Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Little League

Lately I've been spending a lot of time watching the Little League World Series.  It's a rather strange fascination of mine I guess, but I've always loved it.  It's not just the big world series event, I've just always loved youth sports.  Back when my PTSD and anxiety were so bad I could barely function, one of the few things I truly enjoyed was going out to the local little league field.  For some reason I just felt safe there.  It felt like, when I was watching kids play baseball (or whatever other sport happened to be in season), all was right with the world.  Everything was simple, manageable, and understandable.  Maybe it was the simplicity of the game, or the families there to cheer, or the kids just out to have fun.  Whatever it was, it worked.  (It's also helped me to work...over the years I've had jobs coaching kids in many sports....soccer, baseball, tennis, hockey, skiing, etc. :)  So naturally, when youth sports takes over ESPN, it's something I want to watch.  It makes me feel good.

This time around it's gotten me to thinking...many of these kids' dads are out there on the field with them as coaches.  Those parents that aren't coaches are there in the stands watching, even though it's meant traveling across the country or around the world to do so.  The parents talk about the sacrifices they've made....the long hours and many miles getting their kids to practices, games, and tournaments....making sure the kids have the gear they need....paying team dues as well as paying for extra coaching and training....working fundraisers for the team...showing up to cheer at every game, etc.  It got me wondering....is having involved parents a pre-requisite for success in sports?  Obviously no parent is going to be interviewed on tv and say "meh...I don't do much.  I show up now and then," and if there is a parent that's not there they're obviously not the one that's going to be interviewed.  But I've noticed that with almost every batter that comes up, the camera shows the parents and family members, happily adorned in the team's colors, holding big handmade signs.

This definitely isn't just a baseball thing, or just a little league thing either.  I had the same sort of thoughts during the olympics with the repeated "salute to mom" commercials of athletes thanking their moms for all the behind the scenes work they did.  (Though not their dads...which bothered me...but that's a topic for another post! lol).  In both cases, Olympics and little league, they also generally talk about the years and years of work starting from when the athlete was very young.  They talk about joining their first sports team when they were 4 or 5.  When I was that age I was learning the safest hiding places in my house, and how to read whether or not dad was drunk.  Sports were the furthest thing from my mind!

Of course there's a big range between "hiding from drunk dad" and expensive private coaching.  I know not all kids have what the kids on tv are talking about, even though it sometimes seems that way. Also, I did get to play sports sometimes as a kid.  I was a natural athlete, so I got to join school teams a few times.  I just know that had I ever gotten on a team good enough to travel to another state for a tournament, my mom likely would've pulled me off right then and there, not wanting to put in the money or the work to help me get there.  That's just the way my family was.

It's not that I think I would've been some kind of amazing professional athlete had my parents been different.  No matter who I had been raised by, I don't see myself as someone having that level of drive and commitment.  (Not to mention, the sport I loved was football, and no matter who my parents had been I doubt there was a team anywhere that would've taken me!).  But it's just one of those things that makes me wonder.  It makes me wonder who I would've been had my parents been different....had my childhood been different.

Wondering about those things for too long is not a safe place for me to go.  I have to be careful not to drift too far that way because the answers will never be known.  I am who I am.  I am me.  I only have this one life, and it's entirely possible that what I think would've been a better life for me growing up could've led to somewhere much worse.  After all, as much as times have sucked here and there, life is pretty good now.  I still struggle, but I wouldn't want to give it up.  Anymore I can't think of anyone I'd want to trade with, so there's no reason to think of trying to trade in my past.  (Wow...I don't think I've ever said that "out loud"....that there's no one I would want to trade with...but it's actually true.  There's really no one else I'd rather be today than me. :)

I guess what this all comes down to is it's just one more thing to grieve.  My life has a lot of grief in it right now.  So much that I'm still sometimes crying for no reason.  (Well, I guess there is a reason, but it seems to come out of nowhere).  Mostly I'm grieving for the big things...loss of innocence, loss of a happy childhood, loss of safety and security, loss of the ability to trust people and have genuine relationships, loss of a family I feel like I can fall back on...  It's getting better.  I'm learning to accept these losses.  But every now and then these little things jump up from out of nowhere and they get to me.  They're silly things.  I get that.  I know the world is not going to end because my mom almost never came to sports games I played...and if she did she was sitting in the back looking bored not up front cheering.  I know that's not earth-shattering.  But sometimes the little things hit the hardest.  And it's one more reminder of the cohesive family I wanted more than anything but didn't have.

