I’ve been very, VERY public about my battle with mental illness, perhaps at my own peril. But I think the only way to know me and understand me is to be honest, up front and frank about my struggle.
A little over a year ago I lost my maternal grandfather and it rocked my world. I knew it would be tough, but as we drove home that weekend I felt something creep over me like I never had felt before. It was so bad I couldn’t even drive.
It progressively got worse. I was withdrawn from things I enjoyed. I became a person I didn’t even recognize. I said and did things I didn’t even mean. I became a horrible friend and an even worse husband. I was combative all while being an emotional wreck. I felt nothing, mostly, but when I did have feelings they were bitter. Angry. Resentful.
And it wasn’t even that I think I was still grieving. I miss my grandpa dearly but I know things are better for him than they were before. I had just become a shell of my former self and had no answers. When my wife would leave for work every day, I’d sit on the couch and literally do nothing.
I saw a therapist and eventually decided to take medication, first for depression and then for anxiety. I became a person I liked even less. I lost even more of my personality, more of my desire for life — not for living, but for the things that make life great — and really bottomed out. There were peaks for sure, especially when my dosages would be tweaked, but ultimately I was still in an incredible rut.
I decided to quit cold turkey. Being off the meds couldn’t possibly be worse.
And medically, this is insane. There’s a reason you’re not supposed to do this. But after being in a weird haze for about a week, I’ve really started to feel better. I’m now going almost a full day without having the weird headaches that characterized my condition for the last year.
I’m rallying like Hulk Hogan when Roddy Piper has him in the sleeper, and I’m about ready to give life the leg drop again.
So I just felt like I needed to explain myself. I’ve hated who I was for about a year now. I’m still not perfect, and I’m trying hard to find my place in the world. I’m sure I’ve turned a lot of people off by my behaviors in the last year — especially those who could be instrumental for my future — but honestly, right now I have all I’ll ever need. This message isn’t for me. It’s for you. If you’re out there struggling, you don’t need to do it alone. Giving in isn’t the same as giving up. You can do this.
I struggle with my identity on a daily basis. Some days I want to be the gregarious joking guy on Twitter that people gravitate toward. Other days I want to be the serious journalist that is respected above all. I still can’t strike a balance as a communicator, journalist or even an adult. But I’m trying. I’ll make mistakes. I’ll pick myself up again. And I’ll keep trying.
Be well fellow humans.