Monday, May 7, 2012

On a serious note...

This probably comes at such a shit time when my ultimate humor piece goes up on Brobible and people are coming here to see more stupid humor, but I also think it might be a good place for those readers to see there's way more to this shit than being what they perceive as stupid slut who likes athletes. 

A lot of the shit on this blog is funny. Or at least I think its funny, a lot of people might absolutely disagree whole heartedly. On one celebrity blog, a lot of people are calling me an asshole. So yeah, I mean, I try to think I’m funny and fuck it, there are some funny fucking stories on this blog, whether you want to admit it or not.

And yeah, the blog’s supposed to be funny. But it’s also supposed to be relatable. And every now and then, being relatable means being able to admit the reality that not everything is for shits and giggles, and sometimes shit hurts and if there’s any reality to this blog, it’s gotta include the not so funny shit. So bear with me.

With the recent suicide of Junior Seau, I got to looking up the suicide rates of athletes.  Wade Belek. Junior Seau. Robert Enke. Justin Fashanu. Hideki Irabu. Dave Duerson. Erica Blasberg.

I’m sure countless others. Some shot themselves, some overdosed. Anyone would look at this crew and think they have everything to live for. But reading about most of them, I’ve come to learn what most of them had in common was depression.

You’d look at a guy like Robert Enke (he was a German goaltender and he played for Hanover 96 in the Bundesliga). Or like Wade Balek. And in my case, a woman like Erica Blasberg. You’d see everything most people dream of – a successful career in sports, good looking, family, potential, money. And you’d wonder on how earth they could get to a point where standing in front of a train or suffocating yourself seemed like an option.

All three of them suffered from depression.

Have you ever seen those stupid commercials for like, Zoloft or Paxil? “Depression hurts everywhere”? I used to think those were so dumb. I couldn’t get it. Fucking buck up, get your shit together. We all go through tough spots, fuck dude, my dad died and I was back to work playing staff softball in a week. If 16 year old me can deal with shit, there’s no reason Hideki Irabu who played for the Yankees, or Wade Balek who lived every Canadian kid’s dream to play professional hockey, couldn’t get their shit together enough to be happy with everything they have and just “get over it”.

Until my sister said it to me. “Get over it”. When I couldn’t.

I don’t have a very hard life. I have my moments. I’ve had many moments. But overall, I’m okay financially, I have a great apartment, great friends, I love my mom and sister, and my job can be and is performed on a daily basis by functioning alcoholics. It’s not like I’m over here trying to solve the fucking debt ceiling crisis or cure a kid with AIDS. I am pretty (whatever, I am), I’m skinny, I never worry about my weight or my looks, and most of the time, I’m a confident bitch who makes it a point to play with the boys and be aggressive and not be afraid. This blog, that’s a huge part of that.

I don’t think athletes have a “harder” life. I think they have a lot of pressure and are in the spotlight. They have different types of “hard”. Different types of pressure. Some deal with it, some don’t. After dating so many, I’ve seen the stress and depression that can come from injuries, that can come from being released or demoted. From team failure. From being away from their families and familiar things. And while they might have $500k in the bank, and a hot girlfriend and a whole lifetime of success and potential ahead of them, with depression, those things don’t matter. And I know it sounds ridiculous, and people like my mom and sister don’t get it, but I do. There are some things you just can’t “get over”. For some athletes, it’s a feeling of failure. Whether on the field or at home, doesn’t matter. For some “normal” people it’s their jobs. Their financial situations. A few years ago a man from my hometown went to visit his daughter at Loyola College with his wife and 11 year old daughter. He was involved in a Bernie Madoff type ponzi scheme, millions of dollars in debt. He killed his entire family in a hotel room in Baltimore, then slit his wrists.

For me, it’s relationships. Specifically the last two. Because for all the times I’ve been heart broken (and there have been plenty), I somehow got through them. Sure, there were a few weepy drunk phone calls and the occasional “I miss him” crying nights. But the last two…with DC guy and baseball player…I get it. I get the commercial now. And why you can’t just tell someone to “get over it”.

