A Journey Back to Football

Today, I write to you between therapy sessions. I’ve moved my Friday morning therapy session to an afternoon one with an hour to spare before group therapy. I started group therapy about a month ago. It doesn’t seem like that long ago already. It’s a 2-hour long session young adult group that meets once per week. We work on learning DBT skills, and supporting each other throughout the process.

So far, it’s proving to be a good deal. I started towards the end of the cycle of modules. The module we are in is called Interpersonal Effectiveness. Turns out, I really need those skills, on my good days.

Lately, it’s been rough in the Good Days Department of Health. This past week I’ve had very little energy to do much except the bare minimum. I’ve been going hard for so many weeks now that I think it might be catching up to me. Football has been a blessing and a curse in that department, and I’m working on making it only a blessing.

Ever since we have started tackling in football, I have faced some emotional backlash with it. In fact, it causes implicit flashbacks to trauma that I have experienced. Both the tackling and getting tackled triggers intense emotions that I struggle to control. Somedays I am able to handle more than others. I’ve done my best to try and combat it, but without the necessary skills or stability, it is extremely difficult. It also doesn’t help with how much pressure I’ve put on this endeavor, or how vulnerable I’ve been feeling with therapy.

There’s nothing I dislike more than not being able to do something. Especially when I’ve really wanted this. It’s hard watching other people successfully tackle and get to play in a game that you love. One of the hardest things I’ve done is to take myself out of the tackling drills and off of the active roster. This is temporary.

Someday, I will start tackling again. Someday, I will get to play in a game. It’s not going to happen overnight. It might not happen next week, or the week after, or maybe even the whole season. I have to be patient with myself. I have to respect my limits, even when I don’t want there to be any. I have to be okay with this. Those are the basic acceptances I need to make before I can move forward. And a part of accepting it is posting it on my blog.

I know hearing this may be troubling for some. It’s not easy to hear that someone you love and care about has gone through trauma. That fact is what makes this hard on me. This is a burden I have bore. It is heavy, and invisible. If you need answers as to what this trauma was, I am unable to give them to you at this time. Just know that your love and support has helped and continues to help me. That is what you can do for me.

I apologize if you donated or bought tickets only to see me play. I will play. I have all of the equipment I need, jerseys to wear, a team to play on. I will get there, and your money and time will be put to good use. Right now, you have directly helped in supporting my team. My family. A family that continues to support me even after my inability to help them succeed on the field. A family that won’t let me down.

To my Slam family: I wish you the best. I promise to continue to be there and support you as best as I can from the sidelines while I get better. I promise to always do what’s best for the team. I promise to get you water and cheer you on. You can guarantee that I will help you get suited up, grab forgotten items, and help you in any way that I can. I hope that I can play with you all soon. I’m determined to get better for all of you and for me.

Thank you all for reading. I will keep you updated as much as I am able. In the meantime, I will be working on getting to a place of acceptance, as well as supporting my team. If you wish to support my team, please refer to my St. Louis Slam blogpost.

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