 2015

      Thank you Eric. Thank you for sharing and reading. We are all in this together. Stay strong brother.

  • Danieka

    Reply Reply June 22, 2015

    This is brilliant Dave. Good on you for writing this for the guys! They need this.

    X

    • Dave Nixon

      Reply Reply June 22, 2015

      Thank You Danieka. Male or Female, we all need the right support at the right time :)

  • Pauline Lound

    Reply Reply June 22, 2015

    Wonderful Dave! Very well said x

    • Dave Nixon

      Reply Reply June 22, 2015

      Thank You Pauline :)

  • Peter McCurdy

    Reply Reply June 23, 2015

    Thanks Dave. So many great thoughts and pointers. Everyone NEEDS to read this.

    • Dave Nixon

      Reply Reply June 23, 2015

      Thanks Peter. I am glad you feel that way. Please pay it forward to anyone you feel would benefit from hearing.

  • Barb

    Reply Reply June 23, 2015

    Such wise words! They apply to everyone, but the statistics on male suicides are heartbreaking. If this can save even a single guy from taking his life, thank you. Thank you for sharing and paying it forward. I’m going to give my teenage son and husband a copy, then print one out for myself and put it on my office wall. Sometimes being brave enough and having the courage to speak what you really feel is the hardest thing, but we can never really move forwards emotionally without that. At the end of the day, isn’t it that emotional connection between each other that we really want? So be brave and find that mate who will support you.

    • Dave Nixon

      Reply Reply June 23, 2015

      Barb – Thank you so much for your kind words. I can only hope this helps one person at the very least. Like it did for me.
      Thank you again x :)

  • Nikki

    Reply Reply June 23, 2015

    What beautiful words Dave. I’ve long believed that the single worst parenting mistake was “be a man”. It’s horrifying the results it’s caused as time goes on.

    These are words my husband certainly could have used before his tragic end two years ago and I will endeavor to ensure that they are seen by as many as possible.

    Much happiness and peace to you as time goes on.

    • Dave Nixon

      Reply Reply June 23, 2015

      Thank You Nikki. That can be a mission that you and I both share.
      Much happiness and peace to you, too.
      D

  • Leanne

    Reply Reply June 23, 2015

    Great read glad things are looking up for you everything you wrote is so very rite .take care

    • Dave Nixon

      Reply Reply June 23, 2015

      Thank you Leanne. Hope all is well on your end.

  • Aimee Bowman

    Reply Reply June 24, 2015

    You are a beautiful soul cousin very powerful from someone so young

    • Dave Nixon

      Reply Reply June 24, 2015

      Thank you for sharing Aimee. Lots of love your way xo

  • Jen

    Reply Reply June 24, 2015

    Hey dave good things happen every day if you know where to look beyond the shit that downs us all. Look for them always and ride that wave out mate.

    • Dave Nixon

      Reply Reply June 24, 2015

      Thanks Jen. The Wave is just part of the game, huh? Always a way through.

  • Anita

    Reply Reply June 24, 2015

    Absolutely fabulous help and advice.
    I have 3 son’s, and my only wish is that they would talk more and more openly when they have issues or concerns.
    Thanks, wonderful reading x

    • Dave Nixon

      Reply Reply June 24, 2015

      Thank you for sharing Anita. I am sure your sons will grow up in a world that far better understands young men.

  • Alison

    Reply Reply June 24, 2015

    Thank you for this!

    It is just what I needed right now and have passed it on to my younger brother who is going through a hard time right now, and I am doing what I can because it is too difficult bear the thought that he may be at risk of becoming a part of this scary statistic.

    Just hoping to help him realise that it is ok to talk, that it isn’t a sign of weakness but the strongest thing he could ever do. My wish for him is that one day he will see the beauty this world has to offer and most importantly be happy in it.

    • Dave Nixon

      Reply Reply June 28, 2015

      I really hope your younger brother was able to get something from this and is able to talk to the right people. I hope he understands that its normal and ok to feel like that but it’s not ok to not do anything about it.

      This world is a beautiful place and it starts on the inside first.

  • Tracey Albrecht

    Reply Reply June 25, 2015

    “Time is the last thing you have and the first thing we take for granted.”
    That’s gold right there.
    Thank you so much. We need to start teaching our sons from an early age that communicating their emotions is the most manly thing they can do.

    • Dave Nixon

      Reply Reply June 25, 2015

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment Tracey. I truly appreciate it :)

  • Adrian Day

    Reply Reply June 26, 2015

    David. Thank you for sharing. I have been bitten by the Black Dog a couple of times, and both times I thought I could handle it myself. Now, I tell those that are closest of my issues.

    • Dave Nixon

      Reply Reply June 26, 2015

      Its great that you can talk Adrian and feel comfortable doing so. Keep strong, brother. We are all in this together.

  • Ray

    Reply Reply June 26, 2015

    David, we are never too young or too old to appreciate such thoughts as depression does not recognise age…..recognising and acknowledging that there is a problem is the first step of the journey to recovery.

    • Dave Nixon

      Reply Reply June 26, 2015

      Thank you for reading Ray. It is very very true.

