I sure wish I knew someone like Eddie Kingston in High School.
I’ve rarely if ever, felt like I truly fit in anywhere, whether it was my friends or even in my own house. I’ve struggled with my own mental health for as long as I can remember, just like Eddie.
Finding self-worth and self-love has never been easy for me. Every single time someone has ever told me that they loved or cared about me, there’s always been a bit of doubt within me whenever I’d hear it, and that includes everyone I’ve ever heard say it. Not because of anything the people saying it did but because, for the longest time, I had a hard time believing that anyone could love me when I always struggled to find reasons to love myself, just like Eddie.
I’ve used wrestling as an escape my entire life. I didn’t have a lot of friends when I was younger, so old VHS tapes of Survivor Series 97’, Wrestle-Mania 15, and King of the Ring 2001 helped me pass the time. Sure, I’d always get picked on for wearing John Cena’s T-shirts at school, but I didn’t care. Wrestling was one of the few things in my life at the time that I could count on to bring a smile to my face, just like Eddie.
Things are a lot better for me nowadays, I’m as happy as I can ever remember being, but each day doesn’t come without its challenges. There are still times where I shut down socially for no real reason and just want to be left alone. I’m still constantly questioning my standing with my closest friends and family (for no fault of their own). I still have extreme anxiety about my career choice, questioning myself daily about if I have the talent, looks, or work ethic to be a success and that I may have wasted x-amount of thousands of dollars to get my degree. I still occasionally get into depressive episodes where I’m so wrapped up in questioning my own self-worth that I can’t find the energy to get anything done (Sorry Cass). Even now, and this goes all the way back to high school, I’m hesitant about drinking with my friends because I’m not sure I could stop myself from getting into the habit of using alcohol to “self-medicate” when I get down.
The point of this article isn’t for me to trauma-dump to you. A lot of what you just read I’ve never shared with anyone, including my closest friends and family. I always looked at my own issues as something I never wanted to burden others with. That It would be better to just shoulder that weight myself.
Then I read Eddie Kingston’s article for the Players’ Tribune.
It was a good cry. I was so happy for all he’s accomplished. To see someone grind the way he has for almost 20 years finally get their big break is always incredibly cool to see. More importantly, I was thankful that he’s still here.
Because the world needs more people like Eddie Kingston.
Kingston’s article is such a raw, eye-opening, and, most importantly, REAL depiction of what a battle with Mental Health looks like. A battle that those fortunate enough to not have to deal with it could never understand. But I feel that I do. I feel like, even if it’s from a small, outsider’s perspective, I can relate to Eddie. More than anyone I know in my personal life.
We need more people who aren’t afraid to show their scars, and I’m not talking about the cool ones. Not the ones that come with a rad story and might pop a crowd. I’m talking about the ones you can’t see from the outside looking in. The ones that can’t be healed by throwing some dirt on them.
He inspired me to speak out. He showed me that this isn’t a fight that I have to take on by myself. His story told me that you can overcome that fight, keep moving forward and live your dreams, but also that “making it” is far from the end of those struggles. From now on, anytime those thoughts creep into my head, that I’m not good enough, I’m not going to fulfill my dreams, and that things aren’t going to get better, I’m going to think of Eddie.
Because if Eddie Kingston figured out a way to keep moving forward, then why can’t I?