“Champions are willing to do anything necessary to be a champion. You’re a champion; do what it’s going to take to make you better.”
I’ve been called a lot of things in my life…I mean, A LOT…but I can’t recall a time I’ve ever been called a champion. Ok, maybe once or twice, but it was definitely laced in heavy sarcasm. You know, like when you screw up and some jerk calls out in a mocking tone, “Way to go champ,” followed by snickers and laughter. But that changed this week.
If you’ve been following me on Instagram or Facebook lately(and if not, fix that now!), you’ve probably seen I’m going through a bit of a rough patch again. Then again; when aren’t I going through a rough patch?
We’ve become quite the pair over the years; you and I. It almost feels like I’ve spent more time with you than anyone else in my life. I’ve visited you again and again. Even when I didn’t want to, I did it; kicking and screaming a lot of that time.
I have to be honest – I don’t like you. No…that’s probably a bit too harsh, but I’m sure that’s the vibe I give off. I feel, saying I don’t enjoy our visits, is probably more appropriate. Because why should I?
The words slammed into me like a baseball bat. Shocked and shaken to my core, I quietly sat; not daring to say another word. I could feel the words still floating around the room – watching me, waiting for me to say something else so it could remind me again. A voice, deep inside spurred me – poking me, “Come on man! Fight back! Do it for love…do it for you!!” But I remained silent.
I’ve always found it odd how there are times I can’t recall what I did in a single day, yet, I can remember back to a single moment in my past; a moment like this, and recall it in such vivid detail. Maybe it’s because of the impact it had on me, or that I still carry around the invisible scar these words left behind. Or, maybe I’m making too much of it, and it’s just how our brains work. But I will always remember this day – this conversation, for the rest of my life.
I needed you, and you weren’t there for me. I need you…YOU!! I felt all alone. I felt abandoned; when I needed you most.
Have you ever felt this kind of alone before? Alone because, no matter if it’s true or not, you feel those closest to you have abandoned you; left you in your darkest hour. Left you reaching out into the darkness of depression and anxiety; only to find no comfort, no matter how hard you reach. No one to hold you; no one to comfort you. No one to reassure you and tell you things will be ok; that the claims depression make against you are lies. No one to tell you, you are loved…or that you’re even worthy of that love?
I know this feeling all too well…and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Have you ever…been the person that abandoned someone in need? Refusing to set yourself aside; if for nothing else than because you’re their person? Or the fact that YOU are the one person in this world that can actually make a difference; that can actually help in this situation, but instead, you’re too focused on you.
I know how that feels too…and I will have to live with that; hearing the words that started this post, in my head, for the rest of my life. Six years ago, shortly after my son was born, my wife started showing signs of postpartum depression. I recognized them right away, as depression and I go way back.
I sit in the dark of your room and watch you sleep; it’s late. I settle into the recliner in the far corner of the room. The corner softly illuminated by your nightlight; like many other items in your room, a new addition due to a recent meltdown that no one saw coming. A meltdown that exhausted your mother and I. A meltdown that scared us again; scared us into wondering…always wondering.
I watch you sleep. Thinking about the meltdown from this very evening…no, yesterday evening. I’ve been sitting here for a while; we’ve crossed over to the next day. It’s late. I watch the rise and fall of your chest as you slumber; I wonder what you’re dreaming about. Your breathing is rhythmic, slow, steady, but also very similar to the heavy sobs and gasps for breath from earlier…during the meltdown.
I watch you sleep…and I start to cry. I cry because I hate myself for what I’m thinking; what I’ve thought many times since you were born. I hate myself because tonight was the first time I realized you felt my thoughts too. I hate myself because I think, you’re not the child I hoped for…you’re not the child I wanted…
I asked this question over and over as we lie in bed last night flipping the pages of our wedding album. We were up far too late; our “bed time” a distant memory at that point.
We spent the evening cleaning and organizing, not just because it needed to be done, but because the cleaning company was coming the next day, to do the very thing we were doing that evening, and we just couldn’t let them see our house in this condition. We can’t have the cleaning company thinking we were dirty AND lazy. Cleaning up for a cleaning crew – our lives, our marriage, our parenting, is nothing if not ironic.
Could you imagine telling your father, or me, telling my father, “I’m struggling. I have postpartum depression.” They would be like, “Suck it up buttercup!” ~ Kirk and Callahan Show (5/22/17, WEEI Boston)
These were just some of the ridiculously moronic words spewed on the May 22, 2017 Kirk and Callahan morning show on WEEI (Boston). I could probably write an entire novel on the absurd, not to mention machismo fueled ignorant behavior the Kirk and Callahan show has been known for over the years. Instead, I’ll sum it up with a quote from ESPN host Paul Finebaum when he said that Kirk and Callahan, “were toxic pieces of waste, who have never accomplished anything in their life.”
Where was I? Ahhh, yes…
Today is the last day of May 2017. The last day of Mental Health Awareness Month. So, I feel it’s only fitting that we talk about the last thing it feels like anyone wants to talk about when it comes to mental health – men. Read more →
Through heavy sobs, the words came spilling out of his mouth. Eyes, red and bloodshot from crying so intensely; even causing him to do that heavy, shortened breath stutter, making his head shake with every gasp for his next breath.
I knew this day would come…and admittedly, selfishly, avoiding this day is one of the reasons I once said I never wanted to have kids.
The day he finally put it all together; solving the Rubik’s cube of emotions he lives with; the reason he had always felt different from other kids; from other boys. The day he realized why, when it seemed like all the other kids were jumping into adolescence with both feet, without regard, all the while he only knew hesitation; questioning every choice to death. The day he realized that when he found his “thing” that made him feel truly alive for the first time, only to have his first reaction to put it away; hide it from others, convinced people would laugh at him if he told them about it. The day he realized that voice in his head – the one telling him he wasn’t good enough to make it, or not smart enough to try, or that person isn’t going to like him back, so don’t bother asking them out; he would realize where that voice originated from, and how it got in his head. The day he realized, all those roads filled with fear and doubt, and the many still left to travel; they all lead back to me, his father, and the gift; the curse, I passed down to him at birth.
I don’t know if it’s because 40 is rapidly approaching, or if it’s because I’m watching my children grow up, but I have been thinking about the future lately. Specifically, I’ve been thinking a lot about how my family will fare if/when I’m not here someday. It’s funny, but life insurance never seems to come up when you’re “planning for the future.” When you’re in college, planning for the future means finding a job; maybe buying a home and starting a family. When you have that family and home, planning for the future means college for your kids, and retirement down the road. Life insurance never seems to come up in the conversation. Why? Read more →
It seems these days that internet fame is literally a heartbeat away. One shared status on Facebook, one massive tweet on Twitter, one amazing picture on Instagram, or the granddaddy of them all, viral video on YouTube. We’re all just a press of the button away from the whole world sharing our story, our joke, or our snapshot inside our life. And as a society, we’re starting to crave that attention. We want to be the next one to be seen, to be talked about, to be admired; so much so that as we get deeper and deeper into the age of the internet, people are looking for new and creative ways to get that fame…even parents.
I know right off the bat it sounds like I’m being judgmental. Maybe I am a little, but trust me when I tell you I also understand, because I crave that attention too, but there are some lines I just won’t cross in the search of attention Read more →