  • Dave

    Reply Reply June 26, 2015

    Gday dave
    That letter has moved me to tears as i have suffered from depression for many years and yes i have lost
    count on how many times i have thought of ending the suffering but the only thing that has stopped me is my 2 beautiful kids,thoought of leaving them behind is just to much,i have also have had close dealings with suicide and what the after marth is like.
    Every male should not be affaid to let their emotions get in the road of their pride.
    CHEERS DAVE

    • Dave Nixon

      Reply Reply June 26, 2015

      Thank You for sharing Dave. I am so glad to hear that you have found yourself on the stronger side of this issue and we can still have this conversation.

      Stay strong, brother. You have me as part of your support crew.

  • Karl

    Reply Reply June 26, 2015

    Thanks for those words Dave. I also have been followed by that black dog and your points are very valid and also powerful. A support network is so important for us blokes we all should not underestimate our good mates. I am still on my journey and hope other blokes take a serious look at themselves because you don’t want to go where I and others have been. Nice one Dave.

    • Dave Nixon

      Reply Reply June 26, 2015

      Too true Karl. We all need that support network.

  • Helen Plater

    Reply Reply June 26, 2015

    Thank you Dave, that was so moving to read all that,had a few tears, so I am going to save it,now I know what the boys go through.

    • Dave Nixon

      Reply Reply June 26, 2015

      Thank you for reading and understanding Helen. I am sure it is a human thing and not just a boy thing. We are just a little more stubborn :)

  • Chris Morrisey

    Reply Reply June 26, 2015

    50 ways to live your life, these should be in every school boys armoury so they can be prepared as they encounter life, a checklist for emotional fitness, at nearly 50 it made me want to respond as it’s easy to forget that the simplest things we often forget give us the most pleasure… ABC Awake…Breath … Celebrate … Great work Dave

    • Dave Nixon

      Reply Reply June 26, 2015

      I wrote this thinking that if this helps just one person than I will be over the moon. So to have someone from the UK comment is almost overwhleming. Thank you for reading from across the ocean.

  • Ant Bryson

    Reply Reply June 26, 2015

    G’day from Australia, Dave.

    Great words. Thanks for sharing…

    Have so many mates that suffer depression.

    I work in Underground Mining & there are several men that take their own lives each year while living away from home in remote camps.
    So much so that the Western Australian Govt is currently conducting an intensive study to work out what the causes are.

    Having the guts to put your hand up & ask for help is the first step.

    Thanks once again & chin up bro!

    Ant

    • Dave Nixon

      Reply Reply June 26, 2015

      Hey Ant,

      That is devastating to hear. I myself am from Australia but on the other side of the island. If this can help anyone in that situation than my job is done.

      Stay strong brother!

      Dave

  • Robyn Spowart

    Reply Reply June 27, 2015

    Thank you for your honesty in writing this. I see far to many people, (male and femaale) that are struggling with things and think that it makes them weak to ask for help. It is sad that society seems to enforce that somedays with all diferent forms of social media these days that seem to encourage people to live in a fictional world. Sure it can be a good tool but we should remember to still take the time and connect in real life with people. It shouldn’t matter whether we are male or female – if you see someone struggling ask them if they are ok. Even if they say they are make the time to just sit with them and be there when they are ready to talk. May God strengthen you and bless you. Continue to reach out to anyone you can. God Bless.

    • Dave Nixon

      Reply Reply June 28, 2015

      Thank you for contributing Robyn. All we can do is to continue to reach out and support. So thank you, again.

  • Ryan

    Reply Reply July 4, 2015

    Thanks Dave. Very moving and very real!

  • Karen

    Reply Reply July 28, 2015

    Well said. I have forwarded to both my teenage sons and my daughter. Thank you.

  • Ian

    Reply Reply July 29, 2015

    I’ve noticed male suicide has sky rocketed since we’ve been hammered by an avelanch of pressure to talk about stuff. Sorry to be the only male commenting on a long list written for the female audience but I believe men need to fight back agaiblnst this harrassment that’s killing some if us with the pressure to be someone else. :-)

    • Dave Nixon

      Reply Reply August 4, 2015

      Hey Ian,

      It’s a free world to comment what ever your opinion is. But do understand that’s all it is. An opinion. I or no body else is forcing you to be anyone but yourself. So if you want to comment on how the list I wrote for “females” is harassment and forcing more suicides to occur just understand the backlash it has. You deal with your shit your way and leave your negative comments away from people who need to hear that it’s OK to talk.

  • Hugh

    Reply Reply August 6, 2015

    I’m a Vietnam Veteran and I had a lot of problems with depression and ptsd and I find your list interesting in that it covers most of the things that I have found out for myself over the last 40+yrs. I don’t know you or anything about you but I wish you well in your endeavors and I’m sure you will do well with you attitude to life. Thank you for your post.

    • Dave Nixon

      Reply Reply September 14, 2015

      Hey Hugh,
      Sorry for the late reply. Thank you for both your services and your comments. Stay strong mate!
      D

  • moff

    Reply Reply August 21, 2015

    Nice one cobber, made me smile.

    • Dave Nixon

      Reply Reply August 27, 2015

      Glad it did, Mate!

  • I met Dave this morning, read his blog 15 mins later, catching up with him Friday night to introduce him to some boys I know he will inspire as he has me today. Excellent work Dave!

  • Chelsey

    Reply Reply October 10, 2015

    What a wonderful letter you have written – very wise words ! Thank you !!

    • Dave Nixon

      Reply Reply October 12, 2015

      Thank you for making the time to read, Chelsey.

  • Sam Webb

    Reply Reply February 5, 2016

    This is spot on mate. Keep up the wonderful work.

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