Hoping like most that 2021 would provide a fresh start and be more tolerable than 2020, I expected to get through the physical therapy from both shoulder surgeries, recover, regain my strength and move on with my life. Suddenly the gym equipment became available from different stores. I went on a nice spending spree getting a squat rack, hundreds of pounds of weights, dumbbells, bought a Peloton Bike and Tread for my wife since all she wants to do is cardio, and I slowly regained the 20 years of muscle development I had lost to atrophy from COVID and the surgeries. Finally, I was back to being normal, lifting again, following the routine, managing stress and using the gym as an outlet to release all of my unfulfilled needs. However, even with the new house, the new gym and no real wants or needs, having the kids schooling virtually was an absolute nightmare and constant strain on me professionally and on our home personally.
The complete lack of boundaries as we all tried to navigate educating young children via zoom was unbearable at times. Working in the garage because I lost my office space I had in the old house, it was damn near impossible to do anything meaningful, let alone try to attend meetings via zoom or teams or webex as my kids came out to ask for help, as my wife came into the garage to do laundry or workout since everything was in the garage. I found myself living in a twilight zone. Up at 4am, into the garage, coffee, read, workout, shower, garage again to work. I was spending 15 hours a day in a dusty, busy, icebox during the winter and sauna during the summer. Because I get up at 4am and evidently I snore, I became further and further detached from my family and house. I was spending most nights on the couch, most of my toiletries were in the front bathroom to avoid disturbing anyone, I eventually moved my entire closet to the garage so I could get dressed without disturbing everyone and ultimately, one day I realized, other than the toiletries in the front bathroom, I have nothing of my own in the master bedroom, not a single item, let alone anywhere else in the house. I think one can imagine how wild and fulfilling my marriage had become.
The pandemic had not yet slowed, people were still petrified to do anything and that was quite prevalent in my house. While I continued to believe that taking care of myself and following the advice of my doctor on dietary supplementation (I've supplemented Glutathione, Vitamin D, Quercetin, Multis, Omega, Turmeric, Creatine daily for years) that I would be in a position to fight any viral infection and that if I did get exposed, there were antivirals in market that could be taken to help mitigate the severity of the symptoms. We had now begun to fundamentally disagree about pretty much everything, including on how best to keep ourselves and our children healthy. I was displeased with a lack of intimacy before COVID but now it was non-existent and I found myself retreating further into a lonely cycle of apathy towards life, anger and resentment towards my spouse, and depressive bouts of melancholy about where my life got sidetracked and became unbearable. Finding gratitude was damn near impossible. Meditation didn't help. Lifting didn't help. Cardio didn't help. Spending money did. I found new ways to spike the dopamine and manage the valleys of despair.
In a fleeting moment of joy during the summer, post-surgery recovery and cleared to start throwing baseballs, footballs and the like to my son and daughter, I got a little too excited throwing water balloons and as you might guess, reinjured myself. I tore my labrum off the bone. Completely detached the labrum from the shoulder and again wound up in an MRI. Just about one year to the day as the first injury, I had found a way to plunge further into the valley of despair. Surgeon recommended the same surgery for a third time but I was unwilling to undergo that again. I was unwilling to be put under a third time in one year, to undergo that level of surgery and recovery. The alternative option he gave me was PT and hope I have a high pain tolerance. Luckily, as an addict who refused any narcotics post-injury or post-surgeries, I had learned to live with the pain. To anyone who lives in constant physical pain, who does so without chemical intervention (alcohol, advil or any opioid), I hope you have found a release for the mental health issues that accompany constant physical pain.
I took up journaling which helps to, at the very least, express my anger and frustration with life. Being in pain and having a sexless marriage will make you angry at everything. Having no physical release is debilitating. No one has a perfect life, I know that. Everyone has struggles. I realize I am well-compensated, never have to worry about food or shelter, about my safety, about my kids not being fed or safe but nonetheless, the struggle we all feel, is real. There can and will always be worse than what you're experiencing now but that doesn't diminish the struggle. I am grateful for everything good in my life, I just wish some of the most important things to me were better and everyone should have the right to search for the things in life thsat can make them happy.
Until tomorrow, or maybe the next day.