Identity Crisis

I was reading over old blog posts looking for a reference I thought I made and I re-read my favourite one that I have ever written. It’s so positive and hopeful. I feel like somebody else wrote it.

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It’s been a rough couple of months. I’ve been trying to write, but I feel like I have nothing to say that I haven’t said before. It’s like driving down a long stretch of highway where the scenery all looks the same. I start to feel like I’m not getting anywhere and it’s never going to change.

I’m not convinced otherwise.

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I’ve been sick a lot recently. My latest battle is with arthritis, cause unknown. People tell me I’m too young to have arthritis.

People used to tell me I was too young to have hip problems.

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Before I identified as anything else, I identified as a hockey player. My hip problems, which are ongoing, stemmed from the unnatural way a hockey goalie bends their legs to form a solid wall, pushes up and down and side to side with awkwardly angled knees.

It used to be hard to imagine going a week without playing hockey. When injuries finally forced me to quit, I would dream about playing. I would wake up with bruises on my right foot from making kick-saves against the wall in my sleep.

I am no longer a hockey player. I haven’t touched a puck for five years.

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It’s a hard thing, losing a piece of your identity like that. You have certain things that drive you, that frame your choices and put your life in context. I was in great shape and I didn’t drink, for the purposes of being a better hockey player. Were those things better than the alternative? I didn’t really know. They were for the purposes of being good at hockey, but once I had lost my frame of reference, my actions ceased to be purposeful.

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After I was a hockey player, my search for a new identity lead me to body build. It allowed me to get the endorphin release of exercise in a more controlled manner, and channel my competitive spirit and drive into something that made me feel better about myself.

But the injuries kept piling up, and I convinced myself eventually that I needed to stop, try to heal my body and balance it better, and rebuild from scratch.

It was around this time that I went vegan.

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Some people might recall that during the summer, I tried to eat a little fish for health reasons. It didn’t go down right, but my health has gotten worse, so I’m trying again.

I had been a vegan for two years, but my ailing health and medical professionals have suggested to me again that I may need to consume animal products in order to improve my health to a livable baseline.

I think there are a lot of good ethical and environmental reasons not to eat animal products, especially those raised on factory farms. Before this, my food choices had been purposeful.

Now I’m just a guy who eats.

 

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I’m spending some time in the states with my girlfriend, who is about the only thing that makes me happy. Being here means I can’t play online poker.

So who am I, exactly? All of these things that I’ve self-identified as, that I’ve used to frame my decisions, are no longer a part of my life.

I had planned to use my time here to reclaim parts of my identity. I wanted to work on my physical health (which has a fairly big impact on my mental health) and to work on my writing. Instead, my arthritic joints have prevented me from putting in work physically, and sapped me of my motivation. I feel hopeless and purposeless.

They were all right. I’m too young to be dealing with this shit.

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8 thoughts on “Identity Crisis

  1. Hey,

    sorry to hear/read all this, I struggle myself with depression,happyness,dating, generally I would say knowing what I wanna do and also a bit health, but that comes down mostly to being tired actually.Anyways, basically what I wanna say is that your not alone and you know, Ive been depressed since Im what,16 or sth like that, so a decade or so, but lately Im doing quite a lot better with a few bouts of depression,usually when I wake up. I think what it came down to for me was really accepting that Im doing/being depressed, for a Reason(like good reason,it made sense when it started).
    I also found this pretty useful:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Saf2mPhdsw and tuning in to a happy life,also same author.

    I think I made some similar comments quite some time ago here, but if you wanna write or talk just contact me, altho Im almost certain you have close friends you can rely on,just saying.

    take care

  2. Also readin other blog entries, and knowing my own experience it seems like you also have trouble accepting yourself and for me that means feeling as little as possible by numbing out, which is a terrible receipy since we(humans) are feeling creatures.So regarding your body image and sadness I would highly advice trying to really feel those things in your body when you become present to them. Like I dont know if you can cry or do that alot, for me its a big hurdle,I couldnt cry for years and still have trouble with it, I just automatically push it away which is unfortunately the opposite of what we should do.
    Geez,hope I dont sound like a douch with all Im writing here because you probably know all that anyway or tried already.

  3. Arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. I have it pretty bad in hands (working and playing drums) and feet (broken toe). It got so bad i was willing to try anything. I read a woman’s experience w/ curing her son’s arthritis by going gluten free, and guess what? It worked for me. 30 days of no barley, wheat, beer, rye, etc. and i felt like a new person. It was unbelievable. When i accidentally have a small amount the arthritis and chronic pain return for weeks.
    google “the boy with a thorn in his joints” from New York Times. Don’t be dissuaded by the haters against the gluten free ‘hype’. Scientific research is growing and there are many stories and resources online.

  4. if it spreads to your hands i recommend isotoner arthritis gloves: the pressure keeps blood flowing. I can bend my fingers, use my hands and i’m not as clumsy when i wear them. Hands used to hurt like hell upon waking in morning, but when i sleep with them its no prob. Pressure socks available too if its in your feet or lower legs. Knee braces etc. Amazing how few doctors know of these things.
    Have u been to a rheumatologist? I had a bad experience with one so i’ve had to figure it out myself.
    good luck

  5. Pingback: Identity Crisis II | NeverScaredBlog

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