Wednesday, October 17, 2018
CEREBRAL PALSY STORIES: Tim's Mental Health Mayhem of 2015 to 2018 Part 2-What Led Up To It?
Note - We're running this series in conjunction with World Health Day, which was October 10. Tim recalls his issues and fervently hopes this will inspire you to get any help you need.
In part one of this latest editionof Cerebral Palsy Stories, I went on record and finally started to open up about my 3-year mental health struggles and battles with anxiety and depression that started in 2015.
In the second part of this story I will focus on what led up to it and most likely caused those issues to begin with. Looking back on all of what has happened, the answer to that question is that there was not just one single thing that caused me to have extended periods of anxiety of depression at various times over the last few years. It was actually a combination of a few things here and there that unfortunately led me down to what was a very scary and dark time in my life back then.
While it is somewhat hard for me to pinpoint one particular experience or incident that served as the tipping point, there are a few that I can think of looking back at it now that I can definitely say had an impact on me and my overall health back then. The first incident was of course the very first time that I realized that I was starting to feel a little depressed and lonely while my parents and I went out to dinner during a particular weekend in Seal Beach, California.
Before this time there were certain instances throughout my life when I was a little depressed and lonely such as when I had a surgery on my legs when I was a kid. In those instances, though, I was able to get over whatever I was going through and or feeling fairly quickly. That dinner excursion in Seal Beach from approximately three years ago was a different story though. After we finished our dinner and left the restaurant we decided to take a walk over to where the Seal Beach pier is over the ocean.
From what I can remember, it was not until we started heading over to where the pier was that I started to have the first feelings of depression and loneliness. Since I was starting to have these different kinds of feelings that I had never really experienced before in my life for the most part, I didn't really enjoy being out on the pier that day. I also remember that since there were quite a few couples walking on the pier that day that that probably also contributed to the depression and loneliness that I was feeling at the time since I was and still am single.
After we left and went back home, I don't think I said anything about how I felt to my parents because at the time I just thought it was one of those experiences where the feelings would hopefully go away after a while and they did for a little while. The tough times were not over for my family and I however when a few days to a couple of weeks after spending the day at Seal Beach, I started having panic attacks throughout the day and having a very hard time getting a good night's sleep.
One of the biggest reasons why I was having such a hard time getting a good night's sleep was that around that time I had become so sleep deprived that I had started to have some very weird and or strange hallucinations and dreams which made it even more difficult for me to fall asleep. The hallucinations and weird dreams got scary enough for me that at one point my mom had to start sleeping with me in my room for a period of time to make sure that I was trying my best to go to sleep.
So what were some of the things that caused me to feel anxious, depressed and sleep deprived in the first place? While I can't really pinpoint one particular situation or incident as a cause or effect, there are a few that stand out.
The first one was the personal life coming out story of former MLB umpire Dale Scott. In Mr. Scott made history as he became the very first umpire or any other pro sports official for that matter who was still working at the time to publicly come out publicly as gay with regards to that aspect of their personal life.
Looking back, of all the things that did trigger my anxiety and depression or had an effect on me in one way or another, this was probably the one piece of the puzzle that had the biggest impact on me at the time. I even for my Tim's Sports World blog at the time in which I discussed my own thoughts and reaction to the story.
That's because as time went on after I first heard the news about Dale Scott, I started to become a little obsessed and worried about my own personal life. Even though I already knew that I was straight in terms of my personal life, I had started having questions and or doubts about my own sexual orientation and who I was.
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https://www.flickr.com/people/foreverfaeryboots under CC BY-SA 2.0 license
The interesting thing for me was that before I heard the news about Dale Scott, there really were not any other times before when another public figure or celebrity would come out publicly about who they were in their personal lives that had a big impact on me up to that point. Since I was and still am a big baseball and sports fan to this day, maybe that's why I felt and reacted differently to the news about Dale Scott.
Another thing that also contributed to this whole situation in some way or another was that I was beginning to become a little nervous/anxious and or obsessed about some things that I definitely should not have been worried or obsessed about to begin with.
If I remember correctly, I think I also started to wonder what people might have thought about the blog posts I wrote about Dale Scott that I mentioned up above which also added to my anxiety and depression. Overall though, I would like to think that Mr. Scott's story has made me be even more tolerant and accepting of those individuals who consider themselves part of the LGBT community than I already was.
Throughout this whole experience that I have had of living with anxiety and depression at various times over the last three years approximately, I also started to develop some funny habits or rituals along the way to help me cope. One of those was feeling like I had to check and see where Dale Scott and his umpiring crew were assigned to work a game or series on any given day. Now that he is retired, I no longer feel like I have to know where he is or what he is doing other than hopefully enjoying his retirement.
