The feeling of anxiety can hijack our thoughts, leading us into a state of mental paralysis. Our mind begins to wander, we ruminate and we have a hard time focusing on tasks at hand.
Learning to slow down and being more present has helped me appreciate the beautiful things I have around me. Especially during this time of covid, and after observing how fragile life can be when I hear daily in the news on how many people suddenly loses a loved one, I’m welcoming life as something I want to enjoy, rather than to chase. This has been a conscious choice for me to enjoy my precious time with my son, with D and her kids and with the activities I do. I realize, with each passing day spent with them, I have one less day to enjoy those special moments with them. I’ll never get those moments back. This value I have reminds me that I want to make the most of my time here with the people and activities I place most importance to.
Getting regular exercise can do wonders for your body and mind. Whenever I feel an onset of stress and anxiety, exercising helps me to reset. However, it wasn’t too long ago when I sometimes felt it was impossible to get myself motivated enough to even move a muscle. During that point in my life, I was on the edge of 220 lbs and had poor eating habits comprising of fast food and greasy Chinese take-out on a regular basis. In addition, I was carrying the weight of depression on my shoulders.
With a family history of diabetes, heart problems and obesity, I needed to change my lifestyle to include a healthy dose of exercise.
It’s Sunday night and the sink is piled up with dishes plastered with leftover pasta and greens. There’s pots with crusted cheese sauce that’ll need a jackhammer to break through and a countertop that’s stained like a preschool art table. I’m better off to throw out the pot, but then there’s the financial woes that immediately races through my brain of doing something so irrational. The stench from the filthy washwater is starting to get to me, so I furiously toss everything in the dishwasher only to realize I’m out of detergent. My son’s in the livingroom, several feet away in our tiny one bedroom apartment, with the sound of his video game cranked up on the television speaker like it’s a Guns n Roses concert, while I’m desperately holding in my pee, because I still need to prepare his lunch for school the next morning and figure out something for the school bake sale. Meanwhile, my head’s racing with thoughts flashing of my upcoming workweek from hell: reports are due, meetings to be conducted and sixteen hour days are inevitable. Then, I have to figure out what to prepare for dinner this week. The fridge is empty because I somehow didn’t have the time to stop off at the supermarket because I was too busy worrying about the funny sound my car was making this past week. How timely, I kept saying to myself.
I love my place in this world. I’m a dad, friend, boyfriend, son, nephew, colleague and much more. In each of those spaces in my life, I love who I’ve become and aspire towards even greater things beyond what I can foresee. I enjoy every aspect of being a dad, watching my son mature slowly but surely into the man he wants to be. Over the years, I’ve seen him evolve from someone who struggled to communicate with words about his feelings, to someone who wants to share his story of depression and anxiety with others, and find healing for himself at the same time. I applaud his courage and most of all his awareness. I love being D’s boyfriend because I’ve finally met someone who I can be myself with. D makes sense to me and being with her inspires me to grow to become an even more supportive man for her, her kids and my son.