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13 September 2019

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Today’s #SameHere Hero: Timothy Rixner

I was introduced to Tim through a good buddy from college. After losing important ppl in his life (including a cousin to suicide), going through a divorce & dealing w the aftermath of all the depression & anxiety that built up, the incredible thing is how he’s fought back. This is one of the most thorough accounts I’ve seen written of someone’s “MH plan.” Everything from his meditation to CBD.

 

But the thing I find most interesting is something he calls: “Man Meals” where he gets friends together to talk about anything BUT sports/girls/gambling, & more about life & personal challenges. Very inspiring. Put it ALL in the slides so you can read it all. Welcome kid buddy Tim to the Heroes:

 

“I’ve lost several close people in my life. Young & vibrant people. Relatives, brothers in sport, friends in life. Cancer, sudden death, suicide. Each one has taken me down a different path & road, mentally.

 

As an athlete I’ve also begun aging. Consistent & rigorous competition takes a toll on your body & when you start to struggle w things that used to come so easily in a sport you love & see others go through the same trials it takes its toll on you mentally.

 

I also have dealt w my own depression & anxiety on & off through my life. Recently this year I started going through a divorce which has presented so many hurdles for my mental health. All of these represent different challenges & opportunity for growth.

 

After the somewhat sudden death of a close teammate of mine from tennis in college to a brain tumor, I fell into a recognizable deep depression. When you see a group of men whom are your brothers, fall apart for no reason other than they are human, it does something to you. It wasn’t the first time in my life I’d felt depressed but was the catalyst for me deciding to get help.

 

In 2016 my therapist diagnosed me w depression & generalized anxiety disorder. Have you ever gotten a song stuck in your head? That is what it felt like every day for me… just w fear, worry, sadness & negative thoughts.

 

I was on & off anti depressants that never really worked, even to the point where I took a genetic test to see which medication would help best…long story short they didn’t work.

 

After making the decision to get better w/o medication, becoming more of myself again & getting back to what I knew made me whole, made me happy, I went through another traumatic experience.

 

W/o any real warning or reason my cousin, my unsung brother whom I’d grown up w since I was a young boy, took his own life. He was an amazing human being, an incredible athlete, a wonderful father & a core piece of my life. He seemed so happy on the outside & to everyone who knew him he was a vibrant soul filled w love. This was my wake up call to begin to change the way I viewed depression, anxiety & suicide.

 

When I finally decided I didn’t want to feel so crippled anymore by my thoughts I sought help. I was tired of being disconnected from my soul. Digging into your brain, thoughts, emotions & the core of who you are for the first time at 30 years old isn’t easy but it’s been one of the most worthwhile experiences I’ve had in my life. Some of my family members at the time were very supportive & suggested therapy.

 

It was so helpful to have been working on myself when I went through the experiences I have had recently, especially my divorce. At 35 I feel so much more joy, gratitude & peace & can also feel myself connecting w those things that have made me who I am from a young age. Being happy & whole again even while being single for the first time in almost 8 years is such a rewarding & also odd experience.

 

Steady Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has truly helped me heal. I go to therapy weekly. It’s time that I set aside to work on myself & my growth. I also make sure that I exercise regularly, meditate, do yoga & stay away from caffeine if I can. I love coffee so that can be kind of hard at times.

 

I also spend a large amount of time w my 4 year old golden doodle, Mimi. She’s been a bit of a savior for me and such a healer for others around me as well.

 

Last year I started journaling & that has helped too. I really wanted to be able to dig back through this time in my life & recall what helped, what didn’t, what books I read, what I spoke about w my therapist. It felt necessary.

 

Another thing that I felt has help w my anxiety is helping others with their mental health. Once a month I gather a bunch of my guy friends together & we have a sit down meal at a really good restaurant. No beer & hot wings or top level fantasy football conversation. It’s a forum for men to feel open about their lives, what’s bothering them & to get support from those they know. It’s definitely built a stronger bond between those who’ve attended. I plan on growing it to an even bigger group and expanding on that to some sort of retreat 2-3 times a year. It’s called the ‘Man Meal’ just for a laugh because to some it probably seems to be the least manly thing possible.

 

From a medication standpoint I take a dosage of full spectrum CBD oil & a supplement called Zen every day that contains some natural remedies for anxiety and depression.

 

The majority of people are incredibly supportive when I share my #SameHere🤙 Story, but you always eventually get the same negative comments as a man talking about mental health. We need to fight the stigma that men should be strong enough to go through it alone. You are stronger when you talk about what is bothering you & seek help. We can’t continue down the same path we are on as men. Men take their lives in record, growing numbers & most do it w/o any real outreach for help.

 

Many of my friends have actually opened up & talked to me about their issues too which I cherish. Anyone who feels close enough to share their story whether positive or negative always makes me feel closer to them & to humanity. We’re all in this together. There’s no reason to feel like you need to suffer in silence and alone.”