Sometimes, all it takes is a simple word…or smell…or moment in time to trigger an anxiety attack that can last for months at a time. For me, it was a series of sentences that sent my (at the time) undiagnosed anxiety spiraling out of control.
I’ve had flare-ups and moments of anxiety in the past, and in some respects this time was similar to what I’ve always felt before. There was the similar cascade of negative thoughts, constant attacks on my own body, unstoppable self loathing, and a sense that there was nothing I had done right or would ever do right.
This anxiety attack was different because an unacceptable level of bitter anger that accompanied it. Unfortunately that bitter anger found it’s outlet in the only person I’ve ever completely opened up to about my mental health, my loving girlfriend. Kathryn found herself in a tough situation…she’s been incredibly loving, patient and supportive throughout this and I can’t thank her more than enough.
I love you so much Kathryn, you’ve been an absolute rock star.
It was this anger, plus a couple of minor dumb decisions, that made me realize I couldn’t handle this on my own and that it was too much for Kathryn to cope with. So I went and got help. I’ve started seeing a therapist right before I flew out to Dublin with my parents and brother. This was the smartest thing I could have done, it’s been a helpful and Heidi has helped me figure a lot out.
Anxiety hides behind the most goofy moments
During this prolonged period of anxiety, it’s been tough for me to get my head into writing about sports or even really paying attention to them — the good news is, I’ve missed the majority of the Mariners’ playoff collapse.
For Kathryn, none of what I said above is all that surprising as she’s been there through all of it and seen me at my absolute worst. But for everyone else who’s reading this and knows me…this is going to becoming out of left field.
And that’s because I’ve never really opened up to anyone about my mental health before. Not even my parents.
This article is going to be the first time my mother or father has seen/heard about this. I’ve spent the majority of my 25 years on this planet either misleading them or straight up lying to them about my mental health. Over a week ago, I was at their house to help them put away some camping gear I borrowed when my dad and mother asked if I was seeking counseling; my dad had found my welcome letter introducing me to my therapist — which I’d apparently left at their house while they were out of the country — and he was asking because he was worried about me. Instead of admitting the truth to them, that I was getting help for anxiety, I lied without even thinking about it.
For that, I am truly sorry. I’ll have you guys over for dinner within the next week and we’ll have a long conversation about this and everything I’ve discussed with my therapist. It’s time for me to be completely honest with you mom and dad…this article is my start.
As for my friends that I’ve been hiding this from…I apologize. I suck at being open about what’s going on in my head, but I’m working on it.
To my co-authors at Sports with Neil, you guys rock and I can’t thank The BS Show (Brett and Shane) for the work they’ve done in producing consistent and kick ass content while I’ve gone completely dark. After I edit and publish this post, I’ll get you guys an update on the ad revenue; I promise.
Last, but not least, for anyone suffering from any mental health issues — no matter what it is — I completely understand how hard it is to open up; especially since it’s taken nearly 25 years to open up to my parents about what’s going on in my head. If you need to vent to someone, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have access to that email 24/7 and will be there for you; I know seeking professional help isn’t financially feasible…but I’m still here if you want to vent.
Proud alum of Washington State University, crazy sports nut, and drinker of beer.