My 2014 – The Highs And Lows (part two)

JULY

Save FerrisIn an effort to “get away from it all”, Sunshine and I celebrated Ferris Beuller Day. Okay…it wasn’t the actual day, but rather a day we claimed for ourselves. We decided to have our very own “Ferris Bueller Day” where we simply forgot about work, forgot about any troubles going on in our lives, and just be on a mission to have fun together. As I look back, I can say it was honestly one of the most incredibly fun experiences I’ve ever had. It felt like we did EVERYTHING that day…and re-reading that helps give me hope that everything between us will be okay going forward. We can overcome anything as long as we do it together.

I continued to find myself stuck in a rut. The problems were many and my intentions were good, yet I found myself (yet again) fighting a battle against myself. Sunshine recognized this because my “rut” was rubbing off on her and she wanted to snap out of it, too. I fear I’ve been dragging her down for quite some time now.

AUGUST

Not this timeEven though I didn’t know I was clinically depressed at the time, I felt as though I was fighting the good fight in a positive way. You can only fight so much without help, though. Because I didn’t know what was wrong with me, I didn’t know how to combat against it. Again, I had the best of intentions but if I really was doing well, I wouldn’t be writing about it in an attempt to convince myself that I was doing okay.

The realization finally hit me…we weren’t going to be able to afford a family vacation to Florida. Hell…we were nervous about Christmas gifts at this point. I suppose hitting this wall was a good thing because it helped us find our way financially to the point that we’re on a 2-year plan that should (hopefully) end up with us in Florida. Fingers crossed, anyway…

SEPTEMBER

What would you attempt to do if you knew you couldn't failI was training for a 10K that I never actually accomplished. I mean, don’t get me wrong…I ran 10K not once but twice…but it was on my own time and my own terms. I didn’t end up doing an actual 10K event. But still, at this point I was really in a groove and feeling great about where my body was heading. Who would’ve thunk it? I’m actually running consistently!!

My dad gave everybody a scare when we found out he needed to have a stint put into one of his valves. He had a blocked artery that was 90% blocked. It was a very scary time, but everything ended up okay in the end. Thankfully.

013I celebrated my 42nd birthday. Because I didn’t tell anybody what I wanted for my birthday (I honestly didn’t feel like I needed anything), Sunshine and the girls decided to give me a birthday week! Every day was something different. Never anything big, but at the end of the week (on my actual birthday) I had a smile on my face a mile wide because of just how much I was loved by my wife and stepdaughters. I was (and still am!!) a very lucky individual.

OCTOBER

10K!!I ran my first 10K. After weeks of preparation, I went out and ran 8.5km on a training run. I figured hell…if I can run that far, I can complete a 10K!! So on Thanksgiving morning, I went out and completed my mission.  I beat my June 5K event pace by two minutes and was feeling really good as I entered the final two kilometers. I bumped into Sunshine and she ran with me as I finished my 10K. I was high on emotion and feeling like nothing could stop me. Unfortunately, that feeling wouldn’t last very long…

NOVEMBER

I was going through a funk and, as usually is the case, I decided to write my way out of it. I mean, that’s the reason I started blogging in the first place. So I was writing about why I needed positive reinforcement in my life. I wrote about how I felt a weight on me and how I constantly go down a rabbit hole of self-destruction. I was having concentration issues at work and I didn’t want to get up off of the couch. I was hitting rock bottom. Then as I was writing, it hit me: “Jeez…am I suffering through depression? I sure as hell hope not. I shouldn’t be depressed, anyway. I’ve got a great family, a solid marriage, awesome kids, and a pretty decent job that I have the potential to excel at. Why should I be depressed?”

After just a few hours of research, I came to the conclusion that I was, in fact, depressed. The stream of consciousness writing that was the “Depression” post was me actually coming to terms with the situation I was in. Finally…after months and months of issue after issue, I had the answer. Of course, this answer only raised more questions like “Where do I go from here?”

DECEMBER

depression 1After doing some research, I found more and more information that tied into how I’d been feeling over the past year. Male depression is slightly different from female depression. Men tend to feel weak if they admit self-doubt in any way. That feeling turns to defensiveness, which then turns to anger. It’s a vicious circle because you then feel bad about being defensive, then you sink into depression all over again…which is a sign of weakness.

I tried to figure out how I got to the place I did, thinking that it was a recent turn of events. As evidenced by the 2014 recap, it’s quite clear that this has been going on for months and (possibly) years.

Then I got the official word from my doctor: I had Major Depressive Disorder. That hit me like a punch in the gut. I agreed to begin taking medication and changing my lifestyle in such a way that my body would react positively.

stronger than depressionThe medication was difficult to take at first, but then things started to balance out after awhile. In fact, I started to wonder if I was feeling better because of the medication or because it was a placebo. But in the end, I could tell that I was feeling better and Sunshine noticed the positive changes in me, as well.

Unfortunately, a couple of side-effects convinced me to change medications. And unfortunately, the result was very negative…to the point that it almost ruined the holidays for Sunshine and I. Thankfully, I recognized the issues right away and now I’m scheduled to go back to the doctor on the 7th of January. Hopefully I’ll either find something new to try that works better or I’ll revert to the old medication and try to work my way through the side effects.

That, my friends, was my 2014 in review.  While a ton of things happened, I don’t know if I’d considered it a great year.  I mean, last year I got married and then we spent an incredible time in Chicago with our great friend, Random Esquire; the year before I proposed to Sunshine on a cruise ship; the year before that we went on our first Caribbean cruise together and felt like we had the world by the balls.

Right now, I feel like I’ve been kicked in the balls so the year hasn’t been great to me. What this tells me, though, is that 2015 is going to be bigger and better. I’ve seen what’s wrong with me and I’m tired of living this way. I’m taking the steps I need to take in order to correct the chemical imbalance, and then I’ll take the required steps in order to dig deep and really figure out what’s causing all of this.

By the end of this year, I’ll be able to say that I’ve got the world by the balls once again.

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