I’ve been struggling lately. Don’t worry about me. This struggle has been with me for a long time and I will be fine. I just need a space to express it. To preface this thought, I need to highlight my gratitude. I am very blessed. I have a rewarding career, a large and somewhat functional expansive family whom I love, and my home is a sanctuary of emotional safety and an ADHD playground. In some ways, I have never been as happy as I am right now. A big part of that is my wife, who understands me and all my quirks and loves me all the same. I also have a great deal of people I call friends with a good balance of those who I look up to and those who I get the opportunity to mentor and invest in the lives of others. I take the time to list how great my life is, not because I want people to think I have my life all put together, but because it is important for me to maintain a positive perspective on life. Counting my blessings and practicing gratitude keeps me from allowing the very few broken parts of my life from dragging me down into a depression.

All that said, it is also important that I acknowledge my heartache. It’s not something I am very comfortable talking about, but it’s also important for me to address so that I can continue to grow and heal. Currently, I hide my heartache when I’m around people. Even around my wife, I tend to display a confident peace about things. When I am alone on the other hand, throughout the day or in the late hours unable to sleep in bed, I sometimes heavy weight on my chest. I have specific triggers for trauma and sad thoughts that can cause me to become flooded with emotions very quickly. This used to cause panic attacks for me that would make me physically sick. My blood would just leave my body causing me to get cold, developing the shakes and it would wear me out physically, sometimes leading to a full shutdown with excessive sleeping. I went to therapy for this and processed some of the core fears and pain that was causing the physical response. Having responses like that is now rather rare for me.

The past few years have introduced a few new traumas and the emotional responses I have are still very rapid and momentarily debilitating, but now it just comes out as a very hard and ugly cry. I weep hard about 3 times a day on average. Some days can be worse. Especially if I am watching shows that have emotional or situational triggers that hit me. It’s sometimes hard to know what will effect me. It is usually something though. It’s rare that it hits me out of no where, although that too has happened. I have had to take a break from TikTok because of this. Because the algorithm sends unpredictable content, there can be moments of extreme emotional contrast that will take a tole on me physically and emotionally. I have also noticed that I avoid a lot of things that I know will effect me. There are moments where I avert my eyes or take a break from a movie to go refill my drink, strategically to avoid what I am afraid will lead to an emotional outburst. And I think this is the reason I feel compelled to express this. Because I worry that if anyone ever saw me expressing my emotions through crying, it could frighten them or just be emotionally hard to witness. But it is unavoidable that the more I work on this in my life and the more people I invite to be a part of my life, the more likely this will happen one day.

Lately, despite all the good in my life, I have had a heavy heart. I feel haunted at times. Like a creature is reaching into my chest and crushing my heart. It’s such a strong emotional pain that comes on sudden and strong that it leaves a physical ache. I don’t want medicine. I have gone down that road in the past, and although it helped in a season, I didn’t like the side effects. I’m not looking for advice or understanding. I just wanted to put this out there and acknowledge where I am. Growing and healing sometimes still involves hurting.