As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I haven’t written anything in a while. When I started this blog, I was ecstatic to start writing again, to bring you my inner most thoughts and feelings, to let you know that you aren’t alone. I was naive to think that, perhaps, I would be able to pull myself out of the funk that I had been feeling for quite some time. To be completely honest, that was a short-lived feeling and evaporated as quickly as a fleeting happy thought. This post is to describe and express to you where I am and what I have been dealing with as of late.
There. I said it. Two words that are very hard for me to utter. When you meet me or talk with me for any length of time, you’ll probably never guess what’s going on below the surface. I love to laugh and smile and include others in conversation when we’re face to face. However, behind the laughter and bright smiles, there’s a never ending darkness that permeates through my very being. My day to day routine allows me to hide and push down my feelings, no matter how negative and severe they may be. The trouble is, the darkness is starting to escape through the cracks of my well polished mask.
I used to be extremely extroverted and active. I was physically fit, thanks to several years of CrossFit. I would work out 6-7 days a week, sometimes twice a day. I was extremely passionate about life and it showed in the close relationships I had. I was in a great place mentally and really felt like I was moving forward for the first time in my life. Then, the rug was swept out from under me and I haven’t been the same ever since.
I’ve mentioned this in a previous post but a couple years ago, I had to make the tough decision to leave a church. This was much more than a church. It was my family. Some of my closest and dearest friends were all there. But I came to a point, that I now call a crisis of truth, where I had to decide if I was going to continue living a lie and abiding by the same ‘rules’ and beliefs as the rest of my friends and family OR to turn my back on them to live the life I knew I needed to. It was a gut wrenching decision. For someone like me, that has suffered so much loss and rejection in life, I did not want to lose those relationships that I had spent so long building. But the truth was, I could no longer abide by the same rules and beliefs. I did not agree with them and I had seen so many others suffer because of those beliefs. After weeks of silent pain, I chose to leave.
The shunning began immediately. I lost all my friends and family. I was no longer allowed to have a relationship with them due to my ‘lifestyle choices’ not aligning with their beliefs and standards. I became severely depressed and suicidal. I would lock myself in my room for hours and cry. My only escape was the CrossFit gym. I would go workout and many of them could tell something was wrong. After confiding in some of them, they showed amazing support. The CrossFit gym community had become my new family. I became very close with many of them. I ended up quitting my corporate job and became a certified CrossFit instructor.
While I had found a new community and group of friends, things just weren’t the same after my experience with the church. The wind was knocked out of my sails. My motivation dropped and it became much more difficult for me to stay motivated to do much of anything. I started smoking again, after quitting for several years, to help appease some of the pain that I was feeling. I had a short string of unhealthy dating relationships that always ended in disaster. I was just coasting through life while the darkness inside me just continued to brew.
At the beginning of last year, I got into a car accident. I completely totaled my car one night and finally made the decision that something had to change. I called my friends in Florida, who had been trying to persuade me to move there for years, and told them the time had come! I was finally moving to the Sunshine State. I bought a plane ticket, packed my stuff and moved down. I was ecstatic to finally be living in Florida and even more excited to leave so much of the past behind.
When I first got down Florida, I was extremely motivated to make some change. I was going to get back into CrossFit, make some friends, and really change the way life had been in the months prior. As reality and the hum-drum of daily routine set in, I had lost all real motivation and soon found myself in a rut. The ‘honeymoon’ feeling had worn off quickly and I am now left with everything I thought I had left behind in Missouri, which brings me to today.
I’m broken. I’m sad. I’m tired. I’m angry. I’m in pain. I have been doing everything I can to make it appear that I’m okay and it is no longer working. Those closest to me can see I’m no longer the motivated and active man I used to be. The thought of going outside of my house gives me anxiety to the point that, most times, I will choose not to go anywhere. The idea of meeting new people isn’t exciting anymore. There are times that I cry at night because I feel so helpless and don’t know what to do. I have friends that I have hurt because I have no desire to reach out to them and they feel that I have turned my back on them. I am but a shadow of the man I used to be and I wonder if I’ll ever see him return. There are mornings where I wake up and wonder if this will be the day that I finally break, lose it, or snap. Sometimes the weight that I carry on my shoulders is so heavy that I can feel it pressing down on my shoulders and chest, not just figuratively but physically weighing down my body.
I can’t accept this any longer. I want to heal. I want to allow myself to feel good again. I want peace. I want to laugh and smile, knowing that it’s a true reflection of what’s going on inside me. I don’t want my pain to prevent me from feeling close to my friends and family anymore. I want to take control of my life again. I know that it starts with my choices. I’m the only one that can decide to make things better again. I also realize that I can’t do this alone.
I am taking a vow right now to be different, to take steps to get help, to be honest about how I’m feeling. I will no longer be afraid to ask for help. I know there are so many of you that are ready and willing to help in any way, if only I were to ask. I also ask for your patience, love, forgiveness, and grace in the coming months. I am in the process of finally finding a therapist in the area so that will be my first major step towards finally dealing with the darkness. For those closest to me, please hold me accountable. I need accountability and tough love more than anything!
During the coming months, I will continue to share my journey with you, even the gritty parts. I consider each of a light along my path and there are times where your light is what will get me through the darkest times. So many of you have been that for me already and I’m so very grateful for you!
Thank you so much for allowing me to be honest and open with you. I hope that, even though I’m still struggling, you can find hope and encouragement knowing you’re not alone, no matter what you’re going through.
Until next time, love those around you because, after all, we’re all Lost Ones…