Beau Marksohn
Beau MarksohnImage by: Movember
Beau Marksohn
Beau Marksohn
24 November 2022

Beau Marksohn: Why I Mo

5 minutes read time

Beau Marksohn, 42 yrs old, living in London, tells Movember why he Mo’s

Why do I Mo? The answer to this question in its most basic form is to simply raise awareness for men’s mental health but the reasons underlying that and frankly how I would define ‘mental health’ are far more complex.

I grew up in a severely abusive household - all the imagery that may spring to mind when you think of ‘trauma’ I’ve experienced in one form or another. What came along with those experiences was this ever-present discomfort deep within myself that didn’t allow me to experience the world in ways I saw children and later adults around me experiencing it - I never felt comfortable in my own skin. I never felt safe and I had never experienced love in the way(s) I wanted to or needed to and therefore always felt I wasn’t capable of such things, or perhaps that the world didn’t deem me worthy of them.

So, from a very young age I didn’t want to be around - infer from that what you will. I ‘knew’ that there was no possible way for me to ever be fully okay and the idea of enduring the rest of my life in that degree of pain seemed impossible…so I turned to just about anything I could find to run away from my pain and to change the way I felt. My earliest memories of reaching for something to feel better were in the context of food and then it progressed from there as it tends to do. I spent decades from that point forward emotionally and physically smashing myself to pieces just to try to survive - this cycle left me being severely anorexic, morbidly obese, and everything in between, all whilst using other substances and behaviours to at times affirm my terrible thoughts about myself and to run away from them.

" The problem with trying to fix ourselves with external ‘things’ is that they only work for a period of time "

The problem with trying to fix ourselves with external ‘things’ is that they only work for a period of time. They only numb so much to the pain and they stop working eventually which lead me to believe there truly was no other option apart from ending it all.

The fact that I’m still here today, writing these words, is nothing short of a miracle.

A number of years ago, I had the opportunity to get treatment and to receive therapy – something I would highly recommend to anyone who is able and willing to do so. I think the term ‘mental health’ is often thrown around too lightly and not always in the correct context as it’s so multifaceted in terms of how it manifests in different individuals as well as the help that is needed differing from person to person.

I initiated a series of cycling rides to raise awareness for mental health in the context of body dysmorphia, eating disorders, and body inclusion. It’s called ‘The EveryBODY Ride’ which has since grown into what will be a series of talks. In the next few years, several more elements will be added to spread awareness around this area of mental health and to create a safe space for others to feel seen and heard. I now spend most of my time writing about my own struggles in a public forum and doing as much as I can to raise awareness in cycling and beyond.

I honestly feel that if you can help only one person, you’ve made a huge mark on this world.

I really do value the work that Movember do and for someone who suffers so acutely from body dysmorphia I often use masks to conceal myself as much as I can from the world - this includes wearing baggy clothes as often as I can to hide my body (ironic for a cyclist who spends a lot of my time in Lycra these days) and the fact that I always have a beard of some length. My commitment to grow a moustache this month is about stepping slightly outside of my comfort zone to illustrate the fact that my self-worth is not derived from how I look and the people in my life who love me and care about me also don’t judge me based on those archaic parameters - it’s to take back some of the power that I give to external things, as opposed to what is most important which is what’s inside all of us.

I had big plans to ride impossible distances this month in the name of Movember but I have to be honest about the fact that my depression was in a bad place. I also ended up getting severe flu which kept me mostly inside so I wasn’t able to push myself physically in the ways I would have liked to. It may not seem like that much to someone who doesn’t understand my ‘stuff’ (which is fine) but I still feel proud of what I have done this month in terms of being out in the world with a Mo, with far more of my face on display than I would ever normally feel comfortable doing. Sometimes we are only able to do small things to help a cause but that’s okay too.

I would encourage someone else to step a bit outside of their comfort zone this month or at some point in the name of Movember as I can guarantee you will feel proud of yourself for even attempting it.

You can follow Beau on @dadbod_cyclist

If you, or someone you know, is feeling low, don’t hesitate to reach out for support using these local support resources.

To speak with someone immediately, call The Samaritans on 116 123 or message the Shout text line on 85258.

If you’re ever worried that someone’s life is in immediate danger, call 999 or go directly to emergency services.