Updated: Jan 29, 2020
Everyone has a hurdle in life whether they’ve jumped over it, on their way to one or they’re in the process of jumping one. I’ve had a few of those in my lifetime, but this one in general to me was more than just a struggle.
With quitting an excellent job as an AV Tech to personal training full time, the birth of my second child, then packing up and moving 1200 miles away from the state I call home and dealing with PTSD brought on a horrid shadow called depression. Every single day for about a year or so, I’d wake up trying to think of a reason to get out of bed and get stuff done. Once I made myself believe that my clients needed more help than I needed it myself, I could get up, make the bed, put on a smile that not one person knew was just my way of saying, “I’m hurting, but don’t know how you can help me.”
My job as an AV Tech was wonderful. Not only did I make friends with the Owner’s and Employees, I enjoyed installing home theatres, mounting huge tv's, installing commercial grade AV racks, security cameras, networking gear, you name it! I quit that job to run my business full time which was very difficult from the beginning. I built my own building, trenched the ground & installed electrical wiring, bought gym equipment, the whole nine yards. I could keep myself busy, but while building I would tune out the fact that I was perfectly fine
Right before completing the building, my now 1-year old was born. I denied that I needed help from anyone, because I was already training and helping others. I was so occupied with taking care of two kids and my wife, that I used that as a reason to pretend that I was okay although I would wake up sad not knowing why and happy sometimes right before being sad again.
With everything that I’ve gone through in life by the age of 30, I knew I was strong. I don’t mean physically strong; I mean mentally and emotionally strong. I didn’t believe that I suffered from PTSD, because I never saw anything traumatic when I was enlisted in the U.S. Army. With denial in my left pocket, I still made myself believe that I do not need help from anyone. How could I need help, if I’m helping others who need help? I still think I’m okay.
Just after finding out again that I suffer from PTSD, we packed up my family, loaded a trailer with 3500 LBS of stuff and pulled that sucker through the mountains with my V6 while my wife followed me in her car. 1200 miles and over 24 hours later, we were in our new home in a new state.
One day before the move and the birth, I stopped to a store that I rarely went to for coffee, then was planning on stopping by my cousin’s house to say hello before heading to work. While I was at the store, a guy who I never met a day of my life randomly started talking to me. He said, “I’m supposed to talk to you today. You need to stop being hard headed, because it’s okay to let people help you. Don’t be afraid to ask for it.” He gave me his name, number, grabbed his coffee and got into his tractor trailer then hit the road. To this day, I talk to him every single day. He gave me an acronym that I tell myself each day. The acronym is ‘B.A.L.A.N.C.E.’
B – Believe in (your name here)
A – And
L – Live life to the fullest
A – And
N – Nurture and help everyone
C – Control your surroundings
E – Everything will work out
At that point after everything, I considered seeing a counselor. After getting through the thought of, “I’ll give this a try to see what happens.”, I started going regularly. Just like me, you cannot help other’s if you’re not willing to help yourself first. It took my wife, Pastor, and a few others to help me get to that point.
What’s the point of blogging my story? If you know someone who’s dealing with Depression, please understand that you can only be there to help when they’re ready for it. It’s not that we don’t want you around certain times. It’s just easier to be alone and stay inside sometimes. When you ask, “What can I do to help?”, that’s the thing. We really don’t know what we want. Just checking in and being a friend is the best thing you can do all day every day.
If you’re suffering from Depression, you’re not alone. Hang in there. You may feel like jumping off a bridge or building will fix everything, but please talk to that close friend, family member and/or counselor before deciding anything. If there's no one to talk to, please call 1-800-273-8255. You may be exerting every bit of energy to keep the walls from falling on you, but it still feels like you’re not strong enough and they’re just crumbling. (Exercise is one of the best tools to help keep your mind occupied too.) Sometimes there’s no explanation for feeling the way you do. You can have everything in the world, and it still feels like you’re empty and have nothing. If you feel this way, I’d like you to know it’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to reach out for someone’s hand. I can’t say don’t let it get to you, because it found me on my greatest days even with a smile on my face. What I can say is, don’t be afraid to keep trying. If the world is too much to deal with and you don’t have a friend to help you along the way, reach out to me.