For athletes, I can’t imagine it being any easier. Sure, you might have access to the best doctors in the world – where as my health insurance doesn’t cover mental health. But how  many athletes want to admit they aren’t happy with their lives? How many of them want to be viewed by the media as having millions of dollars, the dream job, the dream career, but incapable of being happy? How selfish can you get? How is that life not good enough? That’s the stigma. So many don’t seek help. Many try to play it off as stress or pressure. A mountain to move, part of the game.

The same way I did for a long time. For nearly the last year. I love so much of my life. And in the grand scheme of things, I have everything to live for. But when it feels like something is missing, when it feels impossible to drag yourself out of bed, and when you fake every smile and every happiness knowing you’re going to go back to your apartment and cry your heart out because you feel something isn’t right, something isn’t there, it gets to be a lot. My sister looks at me and sees the skinny pretty one who always did well in school and had everything going for her. How could I NOT love my life, be happy? And when I tried to explain where this feeling came from – from the feeling of not being good enough for the last two guys I really cared about, about feeling left behind when all my frinds are getting married, from my best not being good enough for the baseballer but some other girl’s whatever was enough – she scoffed. And I was embarrassed. And I can’t imagine being an athlete and not feeling scared to admit that shit. Because when people don’t understand it, they think you’re a pussy. A baby. The think you like drama or just can’t get over shit. Can’t see “the bright side”. And it goes so much deeper than that.

It’s taken me a lot of time to figure out that I needed help. And I’m still figuring that out. It took me reading my suicide note to my best friend a few weeks ago to realize that while I was too chicken shit to ever hurt myself (because I have no threshold for pain or the preparation of pain, I cried getting three stitches out 3 weeks ago), I found myself praying every day for something quick. A taxi running a red light. A drunk driver when I was home on LI. A robbery gone wrong. I found myself thinking just going dark and “sleeping” the way I sleep when I pop a brick of Xanax (so good), with no thoughts, feelings or dreams, would be better than waking up every morning feeling inadequate. I didn't want to feel the way I had been feeling. Faking the smiles when in the back of my mind I was missing someone – be it the baseball guy or DC guy – so badly it physically hurt. Of coming home and wondering why it just didn’t work, but the next girl did. So I wrote a suicide note – leave it to me to mention the Yankees AND Terps lacrosse on my proverbial death bed – and like everything I write, I needed someone to read it. So I read it to my best friend. And then my roommate. And then my other friend. Because I was tired of pretending. And I was scared. And instead of using the note as a way to say goodbye (writing it was the hardest thing I've ever done), I used it as a way to try to get help. Leave it to my egotistical writer's side to NEED to hear a reaction to something I wrote. It probably saved my life. 

I’m still going through it. Fuck dude, writing this, I’m bawling my eyes out. I’m scared shitless of the prospects, of the idea of possibly eventually trying anti-depressants or going and talking to a total stranger. But I know I can’t keep feeling this way either, especially over men. Some of you might say it’s my own fault – because I’m cool with just the sex thing. Fuck dude, if that were the problem, it’d be a walk in the park. It’s not the one night stands that hurt – it’s the actual feelings for the guys who were more than that that end up literally laughing at me on the phone when I am crying (baseballer, what a guy). I just had incredible sex with a really ridiculously hot hockey player today. Boosted my ego like you wouldn’t believe, as dumb as it is. I don’t love him. I never will. The root of my problem isn’t the lifestyle I picked, it’s unfortunately the relationships I’ve tried to make work. And the hurt and feeling of blame I felt when they didn’t. No one will ever know what baseballer took out of me. Him especially, because he will never admit he has the capacity to hurt someone so badly. And I couldn’t explain it if I tried. Just like I’m sure Hideki Irabu couldn’t explain why he let something in his life get him down so badly when he lived MY childhood (and adulthood, let’s be real) dream of playing for the fucking Yankees. Why Erica Blasberg, who was absolutely beautiful and talented and driven, felt like she had no friends and suffocated herself. Why Robert Enke thought standing in front of a train was less painful than living the life of a professional soccer player in Europe.