I did a little reading online today...and came across a website of people (adults) talking about how badly they want a team of theirs....their kids...to go to the little league world series.  I realized then, if I ever have kids (which I do still plan to....I really could care less if they ever go to any kind of championship of anything...but I can't wait to be in the front row of whatever they decide to do.  That seriously is a dream of mine...to be the coach...or whatever they'll let me be...of some team my kid is on and get to share that with them.  It's just a family moment I really really want.  And no, it doesn't have to be sports, because if I say I want it to be sports that pretty much guarantees my kid will hate sports and be in to chess or something like that, right? lol  It's just a connection I wish I'd had...and one I'm excited to one day give to kids of my own.

It's also one more little thing that's a bit scary when I think about it.  I have yet to find a high-level athlete who didn't start playing their sport when they were very young (except for a few select sports that seem to cater a bit more towards "older" athletes).  So this is just one more example of where decisions made for kids when they're very young, or how even the youngest of kids are raised, can have a HUGE impact on where they end up as adults.  You'd think that when they're that young it doesn't matter too much, but once again you just never know when that moment is going to be that's going to shape the future.  As someone who has coached, I could've been a part of it for a kid and not even known.  I just hope my impact was a positive one. :)

Before I finish up with Little League related stuff I just gotta share one more thing.  A speech from the best coach ever.  Seriously.  After hearing this I want to find a way to nominate this guy for president!  Honestly he was so incredible that when the game ended and his team was eliminated, rather than showing the other team celebrating their win and getting to move on in the tournament...the cameras went straight to this guy to hear this talk.  I've never seen that before in any televised sports events but this speech was worth it.


Coach Belisle for president!  Or at the very least I need to hire him as my life coach! lol


I'm grateful that even in the midst of the worst chaos of my life I've been able to find something somewhere that brings me comfort....even if it seems weird to the outside world.  And frankly, the fact that it's always been as simple as eating a burger at a little league field, even when I can barely eat or think or function otherwise...is a pretty sweet deal for me!  Yay for simple things to bring comfort!  If it's simple, it's always available in one way or another.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


I guess it's time for me to blog again.  Losing my last post really took it out of me.  Usually I'm better about saving things as I write.  I guess that one just wasn't meant to be seen.  Anyway...back to today.

I think I have some survivor's guilt when it comes to suicide.  I've been hospitalized twice because I was suicidal, and there are multiple times in my life that I should've died, either from attempted suicide or from indifference.  Many nights I didn't exactly want to die, but I really didn't care if I lived to see the next morning, and I acted accordingly.  It scares me because I don't know why I lived.  It definitely wasn't because of something I did.  Some say it was because my higher power was there.  I think that's probably true, but at the same time what does that say about people who do successfully carry out suicide?  Does god not care for them as much?  No, I can't believe that.  I know I didn't do anything back then that made me "deserve" to be alive.  Not that people should necessarily earn their right to live or anything, but I brought a lot of pain to the world back in my suicidal days, and I hadn't done much of anything to help anyone.  My net impact wasn't positive!

So then you have someone like Robin Williams.  Well loved by so, so many.  It seems like the whole world is in mourning today.  From what I've read and seen he was well loved off screen too.  He admits he did a lot he's not proud of during his active addiction, but it seems like he was a genuinely good guy.  So the response I have inside is hard to put words to.  When I was suicidal, I was some dumb kid living on the streets (or close to it).  Had I been successful, very few people would've noticed me gone, and their thoughts of me would not have lasted long.  So, if there were some sort of world quota for suicide, it would make sense to get rid of me, rather than him.  That said, I was a kid with nothing.  From outside appearances, he had everything.  Money, fame, family, friends, etc.

I know firsthand that it isn't that outside stuff that leads a person to suicide.  It's way bigger than that.  You have to feel so completely empty inside that you can't imagine continuing on.  It is a depth of pain that is truly inexplicable and goes way beyond just whether or not things are going well in your life at the moment.  This last time that I was hospitalized, I knew people cared, and honestly I was angry at them for caring.  In my mind, they were keeping me from reaching that final peace.  I thought often, "Why couldn't I have just died when I was truly unknown?"  There were times when literally no one would've noticed me missing for a long time, if at all.  Also, no matter how much people cared about me, I still genuinely believed they'd be better off without me.  I can't really explain it because it isn't logical.  But I knew I hurt so badly that I couldn't possibly be a benefit to anyone else.  "They'll see, once I'm gone it will be better."  I was so, so blinded by pain.  I wanted the people around me to see that all I could possibly bring to the world was pain.

