Friday, June 25, 2010
The Search for Andy Lipman
I’m doing some emotional soul-searching this week. It’s an assignment for one of my therapists. It is hard to determine why we do the things we do, but what is harder is to figure out what triggers these actions. I’m in the process of retracing my steps over the last few years and in some cases more than 30 years ago. It’s exhausting and it is painful.
There are things from my childhood that have no doubt affected me in adverse ways. That doesn’t make these instances an excuse for what I’ve done wrong in my life but it does allow me to see why I am the way I am. Many of these childhood traumas were not mentioned in “Alive at 25.” I decided it’s important to mention them this time around because I want every reader to feel like they know me when they finish that last page. Last time, they knew the good side of me. Both sides need to be known to make a fair assessment as to whether or not you truly think I’m an inspiration.
I sometimes feel like Mark Harmon in the Deliberate Stranger which was the Ted Bundy story which has appeared on Lifetime about 1,000 times, yet still I watch it (I hate when they say “Television for Women” by the way). Am I that deranged? I should hope not. Have I committed murder? No. But we both have secrets that would change the way others would feel about us. Everyone has skeletons in their closet. I feel like I have an entire graveyard that I will open up more about in my book and some day probably in this blog.
Something you might not know about me is that I’ve always felt left behind. That started from my youth when my parents were physically hitting my back and sides just so I could live (postural drainage therapy). I couldn’t go to overnight camp. I couldn’t camp out because I couldn’t find an outlet for my aerosol machine and I could not go on trips without my parents being chaperones. I never thought I’d go to college. As my friends got accepted to universities, I was stuck wondering if I’d live long enough to go to college. I realistically didn’t think I could go. Thank goodness for my therapy machine which replaced my parents (in the hitting sense I mean). I could finally go away without them and so began my journey at the University of Georgia (how about John Isner by the way…what a match! Go Dawgs!).
Then I graduated late from college because I had self-esteem issues and it affected my academic performance. As my best friends graduated, I felt left behind. As my friends then began having kids, I again felt left behind because I couldn’t have kids the normal way. Andrea and I spent what seemed like a Major League Baseball player’s salary just to have kids and there were plenty of disappointments along the way. When I would see these talk shows with teenagers getting pregnant by mistake, it was agonizing.
This is a problem of mine. I have to learn to appreciate what I do have and slowly I have learned to do just that. I have a beautiful wife who can take my humor (and those of you who know me understand that this quality is priceless). I have 2 beautiful children who I was never supposed to have and they are the apples of my eye.
I am not as strong as some of you think I am. I have been told on several occasions that I'm clinincally depressed. I have contemplated suicide as a kid, as a young adult and even in the last few years. Contemplating does not mean attempting. It means thinking heavily about it but thankfully I have never put a plan in place. That’s my shame and depression coming out. I sometimes find myself sitting in complete darkness even when nothing is really wrong. That’s one of the reasons I take antidepressants. I have not been the best husband to Andrea. I have not always been the best father to Avery and Ethan either though I have been much better of late. What I’m learning through my program is that the past does not have to be an indicator for the future. It just needs to be a reminder what your future could be if you continue to travel down the wrong path.
People are surprised to find out how shy I was as a child. When you hear more of my story, you might see why. Believe it or not, I’m shy to a degree now. I force myself to socialize. I have a hard time. In college, I could barely open my door because I didn’t want people to see me. It’s a self-esteem issue that I will battle my entire life but I do intend to win.
I know this post comes off depressing but some weeks are like that for me. It doesn't mean I don't appreciate what I have nor does it mean I'm going to work any less to beat cystic fibrosis. I just wanted to give you what it's like sometimes to deal with disease, mental and physical. It is hard to always be the inspirational billboard for those who need to believe. I guess what I'm trying to say is I'm human too.
I leave you with a quote from Jonas Salk:
I have had dreams and I have had nightmares, but I have conquered my nightmares because of my dreams.
Well, that’s my blog for today. I hope it gave you a little more insight into my thoughts. Have a great weekend! If this depressed you then rent "The Blind Side." Awesome flick! Oh and my sleeper movie that you don't hear a lot about: "Zombieland." It's hilarious.