This post is as much about me as it is about them. In looking at all of this, I’ve read so many times over “they had so much to live for” and “I can’t imagine why they’d do it”. From the outside looking it, no one can. Depression is a pain that is invisible to everyone else around you. Like when I had that UTI shit and no one believed me and my urologist is going “it’s just stress go to yoga” and I’m going “stress? I’m sorry when you get stressed do you piss fire?” It took so much of me to admit I needed to get help and the shit I took from some of my family made it even harder – that I should just “get over it” and that I shouldn’t need drugs to deal with my life that isn’t that hard. I can’t imagine the fear pro-athletes (and college and high school for that matter) feel when they question getting help. The stigma that comes with it, the expectations and judgments. It’s added pressure to a person who already feels like there’s no hope. And the only hope – of getting help – is hindered by the fact that so many athletes worry what the rest of us will think of them when we find out the millionaire with the hottie wife who has two world series titles is depressed. So they don’t seek help. They just try to “get over it”. And then they end up on my stupid blog about athletes that kill themselves.

I’m not a doctor. Or a shrink. But I encourage people to look at professional athletes and realize mental health has nothing to do with how much money you make or how good looking you are or how skinny or successful. Why’d they do it? Because they were human and probably too scared to get help, like I was. Too scared of having people make assumptions about their lives or the reason they felt the way they did. It’s a sad trend and while this blog won’t change any of it, I hope if nothing else it gives anyone suffering from depression – whether you’re fucking Derek Jeter or the homeless dude that lives over by where I work and chains his suitcase to the no parking sign – that some people get it. And it’s okay to ask for help.  I was afraid of admitting how I felt because I was afraid people – my mom, my sister, my friends, you guys – would pin it on the way I live my life. It’s never been about the jersey chasing or the blog or the shit I write about. Hell, those are the things that have literally gotten me through it. It’s about the things I can’t control, which recently have been other people’s feelings and my own about theirs. I’m not afraid anymore. And I never want to write another suicide note again. I have so many other stupid things I want to write, that are meaningless and dumb and spelled wrong. No one should have to worry about the stigma of admitting depression or getting help. Be it me, you, or an athlete. We all have our crosses to bear. Some need a little extra help. And whether you live the life everyone else dreams of, or a life of a series of unfortunate events, or somewhere in the middle, there is no shame in being depressed, and even less in seeking help. Yes, we can all “get over it” at some point – but you just have to be open to the idea that getting over it means getting help too. No one has to feel the way I felt. No one. And since I've decided to live that, my mother and sister have realized exactly what I'm saying - sometimes, the bootstraps are broken and you can't just pull 'em up. You need help fixing them, and I'm glad I've finally found that support. 

You guys might look at me totally differently now. Think everything I write about is a farce or not true or unfunny because in the back of your minds you’re all thinking I’m this emo depressed girl who’s hung up on some dude and it’s all just fake funny. But I felt like it needed to be said. And fuck it, this is my blog, if I want something to be serious for a hot sec, it will be. This blog is about honesty, brutal, embarrassing honesty. And that includes the shitty parts of jersey chasing, or loving someone. I’m 26 and a writer, I’m not God. I’m not perfect and it’s my biggest hope that you’ll know even with what I’ve been going through, the hot rebound sex I had today, the funny stories I will continue to write about… they’re all still part of it too. This is me. It’s just ALL of me. And I hope you guys are cool with that.

3 comments:

  1. Stef though fortunately I have never gotten to the point of seriously wanting to end it, I totally relate to the depression and "get over it" mentality. Some people just don't get it unless they have the same misfortune. I always try to surround myself with people who've been there or who are open-minded. You were good enough for them Stef, but they weren't good enough for you! I don't judge a book by it's cover, and I don't believe you deserve anything negative because of anything you've shared in your book. Just keep fighting, its all you can do.

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  2. You're brave, Stef.

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  3. I just want you to know this post truly helped me. I bawled my eyes out reading it(the second and third time) but this really hit home and it couldn't have been posted at a better time. Thank you!

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