A mild Milam Musing for your Monday: There is no proverbial Eureka moment, or “A-ha!” moment when it comes to getting mentally well.
I was thinking about this today while listening to the latest episode of The New Day podcast, which is an episode about mental health in light of the suicide of Daffney. If you’re unfamiliar, New Day are three professional wrestlers with WWE, Xavier Woods, Big E and Kofi Kingston, who do a podcast every Monday. It’s often a podcast of frivolity and being funny (which help get my Mondays going on a bright spot), but sometimes, the boys like to tackle serious subjects.
New Day have not only broken the mold of what it means to be professional wrestlers within that kayfabe (meaning, within that scripted) world in terms of being bright, colorful and goofy, or broken the mold of what black professional wrestlers can achieve or be (more than the stereotypes), but they’ve also broken the mold of what it means to be a male (getting beyond toxic masculinity), of what it means to have male friendships (openly talking about loving each other) and importantly here, they’ve broken the mold of talking openly, raw and honestly about their mental health issues as professional athletes. I have immense, immense respect for these gentleman in and out of the ring.
In particular, I related to a lot of what Big E said about struggling from the ages of 19 to 23 with depression and suicidal thoughts and the hell it was like. I appreciated his story and honesty about it. I think it will help a lot of people to hear it.
Daffney was a female professional wrestler mostly in WCW and then TNA in the early 2000s; her real name was Shannon Spruill and on Sept. 1, she posted an Instagram live video, where she seemed suicidal. Unfortunately, she did end up taking her own life. She was only 46.
So, having recently talked about and written about my own struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts and to echo what Big E said about his own journey: There is no Eureka moment or “A-ha!” moment. Instead, it’s doing the work like anything else.
Like, when I think back to myself pre-therapy about 60-some days ago, it’s hard to imagine I’m where I am now and there certainly was not a, “Alright, now it all makes sense, let’s go,” flash moment. Instead, it was doing the work and then one day, I realized, I’m getting better. I’m a work-in-progress still and probably always will be to keep myself from slipping back, but I’m better.
It was switching to antidepressants that actually worked.
It was finally getting into therapy and importantly, taking it seriously and going into it with an open mind to learn, to grow and to get better.
It was re-committing to eating better, tracking my calories, dropping weight and exercising, stretching and meditating more often.
It was re-committing to writing on this blog more, which has always been a part of my catharsis and maintaining my mental well-being.
And it was about verbalizing and staying in contact with close family members about what was and is going on in my head.
All of that, over a period of time, helped to make me better. It was a holistic, all-of-the-above approach. There was no on silver bullet I could implement. There was no light switch moment of becoming better.
Like anything else, it was gradual and with a bird’s-eye view, something that occurred incrementally, step-by-step. Your steps may be different, but I sure hope you take them!
When you do start taking those steps and putting all of those pieces together, while it may not happen overnight, it can happen surprisingly fast. Again, it’s only been something like 60 days for me to see these changes both physically and mentally. So, that’s perhaps why people sometimes think there is a Eureka moment or a quick-fix, but there’s really not.
That’s frustrating, but knowing it’s possible I hope is a source of, well, hope.