I’ve been putting off writing this for a while, but the theme of mortality has truly been weighing heavily on my soul.
Last month two of our family friends died on consecutive days. They both died of natural causes: heart attack and cancer respectively. Both husbands, both remarkable Black men whose lives ended before they reached 40.
In the same month my father entered and exited the hospital for the fourth time this summer. My brother and cousin both had baby girls a week apart from one another. On one particular day, my brother, father and son were all in the hospital.
I was deeply depressed, frustrated about not being in control, struggling with work, relationships, money, and etc. I noticed that I was having trouble completing thoughts, generally unmotivated and indecisive. I’d get 8-10 hours of sleep a night and wake up exhausted. Plus, I hadn’t touched my dick in weeks (that’s when I knew something was very very wrong).
My therapist recommend some tactical strategies to combat my depression. Specifically, he asked me to record my thoughts and feelings; assessing, tracking and labeling any cognitive distortions. This helped tremendously.
Usually I track my thoughts and feelings through my comedy. Writing jokes, getting on stage, and living out loud in front of a crowd is very validating. But you still have to live a life outside of your creative outlets.
Talking with my wife one morning I broke down in tears, chest heaving, sobbing uncontrollably while she held me like Issa in Molly’s arms on that dirty ass outside couch. I felt like a straight bitch, but damn those tears felt good. Something about crying rebooted my system, afterwards my clarity was restored.
Health and wellness, and my idea of what makes a man were in great conflict with one another. I had a willingness to grin and bear it all in spite of clear indicators that shit was asunder. I’d convinced myself to keep going, when the reality was I needed to take a seat.
I began to reach out to my close friends and family members, meeting over a drink or a meal and catching up on our lives. I chose to spend nights at home with my family, engage in simple activities with my kids. Enjoyed some edibles, did booty dances in the living room and cuddled up in front of a Disney movie.
Just doing basic shit helped me to continue to be extraordinary. That and $1K month on marriage counseling and personal therapy services. Plus a weekly session with my personal trainer.
Self-care is critically important. It’s way more important to thrive than to simply survive. Do whatever is necessary to stay fully engaged.
For me that meant, seeking out licensed trained cognitive behavioral therapists, avoiding videos and articles of viral police-shootings/beatings/lynchings, spending time with friends and family, forgiving trespasses, being above anything petty (this has proven a daily struggle), having fuller deeper conversations with my wife, smiling at pictures of newborn babies, laughing at videos of baby goats, crying like a bitch and eating some amazing edibles.
Live your whole life, full of life. None of us know how much time we have.