The good thing about working the early shift is that the trains are emptier than they are during rush hour. The few people that are on this train are either catching some shut eye, or otherwise not paying attention to anyone else. It is just another typical early-morning train ride in NYC.
As I stand here riding this train, my ill dad occupies my thoughts. A lone tear starts to run down my face. I feel myself slipping out of this controlled, measured facade that I put on to get me through these painful days. I start to become overwhelmed, and I panic. Of all the places that one can release emotion, an NYC Subway train is one of the last places I’d pick. On a moment like this, where I am overcome with sadness, having the early shift is a good thing.
How do I regain my composure when something like this occurs? Well, several things happen, and they all happen within seconds. First step I take is to change the song that appears to have triggered the sadness. Next I considered the video that I shared last night about ALS. These two steps helped me fight back the hurt and tears that attempted to swallow me. If you are wondering why the ALS video helped, it is because perspective has been a life saver for me, many times. I rely heavily on perspective to keep my sanity.
Robin Williams recently took his own life over depression. For a period during my youth, I was what one of my best friends aptly dubbed “A suicidal mess.” I understand that depression can pull you down into the depths of hell. However, I have become really good at utilizing perspective as a way of keeping myself even keeled. That, combined with my writing have proven essential tools in what I will call my recovery from depression.
I’m human, and far from immune to the attacks of depression. I still have moments were the demons come after me. Sometimes they get a brief hold of me, but along with help from perspective, writing, and my beautiful wife and son who depend on me, I can keep it together. There is no space in my mind for the types of thoughts that I had as a teen.
Here is part of my thought process, in hopes that maybe my way of thinking can help someone else that is going through a difficult time. My dad is 73 years old. For all intents and purposes, he has lived a full life. I want my dad to get through this rough patch, believe me; I do. However, we are both practical men. As we spoke, he said to me, “I’m an old man, Angel. If I have to go, then hey, I have to go. I’ve been around a while.” I love my pops; it’s funny how alike we are. I’m just like him. Even though we are both hurting, and afraid, we accept whatever comes, and we take it with our heads held high.
I’m writing a post about stories that my dad shared with me. However, that became too difficult and is currently on hold. I will tell you this, considering the lifestyle that my dad lived for a long time, he’s made it very far in life. How many crack, and heroin addicts do you know that made it through a full healthy life? He’s only beginning to have trouble at 73 years old. That’s pretty impressive. Perspective is my savior.
Recently, I shared an #als video that taught me, and touched me like no other. I learned that this disease literally makes you a vegetable. The folks afflicted by this are completely incapacitated. Your body becomes a living prison. The man in the video tells us about his family’s experience with als. He shares what he, and his mother are going through while living with als. He rightfully tells us that this disease scares the f*ck out of him. He’s in the beginning stages of the disease, and man, after watching this video, I was so moved. I’ll be donating to try to help these folks survive. It’s just a terrible disease.
He’s 27 years old, and he’s already beginning to lose his mechanical functions. This disease is a son of a b*tch. My dad is 73, for now; he’s able to walk to his medical bus. He can talk to us. He can express himself, and breathe on his own. As sad as I am, life could always be much, much worst.
Though none of this actually helps my dad, or my family, it keeps me from spiraling into that living hell which we call depression. Maybe this true story will help you?
Growing Up Bronx
Please note the date on a post as it may be an old viewpoint. I keep old posts to show my evolution. The opinions and views expressed here are solely those of the author.