The Hurt Inside

We all experience different types of hurt. Physical and emotional, it always feels the same. Physical of course can be very painful especially if it’s from participating in a athletic event or activity and you do something bad. I used to limp around school in so much pain from plantar fasciitis.

It’s not as bad as breaking an ankle or tearing a ACL or MCL sprain. But basically, your feet really do feel broken. I guess that is the price that can be paid for the physical pounding of running. I was never the most fluid runner. Heel to toe should have been eliminated completely. Prescription orthodox should be a requirement for running. That way you have a protective arch and aren’t naked on the concrete.

Mental pain is just as taxing due to the stress. Whether it be in the form of rejection from that hot girl turning you down or chronic anxiety which can do a number on your psyche, there’s only so much we can take. I can remember going through a difficult period about a decade ago. Of course, it involved a girl who I liked. But I basically punished myself. I couldn’t eat or sleep. Naturally, I became dehydrated and a mess.

Sometimes, the mind really overworks. We’re pushed into overdrive when we overthink. That’s a lesson I learned. It’s better to just speak. Say what’s on your mind. No matter what the response is, you will feel better. It doesn’t always have to be the opposite sex. It can be depression from a number of things. I used to score basketball games at a private school Berkley Carroll in Park Slope, Brooklyn. And for no apparent reason, I started to feel really sick inside. Like I was either gonna pass out or die.

That was a pretty scary time. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. Only that it couldn’t continue. I had to do something about it. I wasn’t on the right medication. Nor did I know the proper diagnosis for my panic symptoms. It was only when I did volunteer work at a clinic that I discovered the panic disorder I suffered from. Panic attacks are common. It can come for no reason at all. But usually, it’s a social setting with a crowd of people.

There would be Ranger games we would be at with my family and friends when suddenly, it came. I couldn’t even breathe. That’s what it felt like. The pain was sometimes too much. There were moments when I had to leave MSG early and go for walks outside or just back to the car and listen to the rest of the game on the radio. It was then when I was alone that I cooled off and felt better.

The deadening of legs and random joint paints and heart racing can cause so much fear and panic. It was like I was crying for help inside. No matter how much I hid it from the outside. There were enough times at the basketball games where I always acted the part as if everything was cool. I would do random freestyles at the scorer’s table to crack up the people who worked with me. No matter how much pain, it was a way of coping. Somehow, I got through it.

Overcoming the hurt inside can be very hard. There are peaks and valleys. I still have my moments where I feel overwhelmed. It’s why I have not accomplished what I want. I can’t let it hold me back any longer. I must reach my potential. When I was in my 20’s, I didn’t care. I just made it happen and didn’t pay attention to such distractions. That method is how I scored my best gig as a hockey statistical researcher at ESPN at the headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut. At 25, I was living on my own with an apartment set up and paying my monthly bills and my student loan.

Ever since I came home, that’s when the anxiety started. It’s hard to explain how or why. Only that my brother had his own personal ordeal which I finally got to see. Maybe that wasn’t the best environment for me. But I needed to be there for him. I always have been. And maybe that’s why we’re best friends who can’t be separated.

At some point, I need to break through. To escape. 2017 is fast approaching. My goal is to make it happen. Whatever it takes. One thing though. I will always be there for my brother. Even if we no longer share a roof, that will never change. Family always comes first. It’s how I was raised. I am very proud of the positive steps he’s taken. Now, it’s time for me to do the same and stop holding me back.

There’s been too much hurt lately. Whether it’s the loss of friends or me crying out for help, it’s too negative. I like to stay positive. When it gets too down, I turn to music or feel good shows like The Wonder Years which have life values. Yeah. I’ve been rewatching it on Net Flix. So much of that show makes sense to me. I understand why things are the way they are. I understand so much more than I used to.

Never Give Up. That’s a message that stands with me. Or as the great Jim Valvano said:

DON’T EVER GIVE UP

Look at Jimmy V who I again donated money to for cancer research. Or Stuart Scott. Now we lost Craig Sager, who fought so valiantly for two and a half years before succumbing to Leukemia last Thursday. He personified all that was right in covering sports with great journalism, a kick ass personality and amazing attitude despite the terrible disease he fought. Between the colorful outfits, there was the professional Sager on the NBA sideline with his fascinating interviews on TNT. No matter how much Gregg Popovich didn’t like them, you knew he loved and respected Sager.

Everyone did. Just listening and watching different tributes from former colleagues, NBA players, etc., Sager was amazing. You’ll never hear a bad word uttered about this man who had a wonderful wife and children that loved him. He was tremendous.

I’ve learned a great deal. So many people suffer from this chronic disease. It must be stopped. The same way suicide must end. We have to be there for our friends. Knowing a friend who committed suicide is mind numbing. I have friends who have lost others to suicide. It’s all too common. I spoke to a coworker who lost her nephew to suicide. He was only 22. It’s crazy.

We need to raise mental awareness. An area that isn’t covered enough. So many people are suffering. I vow to do good on this and gain a following. Let’s call it one of my life goals starting next year. Love each other. Be kind to each other. Unite as one. That’s my message. Who’s with me?

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Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included two stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil games. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has scored Berkeley Carroll basketball games since 2006 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. From players, coaches to administrators, it's a first class program. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree.

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