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Hello listeners & readers! One great advantage to being an independent podcast is that I can adjust my show and schedule without having to go through producers and management to do so. The only people I have to go through are YOU, the loyal seekers of Finding Demo Surf Fishing, and I will take that any day of the week. Y’all have brought me up when I have been down and have helped me find ways to get knowledge from all over the globe to share it. Ok, let's get into this extremely uncomfortable topic.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have had a lot going on in my personal life that has given me pause. I have had to try and evaluate what is essential in my life and start finding the things that have been causing problems and joy. Thankfully, the podcast falls into the “Joy” category, so that isn’t going anywhere. It has been a rough week going through things but worth it.

So why am I sharing this “blog” post with all of you? Because we all hit these points in our life and a lot of those times, it is easy to clam up and go scorched earth without asking for any help. Insert favorite reason here: Guys can’t show weakness, people will think less of me, etcetera.

Because if you get to this point or have been at that point, it is elementary to try and handle it on your own. I was about thirty seconds from shutting everything down, but I thankfully held back and had to reach out for help from somewhere. Because this is a reminder that YOU NEED TO REACH OUT TO PEOPLE WHEN THIS HAPPENS!

This time, I still didn’t reach out for help, even knowing this for well over a week. I didn’t call anyone to try and vent it. I didn’t text my network of friends & acquaintances to see who was available to chat. I pushed off messages from friends that knew something was off and just wanted to swim in this situation to find my way out because I thought I could do it alone. Even after all of my training and knowledge gained of what happens when you do that, I persisted. Stupid? Absolutely. Helpful? NOPE. Useful? Depends on how you paint that picture.

Mental health is critical in life for all of us. Our brains have so much power that we can create scenarios that are not even relevant and find ways to destroy ourselves. Plenty of canvas is in that negative space to paint the ugliest pictures we can imagine without seeing one millimeter of space to put a positive speck of paint. If you look up the research about it, most of us (both men & women) push it off for reasons that make sense at the time. In the long run, I promise, those reasons are just our own insecurities and excuses, will only hurt you more.

We are men! We don’t need help! We don’t want anyone seeing what we are going through because ________ (insert your bullshit excuse here because I do it all the time). I won’t talk about it because no one cares. I’ll do what must be done for this situation to disappear. Sound familiar, gents? Feeling attacked yet? I probably lost a couple readers after this paragraph after rereading it. I have said and felt those things more times than I can remember and definitely did over the past few weeks. I know where you're at! It sucks there. Get outta that box!

I never thought of suicide so you, dear friend, can relax. Unfortunately, I’ve been on the second domino side of that situation and will never go down that path. My birth father committed suicide when I was a kid, which was devastating for me, my sister, and our family. I’ve unfortunately been on the third and fourth domino when my friends from the Marines decided to end their life and watched from the outside as it destroyed their families & friends, with everyone saying, “If only they would have reached out,” murmured and posted to social media. The pain or situation that this person & my Dad just gets pushed down the line and that temporary problem eventually fades away or that consequence of action festers.

Again, I’m not a mental health specialist. I, unfortunately, don’t have the proper attention span for it, and if you’ve spent time with me, you know how quickly I squirrel. If you’ve got some shit brewing, you need to deal with it. Yes, I said NEED. Guys, stop being colossal hardheads and do something to fix your shit! Yes, I’m saying it’s yours because YOU think it is YOURS even if it isn't. It might not be, but you’re shouldering that situation as your own and trudging along. STOP! Stop harboring that shit and get it out of your life! Make the dammed time for it! Find the free ones if money is a problem (yes, there are free ones). Call a friend you know you can tell anything to and send it! We spend so much time as “fixers” that we forget to get fixed. Even in my current state, I’d rather listen to your problems so that you can get on your way lighter. Pro-tip, call your friend and say: “Dude, I need to vent; got a couple minutes?” That way, as friends, we know to listen and not try to fix what you’re going through. VENT THAT SHIT!

Things are getting better on my side now and I know they will for you too if you're struggling. No matter what you're going through, I know it can get better. Even if you're running from a consequence, it will get better once it is dealt with. Thank you all for all the listens to the show and for helping me make it what it is to this day. You all help me in more ways than you know, and I have made some excellent friends I know I can reach out to at any time of the day if something is happening in my life. Thank you for tolerating me as I openly share the shit show I have in my real life that isn’t even fishing-related. Thank you all for the emails with show ideas and requests that I talk with someone you have seen or heard about. Thank you for being family.

Here are a couple resources for a phone call. You can vent AND they will help you find a service for in person.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders. 1-800-662-4357

VA Crisis line (I've used this before while I was on active duty and they are friggin AWESOME!) 1-800-273-8255

Crisis Hotline 866-903-3787

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