The other day I did two interviews. One was for a podcast, Totally Rad Dads and other for my mother in law project. The questions asked in those interviews where deep and for the first time I was able to talk about it deeply, and it felt good to talk about my struggles, I mean was not easy, but I did feel relief afterwards. That is why I decided to share a bit in this post.
I fought depression and anxiety for most of my life. I had several episodes where I tried to hurt myself, nothing crazy, just thoughts. Most of my depression came and comes (now I learned how to manage) from a difficulty of expressing myself. In part this happens with the fear of being judge which I believed the consequence of that is shame and guilt.
One day I decided to make a change, but I did not really know how, but I started to challenge myself. I started to exercise, and the physical pain was helping, but the mental struggle was still there. I remember after every single ironman it was a case of the Mondays where all mix emotions came out alive. You know, in order to do your best in such an endurance race takes a tool in your mind, in fact one of the greatest athletes in the sport once said: Training is 10% mental and 90% physical, racing is 10% physical and 90% mental.
After one of those ironmans I went on my second biggest depression phase where one day I punch myself in the head a few times. After a lot of intense therapy some things started to get clear in my mind and the emotional numbness that I had all these years started to dissolve. I started to dig where are all those things coming from.
Well, I realized this whole thing was way deeper than I thought, its something that runs deep in our society. You see, I am an iron maiden fan since a very young age. I remember at the age of 5 I asked to grow my hair just like the iron maiden guys, and I wanted to play the guitar like them. But guess what? That was shut off because heavy metal was considered bad and evil. When I was 7 the pope went to my hometown, and that was right after the catholic church prohibit Iron Maiden to play in Chile. I remember seeing him on the news I stood up and literally called him an asshole. Well, of course I got in so much trouble. I could not understand how something that gave me so much joy could be bad or evil? All of these made me angry to a point I tried to stop listening to my favorite songs. But then something happened… I became a Dad, and that is when real changed happened.
After Luke was born several things happened when it comes to spirituality, well they still happen, and they are very strong at time. However, there are 2 big situations that brings a lot to my attention. First, one day I took Luke to a park where a group of kids from a church were there, and they were beyond nasty with Luke, talking about him, pointing, laughing to a point a parent came to take their kids from getting close to Luke. Second, was the Jehovah witness that knock on my door and try to lecture me about disease, and the devil. From that day and beyond I thought, I cannot let this happen with Luke.
So, I started to write and that is when all of this is coming from. Since I struggle with self-expression, I tried a few different approaches on how to pass my massage until, fatherhood rocks came to life. I decided to embrace myself and write about it with this blog, my e-magazine, my podcast and videos. Writing is a self-healing process that may or may not help other and may or may not make people uncomfortable since I talk about things that challenge the status quo. I always try not to be an asshole, but when you talk about things that challenge beliefs sometimes you will sound like an asshole, but oh well…
The funny thing is a lot of Iron maiden lyrics helped me understand and overcome a lot of those challenges, for example the song judgments of heaven, from the X factor album. I know I cannot change the world, but I can be the change I wish to see in the world, and this is what fatherhood rocks is all about.
Richard Wygand – A dad on a mission!
Here is the Iron Maiden song with lyrics is case you are interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TseKeYIKb2M