Dad: Tim would be worrying about everything…whether I’d be dead in the morning, whether he’d be dead, obsessing about traveling by airplane, worrying about routine doctor appointments, simple illnesses would have him worrying it was life threatening…it was quite a struggle to try to work with him to release those worries and stresses.
The second thing that also contributed to my anxiety and depression during this time was that I had also started to have a crush on one of the female reporters of MLB Network (MLBN).
One of the reasons why this new celebrity crush was a contributing factor to the mental health issues that I was going through at the time was because, among other things, one of the hallucinations that I had been experiencing involved this woman. Until I actually had those kinds of hallucinations I really had no idea what kind of effect a lack of sleep could really have on a person's own mind and body.
The funny thing for me though however was that even though those kinds of hallucinations were somewhat scary for me to go through after they happened, that was probably the first time that I could remember finally feeling a sense of comfort and peace throughout the tough times that I was having.
Besides that particular hallucination episode mentioned above, once I realized that I had started to have a crush on her, I had also started trying to see if I could find out if there was any information about the reporter's personal life online and whether or not she was single. Once I felt like I was able to stop thinking about it and finally move on to thinking about something else, that eventually became one more thing for me to not worry about or become obsessed over
We also travel a lot and for a little while there were times when I was more nervous than I would normally be whenever my family and I would go away for an extended vacation or trip for one reason or another.
Dad – Tim would start to have panic attacks on airplanes, even though he’s flown hundreds of times without problems. He would start gagging and sometimes even go into dry heaves.
One such trip that comes to mind was the one that we took to Texas and Florida last year. During this particular trip we went to see games at both major league ballparks in Texas as well as visiting the Florida Keys.
I don't necessarily know what happened but somewhere along the way while we were in Houston, to me it started to feel like someone was following us and somehow keeping track of what we were doing during that part of the trip. As for what caused this particular instance of anxiety the only thing that I could think of that might have had an impact was a couple of tweets that I sent to MLB Network (MLBN) with a picture of me at both ballparks in Texas.
One of those tweets from Minute Maid Park in Houston even ended up being put on the air during an episode of the Quick Pitch show. As a result, I think my mind got a little carried away mentally afterwards as I most likely started to wonder if maybe people would recognize me from that picture that was broadcast on the show.
Fortunately for me, those new feelings that I started having started to go away a few days after I saw my picture on the show and the rest of the trip was more relaxing and uneventful in terms of no weird or strange feelings for the most part. Unfortunately, I decided to not tell my parents about what I thought was happening until we got back home.
While I know now that I probably should have said something about it right away or very soon thereafter, I felt like I could wait until we came back home because up to that point I felt like I had been getting better at dealing with whatever instances of anxiety and depression that I may have had or did have as a result of seeing a therapist on a more frequent basis the second time around.
The experiences from that trip also played a part in how I started to feel before we went on our next trip at that time to Jasper National Park and the city of Calgary in Canada. Since we had wrapped up the previous trip to Texas and Florida fairly recently, the events of what happened during that trip were still somewhat fresh in my mind and I started to worry about, as silly as it may have seemed and now does, the possibility of something similar happening during the trip to Canada.
Thankfully though, other than those pre-traveling jitters, there was nothing that I had to be worried about because I did not have any episodes of anxiety during our time in Canada and I have also not had any other episodes since then when we have gone away somewhere for a trip.
During this time my parents did their best to try to help me feel better and reassure me that whatever I was thinking in my mind at the time was not real and that I just needed to get a good few nights of sleep to feel better. As has always been the case, my parents were right with the advice they had given me because once I started getting a few good nights of sleep in a row, I started to feel better about myself both physically and mentally.
While I did start to feel better overall after a few good nights of sleep, my road to a full recovery so to speak was just beginning as the next thing I had to do for myself was to go out and actually look for someone who could provide me with some professional help to deal with all of the mental health issues that I encountered along the way as a result of my anxiety and depression from not getting enough sleep.
So now that you know what my mental health struggles were like the next question that you probably want the answer to was how I was able to finally overcome them and take control of my anxiety and depression? You'll just have to wait until the third and final part of this story is published to find out! As they say sometimes on your favorite TV show or series, this story is to be continued.
Don't wait, if you don't feel right, get help with your mental health issues today. In the U.S.A., contact your local county health department to find mental health resources near you or visit MentalHealth.gov for more information.
In Los Angeles County, we call (800)854-7771 - there are also mental health urgent care centers that you can go to on a walk in basis, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Urgent Care Centers
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