I have either played or coached baseball for 34 years of my life. The past 16 I have been a High School baseball coach; the past 10 at Clever HS (MO). What we as a community and team went through this past year put me into a deep and dark place.
While I was in High School we had several students pass away that deeply effected my beliefs and thoughts on the stigma of mental health. However, it wasn’t until March when we had one of our former players (current student) pass away from suicide.
It happened on the first Friday of our season. A parent came down and told me during practice and that night we opened up the gym for students to gather and hug/cope/seek counseling/just cry. I tried to stay strong during that time for my kids and students. Our former players dad and family remained a part of our baseball family and were around for most of the games. After a 4-6 start we realized we had to start coaching them again and be their emotional support off the field. We finished 15-8 and District runner up.
I say all that to say this, I have not slept a full night since the first week in March, I randomly just cry driving down the road or when I get a text from the father, I have lost 30 plus lbs bc I am not eating because my anxiety is so high all of the time, friends/family kept asking me what was wrong. From the time I got up, until the time I tried to go to bed, I would feel sick to my stomach. I was told my eyes looked sad all of the time. I had good friends to talk to but I struggled to open up.
Finally, a few weeks ago I agreed I needed help and started to seek counseling and other help. It has been better since admitting there was a problem. I wish I didn’t feel like this and could have enjoyed this season more, but I also realized something amazing this year. As much as we are there for our kids, multiple times this Spring the kids were there for me.
It is okay to feel down and anxious, but sometimes we have to open our eyes more to when it goes beyond a certain line. I am so glad to those who called me out and supported me when I finally opened up about how I was feeling. I know that is the start to my healing. I end in this: love your players, love your friends, love your family because they are your rock when you need them. Thank you to my rocks!