Thursday, January 24, 2013

Choose Life



      Starting over is never easy. 2012 served to be a very interesting year for yours truly. It has been a period of transformation, pain and growth. I was forced to deal with many issues that have been haunting me since childhood. When we choose to depress troubling emotions into the dark corners of our subconscious mind, they're bound to eventually surface. And surface they did.






            I have to be totally honest; making the transition from NFL player to Citizen Q has been very difficult for me. I've tried to find my niche' in society in a multitude of avenues over the years. I’ve searched for success in a construction company, a record label, a cigar bar, a stint in the mortgage business, mental health advocacy in addition to coaching high school, college and NFL punters. The most satisfaction has been helping young punters develop and helping people navigate through our bipolar gauntlet. Sharing, helping others ... most satisfaction. Go figure. There are no coincidences.

       Living with bipolar disorder for the last 16 years, I've learned that I have a propensity for the extreme. According to the theory of reincarnation and karma, my excessive lifestyle in previous lives is continuing to play out. The dramas I'm living out in this lifetime are simply a continuation of the evolution of my soul. Point being that I have some karma I still need to work through. Personally, I had enough of this cosmic tough love. It’s time to move on from this shit.

      For more on Bipolar Disorder, Reincarnation and Karma, click here : (http://holisticstressrelief.com/page10.html)

     Manic enthusiasm has been a blessing as well as my lifelong Achilles Heel. Moderation has never been one of my stronger skills. All or nothing. Go for broke. Be the best or nothing at all. This attitude served me well while playing professional sports. Well, kind of. The desire to be the best gave me the ability to excel at a very high level on the playing field. But with such high expectations, the pressure to perform led to very high levels of stress and performance anxiety. Not to mention having to play through injuries most of my career. One of my coping mechanisms was drugs and alcohol. And we all know where that path leads.

    The last year has presented many opportunities for my spiritual growth. To finally understanding what is important in life has been a painful blessing. I’ve been trapped in the material world. My levels of happiness and self worth were totally determined by my conquests. I had no idea who I was as a person. I had no idea what true friendship was. And I definitely had no idea of the concept of ‘unconditional love’.

    The niceties of The Matrix can be very alluring. The land of make believe that wants you to think that enough money, power and prestige will lead to happiness. Nothing could be further from the truth. The material world is a trap; an endless lie also known as the Ego.

    To this day I struggle with ‘staying present’. I often catch myself thinking about the life I had, the opportunities I’ve failed to take advantage of and the fact my unborn children would be in college if I had married when I graduated from Michigan State. This is my unquiet mind. I’ve been known to constantly replay mistakes and engage in ‘what ifs’ as if I could wave a magic wand and change my history. Dwelling on the dead past and/or imagined future is not only unproductive, it’s insane. All we have is the present moment. The quicker we realize this, the easier it is to move on and start living life.

     It’s been over a year of recovery since my last break. I’ve been forced to face my demons and adjust my lifestyle accordingly. A steady diet of acceptance, compassion for others, selflessness, humility and forgiveness (including myself) have been my recipe for success. Growth hurts, man. Realizing you’ve been doing it wrong for over 47 years is not an easy pill to swallow. The pain that I’ve endured has given me a profound reference point in the evolution of my soul. I can definitely say that I’m a survivor.

     I’ve been blessed with a very supportive and loyal family. It is during these times that you find out who your allies are. The true friends that are willing to accept you for who you are. I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that the clean-up after a crisis is difficult. But after the smoke clears, the cream rises to the top. New friendships are born. Old ones are rekindled. The rest just fade away.

     I think the message here is that it’s never too late to make a comeback. Knowing life is transient, the trick is to never lose faith in our ability to overcome adversity. Nietzsche said, “What does not kill us, only serves to make us stronger”. That being said, life is always going to present challenges. It’s on the darkest days that we learn the most about ourselves. If we look at ‘life as teacher’, we can break the chains of the blame game and finally realize that everything happens for a reason. There are no coincidences.

    I’m thankful for my newfound connection with my creator and thank him/her for the opportunity to uncover my true self. I’ve found that avoiding the trappings of materialism and finding a way to get outside of ourselves is the path to enlightenment. Extending unconditional love to all human beings and helping the less fortunate is the special sauce. It’s taken me over 47 years to finally get this … and I thank God every day for the wisdom gained from my journey.

Anyone who’s experienced crisis, anxiety and/or depression has been given a window to see what is really important. We can finally see the trees for the forest. This is why I share my experiences on this blog. First and foremost, it’s a tool for my recovery. Second, and most importantly, I hope that it gives others the strength to carry on.

We all have a choice…. Choose Life.

GM

4 comments:

Flying Coconut said...

I hope you read these. Today I had a mini "episode:
". I was with my whole family at dinner. Long story short I told my brother that I have temporaroly broken out of the matrix. Later I searched for "bipolar and matrix" just to see what would I find. I will read all your posts but I still think it will only confirm things I knew. I want to reach a new level wirh my life. I hope you and I can help a lot of people, by using what we know to reach higher places. carlos.sosa333@gmail.com

April Hunter said...

Thank you for this. I am a professional wrestler going through something very similar...and also bipolar. This year has been a learning year, so to hear it on a parallel blog...well, it's nice to know that what I'm feeling isn't that strange after all. Trying to find my way AFTER I've alread been living my dream...that's hard. We're trained to go after our dreams...not sort out what's next when they're done.

Anyway...thank you.
April

aprilhunterblog.com

Anonymous said...

Bipolar or not I think what you are sharing is a beautiful message that everyone can learn from.

Anonymous said...

PLEASE READ MY COMMENT IN FIRST BLOG.................
THIS GUY IS A BULLY AND A DOUCHEBAG!!!!!!!!!!!
TORTURED KIDS IN HIGH SCHOOL, THAT WERE NOT PLAYING A SPORT.
HOPE YOU'RE LEXAPRO OR ZOLOFT ARE WORKING.
DICKEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!
30 YEARS LATER. HOPE YOU ARE GOING THRU, SAME HELL YOU PUT ME THRU.