In last week's edition of Love Hate I discussed some of the personal struggles I've faced with depression.
It was, and likely will be, the most cathartic thing I will ever do in my life. To be able to release my rawest emotions onto a blank computer screen in a twelve hundred word post was therapeutic. Having said that, I was still biting my nails until they bled moments before it ran.
You never truly know what kind of impact your writing is going to have on your audience. There have been many times where I have missed my mark on this blog and I spent most of Sunday night wide awake in bed, praying that just one person would pick up what I was laying down.
Suffice to say, the outpouring of response was overwhelming. Tweets, emails, text messages all came pouring in on Monday morning and carried through until late Tuesday night.
For the first time ever, I was left speechless.
I received tons of questions as to how I went about the endeavour of explaining my situation. The simple answer is that I drank until I reached that state of numbness before sitting down, hammering out the article and shutting my laptop without even a cursory glance at my sentence structure. I was scared that if I rebooted my computer and refreshed my tabs I might find a way to bargain myself out of publishing the post.
"Don't worry, you can always save your progress and tuck it away in several subfolders to post at a later date. But let's face it, if you do that, you'll probably never post it at all. Which will be better, because they will all laugh at you if you go through with this."
So as I sat in my cubicle shortly after 10:00AM CST last Monday, phone blowing up in my pocket, I became increasingly more anxious of the response which each vibration of my thigh.
As it turns out, your response was resoundingly encouraging. It shook me to my core. It made me feel like I could round-house a bald eagle while lifting Mount Everest with one finger. It apparently inspired some of my cohorts to tell of their battles as well.
This was the highest compliment I could ever be paid. It was unexpected, but so reassuring. To see that others were willing to lay bare their most vulnerable emotions for the world offered me further inspiration. Like I said, I was blown away.
The most heart-warming aspect of the journey was that it reinforced the mantra of Never Alone. The amount of people who freely opened up to me regarding their anguish had me flabbergasted and was the most gratifying part of the process.
Ryan: Thank you for the article! I used to belong to the demographic who has suffered in silence, until recently. Keep up the good fight and keep talking.
TJ: Ryan, I'm so glad that you have begun your process of healing your mind, body and soul. As I learned first hand, speaking out on something so personal isn't easy, but it's also liberating. Best of luck to you moving forward.
Cliff: Congrats on speaking out on your fight with depression. I saved it so I can refer back to it when I need it. Keep on keepin on and go Jets.
TJ: If you ever need anything, drop me a line. You're never alone and I'm always able and willing to listen.
Anonymous: Read your article. I relate more closely than you know. I see someone [in myself] but everyone else [sees] different. It's a process you'll win. I love ya. Trust.
TJ: Thanks bruh. Much love. Together we will get there.
Anonymous: Hey, thanks TJ! Your blog today hit home with me. You did something I've been wanting to do for years, but haven't been able too. I am wondering how you got past the part of how to reveal your "true identity" and how you thought it would affect your friends or those around you? The over-thinking aspect plagues me. Everyone that is true to themselves and the world gives me hope that I can do it too. I hope you really get to where you want to be. You deserve it. I know you've helped me out a lot and we don't even know each other.
TJ: Revealing yourself is never easy, but I think you finally reach a point where your mind can't take the silence anymore. It's something I feel would have been incredibly difficult to do in person, so if you have to write it out, don't feel ashamed. I still haven't talked to my family about it with the exception of my wife who was incredibly supportive in helping me get better. No matter what you think, there are people in this world that love and care for you. You are never alone.
Again, thank you for all your responses. It meant the world to me. Now, on to Love Hate.
Three things I love this week:
Selling Setoguchi: I think most Winnipeg Jets' fans are in the same boat when it comes to our view on Devin Setoguchi. He's become an investment that's gone awry and as management starts to come around to the notion they won't be making the playoffs this year, his expiring contract makes him a prime candidate to be moved at the Trade Deadline. Fortunately, he seems to have broken out of his recent slump, scoring two goals Friday in a win against the Vancouver Canucks. Though his play has been erratic, he has still managed to score ten times this season and I'm sure there will be some other managers facing injury concerns willing to kick the tires on a third line replacement. Or the Jets could just decide to resign them because that would be such a Jets' move.
The Calder Race: We talked about this a few weeks ago but since the playoffs are essentially out of the question, Jets' fans can at least get ramped up about their two horses in the race for the Calder Trophy. While it's currently Nathan MacKinnon's award to lose (he's on pace to crack thirty goals at eighteen, just give it to him), it's been fun to watch Winnipeg's rookies insert themselves as legitimate scoring threats on this roster.
Sochi bound: This will be our last instalment of Love Hate until after the Olympic break. I know, you're crushed, I'm sure. But don't worry, we will have tons of awesome Olympic coverage as we get to enjoy our favourite sport on its grandest stage. This could be the last time we see NHL players competing at the Olympics so be sure to savour every moment.
Three things I hate this week:
Regression to the mean: Remember that hot start Winnipeg had against the Phoenix Coyotes, Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers in which they were dominating the play at every turn? Well that phenomenon seems to have passed, replaced instead by the same old Jets we know and love. Just look at this chart presented by our pals at Hockey Graphs. The regression under Maurice has been nearly identical to what we saw under Claude Noel. But at least they're winning, right?
Struggling centres: At an incredulous 46% efficiency rating, the Jets are dead last when it comes to face-off wins. Of their sub-standard centres, Mark Scheifele has been particularly horrible, ranking last among his teammates with a rating of 42.5%. It's hard to win hockey games when you don't control the puck and unless Winnipeg can continue playing games that feature eight face-offs, they'll be hard pressed to continue their torrid pace under Paul Maurice.
Omnipresent Ovechkin: The Jets will take to the ice at the Verizon Center this week where they will visit the ever-amazing Washington Capitals. While I will try my hardest to remain a neutral bystander, it must be noted that Alex Ovechkin has made a living off carving up this franchise. In fifty-four career games vs. Atlanta/Winnipeg, he has amassed an astounding eighty-one points (40G, 41A), which is more than any other team he has faced. So yeah, I guess you could expect him to be a factor on Thursday.