Dear men: It’s OK to not be OK

By: Russell Maidlow, Allied Barber Supply owner.

Being a man with feelings.


It’s a foreign concept to most of us. Men having feelings.

Well, letting it be known that we have them anyway.

It’s not what we’re taught to do, it’s not the mold that we’re supposed to fits in to. Letting your feelings be known is what a lesser man would do. 

The problem is – holding them in just causes a whole new slew of problems. Depending on your level of trauma, internalizing everything is just a slow death.

That more often than not leads to a swift one.

Men die by suicide 3-1 over our female counterparts. 300% more often. The current rate of suicide leaves us with a man – somewhere on this planet – dying by suicide every 50 seconds roughly. 

Current studies show that the pandemic has left us with endless heartbreak, and has pushed that timeline to about every 33 seconds. 

Our already astronomical propensity for letting our feelings kill us has doubled. Keep in mind that the number one killer of men in the whole wide world is cancer. Suicide is second. 

We would literally let our feelings kill us before talking about them. That’s messed up.

I’m not saying this because I don’t know. I attempted to take my own life in 2009. The one takeaway that I really had from it was that people assume you’re relieved. Glad to still be alive.

At that time – No, I wasn’t. When you’ve gotten to the point that ending yourown life seems like the only possible outcome, not dying is not the intended end result. 

Sadly – I didn’t get to the point that I considered seeing a therapist until 2018. 9 years later. 

It took my little brother taking his own life to make me even consider it. Dealing with the loss of my own sibling, and seeing the hurt that it caused his family. It still took me several years to seek help after he took his own life. Because I wasn’t supposed to let it get to me.

We’re told to bottle that stuff up. Cry when nobody is around.

I woke up every day trying to lay out a plan in my head so that my wife and kids would never have to find me.

It was important for me to talk to someone about what I was going through. To actually work through the grief, and use it to build my life on. The loss sucked. 

Telling guys about it and seeing it help them was important. It helped some see that they need to talk about whatever they’ve got going on. No matter how trivial, it’s CRUCIAL. 

We trivialize everything. Some things aren’t trivial. Some things eat us up at our very core. With everything else we’re holding inside, it just eats us up that much faster.

I refuse to let my feelings kill me, you should too. Talk to someone.

 Cancer has it out for us as it is.

To learn more about how Russell is using his business to raise awareness about mental health, check out his website here:

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