'Blue Light' spoken wordImage by: Movember
Daragh reading spoken word from his journal
14 November 2023

Daragh’s story: No longer carrying the burden alone

2 minutes read time

My name’s Daragh Fleming. I’m an Irish writer and poet living in Barcelona. Like many, Movember is important to me for personal reasons. When I was 17, my best friend took his own life. He was 18 at the time. We had no idea he was struggling.

From the outside looking in, his life seemed good. He seemed happy. But this wasn’t the case. One day he was here. Then he wasn’t.

Following this, I grieved for months. There were so many questions, so many feelings. My grief soon morphed into depression. I stopped feeling anything. I became numb to the world. Unable to connect with anything or anyone. This lasted for three years before I realised, I was depressed. It took a further year before things got so bad that I could no longer carry the burden alone.

" My goal has been to prevent suicide and to stop men in particular from taking their own lives. "

I went to therapy. I made an effort to improve my mental health. And things did improve. Four years after my friend died, I got better. This is when I started writing about many things, including mental health. I started a blog called ‘Thoughts Too Big’, which aimed to normalise talking about mental health. I found that writing poetry helped me to engage with my emotions, to feel them fully, more clearly and deeply.

Today, I still do this work. My goal has been to prevent suicide and to stop men in particular from taking their own lives. My friend dying this way is the worst and most difficult thing that has ever happened in my life. So, if I can do anything to prevent someone from taking their own life, then I’ll do it wholeheartedly. I also don’t want anyone to have to bereave suicide; to have to accept an event that is impossible to fathom.

This is why Movember is important to me. Because we have the same mission. My poem ‘Blue Lights’ was written specifically for Movember, to highlight some of the unspoken struggles that men face on a daily basis. Because I believe that if we talk about these uncomfortable things, we can encourage others to do the same by example. We can let other men know that we can express our emotions, our concerns, our struggles, rather than trying to carry the burden alone.

And this is all I ever ask people to do – talk. Be honest, be open. It’s not easy, but it is worthwhile. It does make a difference.