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Better than I let myself believe

Guest Author: Charlie

This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.

I know there is no ending to this particular story, as one truly never “gets better” from depression. For the longest time however, I thought I could in fact simply get better. I thought it was possible to fix yourself. It turns out I was wrong, and as I’ve learned that is quite okay.

For me and countless others, the past 10–12 months have been nothing short of a nightmare, except this nightmare is not one that you can wake yourself up from. This is one of those recurring dreams that feel like an eternity, with no end in sight. The nastiness of anxiety and depression can wrap its hands around the strongest of men and women, and drag them down the darkest of paths. Oh yeah, there is a global pandemic to add to it all.

Oh yeah, there is a global pandemic to add to it all.

In high school, I never was the best athlete on whatever team it was that I was on. I always viewed myself as a dumb kid in the smart class. It was as if everything I was doing was trying to live up to the expectations set forth by an older sibling, but no matter what you did, you could never quite be them.

I grew up playing baseball, and for me, that was my escape. When I was on the mound, it was as if everything went away. The negative thoughts, the frustration and even the sadness seemed to disappear. I was fully in control and that felt absolutely amazing. I was getting offers from colleges, I was heading to showcases, and I was on my way to live out one of my earliest dreams as an athlete; to play in college.

And then I threw out my arm. Seemingly the one thing I truly loved seemed to disappear.

I was made to feel like a let down by my High School coach, who at the time I felt I needed to prove something to. I was told, “I was such a waste of talent.”

I was crushed.

Once again, I viewed myself as a failure. And this was a sentiment I held for quite some time, throughout college, again comparing myself to others and putting myself down. It was a self-hatred of sorts that I created subconsciously, never fully letting myself enjoy the little things. I was seemingly a prisoner to my own thoughts, executing my own confidence behind every closed door.

Fast forward to around two years ago I was told by an industry professional “I was a jack of all trades and a master of none.” And just like that, these feelings of insecurity hit me again, right in the face. I went down a path of self-hate, doubt, and sadness I hadn’t felt in so long. And for the longest time, I have let all these thoughts run rampant in my mind, securing immeasurable real estate that has in turn shaped me to be who I am today.

I found that putting on a happy demeanor in public would mask the true feelings of sadness. Making people laugh or working as hard as I could might distract me from the sleepless nights, the nagging feeling of dread, and the constant anxiety I had but had really nothing to attribute it to.

I write this not as someone who wants anyone to feel bad for me, or to wallow in sadness. I don’t need the attention, and quite frankly could easily shy away from it and pretend it doesn’t exist. Not talking about these sorts of things is the reason why this has gone on for so long for me — and probably for some of the people who may read this in its entirety.

It’s OKAY to have bad days.

I do, however, write this as a person that has come to terms with what I used to view as a life sentence, realizing now it’s far from that. I used to tell myself I could battle my problems alone and didn’t need anyone else, but now know it is OKAY to turn to someone for help. It’s OKAY to be sad, and it’s OKAY to have bad days.

I have learned that it is OKAY to fall short of your dreams and that over time, dreams change, just like anything else. From injury, so many other doors opened that I didn’t appreciate for the longest time. I received an education. I met some incredible people, friends, and mentors that are there for me every step of this long journey. I found a passion for lacrosse, and have met a family of people across North America that I never would have known without this sport. The medicine of the sport is something I never knew I needed until I needed it most.

Wallowing in the “you can’t(s)” and not appreciating the “you did it(s)” caused me a lot of pain and sadness. I would let the nastiness of the world seep in and lead me down a path of darkness. I let negativity from social media and forums manifest itself as a form of a personal attack.

I let one or two bad days define the week, a week becoming a month. That little snowball would turn into something unrecognizable, and when it was all said and done, I would ask myself how I even got to that point.

This is something in my life I haven’t opened up to too many about, and have always tried to hide. But I am in so much better of a place now than I was two, five, or 10 years ago, and I owe it to so many people who have helped me on this journey.

There’s a team of people there to have your back.

And if you are still reading this, I want you to know that whatever it is that brings you down, causes you to spiral, or head down that never-ending tunnel, it is OKAY. Don’t think it isn’t important enough or is stupid. You are important to so many, and whether it seems true at the moment, you have so much to be thankful for. You are not in your corner alone when the bell rings. There’s a team of people there to have your back.

To everyone that has answered the late-night texts and calls, and sent messages of hope and support, I can’t begin to thank you enough. You showed me love that I was not showing myself for the longest time.

I will fall off this crazy little bike of life countless times to come, but I know I will do whatever I can to get back on it to whatever path it wants to take. And if in the process if I can help just one person along the way, then maybe it was all worth it.

This article was originally posted here.

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