I had a plan this week. I was going to write a post about 2013 and how awful it has been for me both personally and in baseball terms. It was going to be called, “2013 sucks: A rant primarily about baseball with some life stuff thrown in for good measure,” and it was going to be epic because it all hinged upon whether the Red Sox clinched the World Series in six games or seven.
Or so I thought.
Last night, after the Red Sox beat the Cardinals 6-1 in Game Six and captured their third World Series of the 21st century, instead of being angry or annoyed about it, I was completely indifferent. I thought to myself, “Boston just won the World Series but so what?” and I think it’s because I’m finally realizing that baseball isn’t the end all be all of life. And I know some people will disagree with me on that statement but hear me out for a few moments.
Over the past decade or so, I have gone through numerous changes. I’ve lost and gained friends, I’ve lost and gained jobs, I’ve lost and gained places to live, I’ve lost and gained a lot of weight and in early 2007, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. That dreary day in early January changed my life. I honestly can’t say if it was for better or worse but what I can say is that having a diagnosis and finally knowing that there was a reason for the way I was behaving and for the way I was feeling, was a relief.
Before my Bipolar diagnosis, I was out of control. I was angry, I was manic, I’d get depressed for days on end and not know why, I felt like everyone was against me or out to get me at work, I’d go on shopping sprees, buying things I didn’t need and blaming it on stress or rationalizing my purchases by saying I deserved them because I had a bad week at work. One of the worst weeks I had at my job resulted in my laying down two credit cards in order to pay for a $1100 Gucci bag. That was in October 2006. I had reached the end of my rope, so to speak and came to the conclusion that I was in dire need of more help. Up until that point I was only seeing a therapist but after I told her what had happened and how out of control I felt, she referred me to a psychiatrist.
Since my Bipolar diagnosis, I’ve had breakdowns, I’ve had long periods of time in which I was unable to leave my house because on top of the Bipolar, I have also developed an anxiety disorder and a panic disorder. There were days when I was perfectly fine and there were other days when I needed to hold onto my brother as we’re making our way through the Stadium because I felt like the crowds are closing in on me. (I always joke that I’m glad I’m 5’9″ so I’m taller than the majority of people in those crowds. If I were any shorter, I’d never be able to leave the house.) I even had a panic attack in Monument Park in early July 2010 because there were too many people around me. My friend had to escort me out and calm me down in the hall underneath the bleachers. There are some days when my hands are so shaky that as I try to hand cashiers money or a debit card, they look at me with a gleam of sadness in their eyes. They probably think I have something else, something more debilitating and sinister like Parkinson’s disease and I don’t want to tell them, “I’m fine, just a little off kilter today.” But don’t get me wrong, I am not diminishing my disorders at all because there are times when they are debilitating and they can definitely be sinister. I’ve missed important family gatherings and weddings, and I have lost temp jobs because I have become too afraid to leave my house, one year, I nearly stayed home on Christmas Day until my mom talked me out of it and worst of all, my disorders will cause me to slip into a depression so vicious, I won’t shower for weeks.
Have I had some trying moments this year? Yes. I lost my beloved grandmother in March. She lived to be 104 which is amazing and I realize how lucky I am to have had her in my life for nearly 39 years but I thought she was indestructible. My grandmother was on death’s doorstep so many times during my life but would always seem to come out of whatever ailment she had better and stronger than ever. This is a woman who at 94 years old had a staph infection where her gallbladder used to be, beat it and survived. The doctors even told my mom and her sisters to get a priest at the time, because they didn’t see how my grandmother could make it. She ended up living nearly ten more years after that last hospital visit. So when she got sick this last time, I truly believed she’d come out of it. And even on that mid-March morning when my dad opened my bedroom door, looked at me and said the words, “Grandma passed away at 3:30 this morning,” I still couldn’t believe it. It wasn’t until I attended her wake and saw her in the casket that I finally accepted that she would no longer be in my life.
That was the worst thing to happen this year by far.
I’ve had other not-so-great stuff happen this year, like having to put down one of our cats last month after she suddenly fell ill. I also had to deal with my inner demons and the constant struggle to write about baseball which was so frustrating for me because writing about baseball and more specifically, the New York Yankees, came rather easily for me in 2011 and 2012 but this year was a total grind.
There were many days when I wanted to give up being co-Editor-in-Chief of this blog because I felt as if I couldn’t do anything right. I wasn’t pulling my weight and my mind couldn’t stay focused long enough to write anything meaningful. Instead, I’d throw out one of those random thoughts posts which were really a glimpse into my addled brain. Thankfully, a lot of people seemed to enjoy them but to be honest, those posts were a diversion from the fact that I couldn’t write anything good if my life had depended on it.
I also made the mistake of comparing myself to other writers and wondering why I couldn’t be like them. A big problem with Bipolar Disorder is that you tend to harp on things and my big issue was thinking I was awful, that I had nothing to contribute to the world of baseball blogging and why was I even bothering to try? Everyone else wrote circles around me while I was drowning in sea of self doubt. It’s something I fight through every single day like most writers but it’s amplified thanks to my mental illness.
Some people told me that the Yankees having the season they had in 2013 probably contributed to my inability to write about them but other writers and bloggers had no problems doing it day in and day out. I could have easily written angry pieces about how awful they could be in some games and how fun they were in others. Even going to the Stadium wasn’t fun for me this season because the Yankees had a horrible record when I attended games. I did witness a few good games like Hiroki Kuroda’s three-hit shutout against Baltimore on a brisk Sunday night in April, the Alfonso Soriano walk-off on Hideki Matsui day in July and the Brett Gardner walk-off against the Tigers in August but I saw a lot stinkers too. I will spare you the rundown on those games because sitting through them once was enough for all of us.
If this were 10 years ago, I’d more than likely be writing about how the Red Sox winning the World Series was the cherry on top of the excrement sundae that is my terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad year. I was so wrapped up in baseball when I was younger that I let it rule my life. The day after the 2004 ALCS ended, my bosses instructed my co workers via email not to speak to me unless I initiated the conversation. By noon, I finally had enough and told everyone I was okay and that they didn’t have to walk on eggshells around me. Another time, a coworker left a broom in my cubicle because the Mets swept a three-game series against the Yankees and my supervisor removed it before I got in because she thought I’d find the guy who did it and shove the broom where the sun doesn’t shine.
Things are different now.
To sum up this extremely verbose and personal post, after everything I’ve gone through, from the big events to the little roadblocks I may have stumbled upon, the 2013 baseball season has actually been a learning experience for me. I’ve gone through so much in my life that in the grand scheme of things, the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series isn’t a big deal. It’s not some calamitous event that will cause me to spin out of control like it did in 2004. It really has no effect on me now. I’m truly happy for my Boston friends and I don’t begrudge them the elation they’re feeling over watching their team winning the championship last night. They get to enjoy the next few days and get to brag all offseason. Lord knows, we, as Yankee fans, been able to do that a few times in my lifetime.
One final thought, I believe that 2014 will be a bounce back year for me and my writing and if there was a Comeback Writer of the year award, I’d tell you to bet money on me.