For years I have dealt with depression and sometimes suicidal thoughts. You see, so many things out there that say the ones that hurt the most will always try their best to make everyone else around them smile, worry free not sharing our swirling thoughts or mindset with them. I’ve advocated for awareness, I’ve admitted my problems along with seeking help, I’ve cried with mothers burying their babies that lost their demon fight, and I’ve always yearned for inner peace not just in myself but those around me.
My childhood growing up was filled with moving, chaos, and drug dependent parents at times. I did my best to keep my head up for my self and my siblings as I was the oldest and felt an obligation to fill the void when my parents weren’t. Although ups and downs at home, my love for my parents never stopped as I realized they too were doing their best job at the time, dealing with life and the pressures that sometimes consumed them. When I was 15 my parents divorced and even though our house was chaos before that, now there was a new empty feeling with a broken home again. Both parents remarried and things were seeming normal for a while until the day my mom picked me up while I was walking to the park to play basketball (23 years old). She unfortunately was there to share the news that my father had just passed away. I felt lifeless, the pain was real, I wanted to break everything.
This lost empty feeling stayed there but I masked it with pot, alcohol and good times rather than facing it head on. I’m not ashamed at how I dealt with my loss but I regret not being there more for my siblings during this time. I was lucky enough to have my wife there to hold me down and keep me from derailing. We were also expecting our first child (someday my baby girl will see just how much she saved my life). My brothers especially but my sister too had a really rough time for a long time and the effects still linger. My brothers took a strong chemical dependence to some street drugs and continue to battle all these years later. I hold guilt for not making more efforts to help them attack their problems before they grew out of control and I continue to try and show them light but who am I to preach…
The things that have made me who I am are probably the reasons I’ve advocated, raised money for multiple suicide charities and I helped a grieving family bury their teenage son lost to suicide. I was fortunate enough to have some Facebook friends reach out to me about this family and their recent loss. I instantly had a lump in my throat as I thought about the battles I’ve had and I think about my own son and how devastated we would all be. I didn’t hesitate to help out, I organized a little fundraiser and through some help of an amazing softball family around me was able to raise approximately $4,000. After some others helped with funeral cost the mother used the money to help fund a library in her sons name, Gus Rayyes, and has also started advocating for the cause to help raise awareness for others. Having a conversation with this mother was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. We started as strangers. We cried hard and believe it or not that’s not the only time we cried hard to each other.
This same woman that cried her eyes out to me about her son was there for me when I needed someone most. I’ve had some recent downfalls in life that left me feeling like the world was imploding around me, and one particular day I thought maybe I’d let the darkness consume me. I made a post screaming for help, and yes so many were there for me, lots of comments, inbox messages and support I didn’t know I had felt good. But when Tasha Rayyes messaged me upon seeing my post and I told her I was in a bad spot and I was actually at my dads grave crying like a baby about life and being a failure. She instantly dialed my phone up (ugh video chat and I was tear filled) but I needed her more than she knew. She talked to me for a long time until the tears stopped and made sure I know that there are plenty of people and family that care about me. In that moment a woman I’ve never met may have saved my life.
Through some resources available to me, I have began to seek help for my mental struggles. Like most men I’m stubborn to confront my real life problems but it’s something I needed. Sometimes we can get by just using our small circle of support that is so important to have, but other times it takes a village to raise me and I’m learning to be content in allowing those around me to help where they can. Your friends family and peers will always want best for you but they don’t always have the time strength energy or knowledge to know how to help. I may not have the answers but I will never overlook someone screaming for help, your smile or two words of encouragement may be just enough to make them STAY!!
With the draft tournament fast approaching us I’m honored and excited to be able to represent suicide awareness as our cause and also represent Gus Rayyes while battling on the field. If you’ve read this far I thank you for taking a little insight into my life and I encourage you to join someone’s support circle, don’t overlook them and their problems that may really need a little outside love cast their way. We’re all in this together!!