I had terrible insomnia last night. I went to sleep probably at 2:30 am or so and woke up a little before 6. It wasn’t a great night for me mentally as I got pretty depressed in the early hours of the morning and also drank a little too much rum as I thought I was in a good place before all of a sudden my brain bottomed out. I had some drinks to watch The Last Dance on ESPN because since sports are done the documentary has been my go to sporting event much like when my team plays a big weekend primetime game.
When I woke I didn’t feel physically the best as I had heartburn and was sore and felt a little hungover which I suppose is what you get when you drink too much rum and don’t sleep enough but I also woke up to loads and loads of shame. The thing is I’m putting a lot of effort into my mental health and getting some mental stability the last couple of weeks and having a “meltdown” for lack of better phrasing feels like a failure. I feel like all the effort at being my “best self” is a sham because I had a mini depressive moment. Because of this though I did my 30 minutes immediately and before the other meditations I’ve been doing throughout the day and while it was kind of an unfocused mess and not in any way what would have got me closer to sleep (which a part of me wanted) I basically waded through surface level thoughts that got to nothing too deep and I wondered if doing what I was doing was going to be worth it for the day or even at all. But I did finally come to some idea of what was going on.
Before I continue I want to preface this with a disclaimer that what I’m about to talk about will probably come across as a superficial problem. I also want to throw out there that one of my issues seems to be ignoring emotions (it’s hard to control when an emotion comes up. It seems like they kind of just appear) because I don’t think they are significant enough to warrant acknowledging. For example I have issues acknowledging that being bullied growing up caused problems for me because in comparison to kids who had extremely troubled upbringings….it really pales in comparison. This is a little bit different but I think it’s indicative of a deeper issue.
When I watch entertainment, like a movie, TV show or sports it’s more than just something I take in. I have thoughts and observations about said entertainment and I want to share it with other people. It’s one of the reasons I write movie reviews for another blog (https://joshwatchesmoviessometimes.wordpress.com/ ) Because of this I almost view enjoying something like this as a social event. One of my favorite parts about the Cubs winning the World Series wasn’t just the moment itself it was the fact that it was such a big event I was connected to people I had never been connected to before or with people who I hadn’t been connected to in years. The same thing happens when Iowa football has had a magical season in the past. People talk about the game and I gain a connection with people from my home state in a special way.
Because of this I have always dabbled in online communities when it comes to sports. I started with AOL chat rooms in the mid 90s, shifted to ESPN message boards in the early 2000s and then to more specialized communities in the late 90s up until the last few years. The thing is though, these communities have fizzled out as the members have gotten older and the way consumption of online content has changed.
Opinions are spouted all over sites like Twitter and running blogs like SB Nation but it seems the “community” is so broad that ultimately your handle is just one of so many that any opinions spouted on sites such as these just gets lost. The interaction just isn’t there unless you have a certain amount of followers or you happen to post at just the correct time and basically it feels like the events that I used to watch in such a connected way just happen and then they’re kind of gone for me.
I’ve felt this way about sports, especially since moving away as all of my favorite teams are from the Midwest and I live on the east coast. I try to gain that connection by scrolling Twitter during games but it’s not the same as it used to be when I would interact with other users in a game thread. Obviously what triggered me last night wasn’t a live game, it was a documentary but again, it’s a thing that’s trending on Twitter a lot but I don’t have a community to go to where I can talk about it. Any comments I make on it are ignored, and that’s fine if people aren’t interested that’s totally reasonable, but it makes me feel isolated watching something that I am passionate about. It creates such an isolated feeling for me when I have so many memories tied to watching the Chicago Bulls in the 90s, memories that I can tie to certain social moments in school and with friends at the time, that I want to reminisce but there’s no one there to reminisce with anymore. Maybe that’s partially my fault as I haven’t always maintained relationships and I’m sure there are ways to still be connected to a sports community, I’m just getting older and more stubborn but it doesn’t change the fact that the sadness and feeling of isolation are still there.
I’m ultimately hoping that this moment I had last night was a roadblock. I always expect moments of pain to occur in some capacity. It’s a very human thing and to not experience pain would in a weird way be a let down. Part of the reason I want to continue meditating is to not let that pain control me but rather interact with that pain in a way that continues to allow me to function and be a strong person. I hope going forward I make strides towards doing that because, for now, I feel like a failure.