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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Journey of a Journeyman: Depression

I had reservations on whether or not I should make this entry, as it really isn't wrestling related per say.  Also, it has been beat into my head over the years that we, as wrestlers, should not appear to have flaws.  However, after much internal deliberation, I have decided to go forward.

The topic of today's entry is mental illness, specifically clinical depression.  This is where I may lose some readers, and if so, that's fine.  Please join me on a more wrestling-centric blog in the future.  However, today this is the topic of my ramblings.

Clinical depression is a very real medical condition, one that often goes overlooked and undiagnosed.  In this "tough guy" business, this is often pushed aside as a case of the blues, or seen as a performer being weak minded.  However, as I have felt the effects of this illness, and they are crippling.

I was first diagnosed with anxiety and depress in 2014, and since then I have been on and off a myriad of prescriptions and in and out of therapy sessions.  Anyone who knows me knows that it is out of character for me to resort to medication or opening up about my feelings.  That's just not how I roll.  However, depression is a different beast than anything I've ever faced.

While therapy was/is a challenge for me, admitting to myself that I need medication is a huge blow to my ego.  The side effects take an already huge undertaking and make it seem impassable.  One drug makes me feel like a zombie.  Another drug curbs my depression, but also makes me numb to the entire world.  For a time, including while I type this, you even attempt to self-medicate, using yoga, meditation, and breathing techniques to stave off the symptoms of the disease.  At the end of the day, I just put in a renewal request for the medication that messed with me the least.

I share this with you for multiple reasons.

  1. To show that I am just like you.  A member of the human race, with flaws, challenges, and personal demons.
  2. To bring attention to mental illness.  If you notice someone suffering, offer help!  If you yourself are suffering, get help!
  3. To vent.  After all, this is my blog, used to share my outlooks on life, wrestling, and everything in between.
With that said, let's tie this to professional wrestling.  The industry can both be my release and my biggest trigger.  Performing in front of rabid fans, no matter the number, is a high that cannot be replicated.  Like heroin junkies, wrestlers are always "chasing the dragon" of the next big pop.  Nothing beats taking a crowd on an emotional roller coaster, and living off the reactions of the ride's peaks and valleys.

However, just like the match, for every high, there is a low.  Physical pain from the bodily abuse.  Emotional pain from the lonely nights.  Disappointment at your situation.  Regret for missing an opportunity.  Frustration in your daily life.  All are real triggers that the illness feeds on.

I'm not pushing medication.  However you deal, as long as it's healthy, I'm all for it.  Just be sure to deal.  Realize some things are out of your control.   Tackle those that are in your control.  Be the best you that you can be.

I love you all!

- Jeremiah Plunkett

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