I tried to get help but was constantly blocked from it...first by pride, then by money and resources.  It amazes me to hear of a celebrity suicide because they literally have access to any resource they could possibly want.  All the therapy, all the inpatient rehab, all the whatever.  It's at their fingertips.  Of course they also have the constant judgment that follows.  It makes national news if they go to any one of those places.  I can't imagine if my life had been so on display when I was in such a dark place.  In the case of Robin Williams, it kills me to know that he was seen by so many, and yet no one could reach out in the way that he needed to bring him out of where he was trapped.  I don't blame anyone around him, nor do I blame him.  Depression is terrifyingly sneaky and stealth.  I just wish, as I know everyone does, that it could've been different.  I wish he could've felt the love that the world has for him.  I guess this all goes to show that even the biggest names are far from immune.  Sometimes I think it's worse for them.  The better you look on the outside, the more you're judged for how you feel inside.  If things are going well in your life, you're expected to be happy.  You're a comedian, you're expected not to be sad.  I imagine it was that much harder for him than it was for me to admit he needed help, even though he had the resources available.

Last thing...he checked himself into rehab just a couple of months ago...not because he was drinking or using again, but because of mental illness.  So even with inpatient treatment, he couldn't defeat whatever it was that was going on in his head.  Obviously no one but him can know for sure...but from what I can see, he did everything right and depression still won!  That's so scary to me!  People want to blame those that kill themselves or attempt to....talking about how selfish they are.  But in my own experience, and with every suicidal or formerly suicidal person i've spoken to, they've lost touch with the ability to feel connected to others.  They can't grasp how their death will impact anyone.  But it's not that they're not thinking of others.  These people who want to blame the depressed person love to say, "Well they should've done ______."  But sometimes I don't think anyone knows the answer to what they should actually do.  He sought intensive inpatient help, so clearly he talked to people and I can only assume (hope) got medication.  He didn't go back to his addictions (as far as I know).  He tried to handle it the right way, and it still got the best of him.

Of course it's sad when the celebrities (or anyone) that have a long history of drug use eventually overdose, but at the same time it's almost expected.  I know how hard it is to get sober....but ultimately it is a choice whether to take action.  And addicts know that choosing to continue to use will eventually lead to death.  But when someone gets sober and stays sober, seeks help for their mental illness, and still can't get through it....that's both terrifying and tragic.  Is there really nothing that can protect one from severe depression?

Had I died when I'd wanted to, obviously I know the reaction wouldn't have been as big as this one is....but I'm feeling so strongly about Robin Williams and I've never actually met him.  I can't imagine what I would've put those who cared about me through.  Even though obviously I didn't succeed, it still pains me to think how close I came to hurting so many.  I wish there was some way that I could take it back, even though many that are close to me have no idea how close I came.  I also think of the people I know now.  Even though I struggle to believe that people actually like me, today I know I have a place in the world and a meaningful impact.  Had I died back then, that impact wouldn't have happened.  It just feels like there's this balance in the world, and something like suicide throws it off so badly.  Maybe it really was just his time to go.  I don't know if it will ever make sense.  But I am so overwhelmed with grief, sadness, and guilt right now that it's hard to even function.  I want it to make sense, and I don't think it ever will.


I really am grateful to be alive, even though lately I at times have been struggling to show it.  I really am trying to live today in a way that shows that gratitude.

Saturday, August 2, 2014


I just wrote out a super emotional post that took a lot out of me to write, and then the stupid website ate it. :(  So frustrating.

Friday, August 1, 2014

It's going to be ok

I'm still struggling a lot.  I can't even really explain why, which is half the frustration.  I'm just grieving, hurt, emotional, overwhelmed, etc.  I'm panicking and really struggling to deal with even the basics.  I've been trying to write about it, but every time I get lost in the words.

A few minutes ago I was sitting online with a close friend of mine.  She's going through some really rough stuff as well.  Way beyond anything I'm facing really.  I feel bad that I can't do much to support her in my "current state" (though we live many states away so not sure I could offer much in this situation anyway).

So tonight we sat there together...both overwhelmed and afraid...both without many words to offer the other...so we just sat.  As we were about to say goodnight this incredible feeling came over me.  It was like nothing I've ever felt before.  All day today I've been overwhelmed looking at the struggle I have ahead of me, and hers is even bigger...but I got this overwhelming feeling of "It's going to be ok" that was so strong it brought me to tears.  Totally out of the blue, while sitting in a dark room in the wee hours of the morning...this moment of power.  It's gone again, but I'm trying to hold on to what's left of it to keep me going.  Deep down I know it will be ok, but it also feels like right now there's a lot of evidence against that.

I'm back to being afraid to sleep again....waaaaay more so than I was before.  I've had WAY more nightmares since going on the meds that were supposed to help keep nightmares away.  :(  And now I'm remembering them more clearly too.  This is especially tough because i've been especially working to convince the scared parts of me that going to sleep is safe.  So now I'm sitting here awake and doing everything I can to keep telling myself it's going to be ok.  Whatever that feeling was, it helped.


I'm grateful for my sponsor.  She took me out to breakfast today and it was just a nice break from all the crazy.  Everything just seems a little calmer when she's around....and I know I sometimes exhaust her with my chaos but she still stays with me!