OK, so I’m somewhat going against one of the key benefits of iRel8 and sharing my story in a public forum, but with iRel8 you choose to share your story publicly or not. I want to provide an example and get the dialogue started in hopes that one (or many) readers can relate, perhaps gain insight, and benefit in their own personal way. As you read, I hope to not offend or make light of situations – by default, I’m somewhat edgy in my tone, sarcastic, and can lace together a tapestry of profanity that rivals the father on The Christmas Story. I’m a real person, with real challenges, and I’m sharing with you in a real way. I hope everyone that submits a blog submission is coming from their authentic self – it’s cathartic to you and could help someone reading your story.
Enough of the obligatory intro bullshit (told you I like to cuss), here is my story. I’m a happily married father of four (two planned, two surprises – no need to comment on birth control, I finally understand it…I think). Our children span from seventeen to six years old – two bold teenage boys and two darling little girls. Our friends laugh because it’s a cacophony of chaos in our house on a daily basis and, honestly, it’s pretty damn funny. Managing a new start-up, dealing with teenage boy problems (dudes, we know the struggle) and little girl challenges (ladies I know you get this part) makes dinner conversations loud and funny and angry and real. Sometimes it really sucks and you think you’re doing everything wrong, then one of your kids does something a good person would do and you feel like, shit, I’m the best dad on the planet! Then they start fighting over a napkin and it’s back to reality.
As a parent I play the role of a counselor, coach, and confidant…often all in the matter of seconds or minutes. When I play counselor, I’m there to listen and gently guide with appropriate steps to help my child; as coach, I’m there to motivate and inspire them to take action; and as a confidant, I’m there to keep my mouth shut when they trust me with sensitive information. If a person gives you their trust and asks you keep it quiet – you do it. It’s scary AF (as fuck) for people to divulge sensitive personal information – they are vulnerable on many fronts. That sensitive information is like “trust-currency” and you are the bank. Every bit of information is like a “trust-coin” and it has immense value to a person. Be extremely mindful of that. Nothing earthshaking here, as parents, we can all relate to the beautifully maddening shit-storm that we encounter on a daily basis.
What is, or was, earth shattering for me was learning recently that a family member was dealing with depression and I had no idea what was happening below the surface. We only found out after a, thankfully, half-hearted suicide scare – but what led my beloved family member to feel so down, so low, so unloved, that death seemed a viable option!?! And, more importantly, how do we relate with them to avoid this in the future? Sure, we went the standard counseling route – with two counselors actually; one, was a complete fucking idiot, and the other was helpful to the extent that clinical help allowed. What I mean, is a qualified counselor receives (or gently pulls) sensitive information from the patient and, if the patient doesn’t provide the full story or important aspects, the help provided by the counselor isn’t as effective as one hopes it would be.
After dealing with the initial crisis, the seriousness if it all began to set in and I was like where in the hell do we go from here? We have to help our family member dealing with depression, help minimize the impact on other members (and try to figure out if one of them suffers as well), and keep it together as parents and professionals. Well, fuck that – it’s hard and I have no right answers – we try to be as open and honest about these problems but does it really, really work? Father time will tell.
I’ve begun to share this story with a chosen few, and now publicly, to get feedback on iRel8. Surprisingly, or perhaps not, when I shared this EVERYONE knew or experienced something like this on a first-hand basis. Some of my closest friends began to share problems I’ve never been aware of and new friends shared stories of their children also suffering depression. One recent conversation with a friend revealed their, at the time, teenage daughter took a handful of ibuprofen one night to end it all. They rushed to the ER and she survived. This was many years ago and she is now recently married and very happy, but it happens all the time and we should be open to talking about it.
While I’ve personally shared an emotional problem I’ve faced, I do wish I had the opportunity to share it confidentially with someone first without fear of judgment or looking bad. That’s what makes iRel8 so unique – members can share anonymously without concern of their trust-currency being handled like the US budget. Information is shared confidentially and the person helping you has dealt with something similar so they are in a great position to help, but since they are anonymous, it is a low-risk, high-reward option. Thank you for taking the time to read this and feel free to comment or post your own story…we’re here to relate!