Cope Master General

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As I write this post, I have a glass of red wine within reach of my right hand and one of my favorite shows on the television in front of me. I have my black lab asleep on my left, my “mutt” asleep on my right, and my wife’s goodnight kiss is still fresh on my lips (she uses way too much chapstick…).

Life is weird sometimes. I have every reason to be 100% content, happy, overjoyed, if not more-so. My wife is carrying my children (twins. can you believe that shit?), my dogs are the best, I have an amazing career with a flexible schedule that allows me to be where I need to be when I need to be there… I have a family that has never been anything less than supportive, even when they realized I may have strayed from their preferred political viewpoints (like, a lot I guess). My life is fantastic. My wife is fantastic. My family, friends, dogs, cat, job, favorite restaurant… they are all beyond anything that I deserve.

Yet here I am. A mess. A wreck sometimes. A man who gives in to his anger, his sadness, his anxiety. I have succumbed to my emotions more than I wish to admit. There is a poorly patched hole in my bedroom wall where my fist went through it out of shear frustration with the cards that life had dealt me up to that point in my life. There is a spot in the guest bedroom that I will never be able to forget, because it is the spot where I blacked out in tears, crying from… I don’t know what to call it. Stress? Apprehension? Lack of mental acuity? Either way, I will never forget the day that everything became so much to handle that I blacked out and woke up in tears on the floor of the guest room.

By all accounts, I live the “boy meets girl” life. Yet, my brain won’t let me overcome the shortcomings of myself, even the ones that no one else thinks exist.

I will be the first to tell you that I am medicated for my anxiety and depression. 20mg of Lexapro daily, 200mg of Wellbutrin daily, and 5mg of Valium as needed. These are my prescribed medications. I tell you these things to break a small brick in the wall that is the mental health taboo. As this blog goes on, I will go more in depth to explain the lengths to which I climb to cope with my illness. I wish my pills were enough to make me “whole”, to make me the Chandler Bing or the Joey Tribianni of real life, a man with a couple easy flaws that can be solved in a 22 minute episode (so many damn commercials) but still the life of the party. Even more-so, I wish I didn’t need these pills to make me the way I wish to be. But I do, and I am not ashamed.

Today, all I ask is that if you feel like there is something going on in your head that you don’t understand, talk about it. Take it to your doctor. Explain it to your friends. You are not alone in this fight, even though the fight is with yourself. As this blog continues, you will learn more about my coping mechanisms. Some have succeeded, some have failed. But they have succeeded and failed with me. Every person is different, and no two cases are the same. I implore you to learn more about your body and mind, in a safe manner, and find how to cope on your own.

Anxiety and depression can be killers. I’m here to talk about my survival stories, and I hope they bring you comfort.

Until next time, be kind, be yourself, and do something nice for someone else.

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