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Arena Chatter

An Honest Conversation

Today is Bell Lets Talk Day. I have gone back and forth between sharing my own story, but that’s why we have this day. People don’t openly talk about this kind of thing enough, and we want to end that stigma. So here we go.

After a 6 year on and off relationshit (no, thats not a spelling mistake, that is what it was) we decided to call it quits. Nobody could say we didn’t try hard to make it work, as we had gone to couples counselling, we lived together, we lived apart etc. Fact of the matter is, a relationship won’t work without trust, and we just didn’t have that anymore. At 23 I was single and completely lost. Someone had given me the advice to stay busy which would make time fly by, and the sadness subside. I had also been told that how ever long you were with a person, it would take half that time to get over them. This was 4 years ago, and believe me it flew.

I forced myself to be as busy as possible. I bought myself a day timer and started booking myself up. I hit the gym at 6am daily, and rode my horse after work. I hung out with as many friends as possible. I went on trips and went on dates fully knowing I couldn’t actually date the guy, my head was too messed up, but hell, a rebound was a good distraction. I bought myself a faster horse and did things for myself, without having to ask to do it. I started to wear lipstick because I wouldn’t when I dated him cause he didn’t like it, though secretly I loved it. I couldn’t help but think, “damn, why didn’t I become single sooner?”

Over this time I had gained many new friends. With my many new friends I often became their shoulder to cry on as any good friend would do. I however couldn’t just listen, give words of advice and carry on. I have the tendency to feel a great deal of empathy. When my friends feel sadness, I do too. The summer of 2015 I started to feel very burnt out, and more emotional than I had been in a while. I couldn’t tell if it was just because my Papa had been in the hospital so long, if I had been too busy for too long, or if it were the hormones in the birth control I was on. I was in the doctor office for a prescription refill when she had simply asked me, “how are you doing?” I burst into tears for no reason. This happened a lot. I didn’t think much of it. She had asked me a few other questions, then decided I was “mildly depressed” where I would have a few days of a “normal mood” then back to feeling down. Her suggestion was to avoid alcohol, get some vitamin D, fresh air and exercise. If things were to get worse I would have to come back and get meds. I went off my birth control as I felt that it would help me.

In 2016 I had highs, and I had lows. I slept A LOT, cause when you’re asleep you don’t have that heavy feeling in your chest and mind. I had conversations with friends where I would cry my eyes out telling them how I felt and what was going through my mind. What helped me was when they would open up and tell me their own experiences with depression and/or anxiety. Knowing you’re not alone helps immensely. Though sometimes I had thought I would be better off to not be here, the thought of committing suicide made me feel ill, and was something I knew I couldn’t/cannot do.

I continue to go to the gym, eat healthy and keep my alcohol consumption in check. I surround myself with positive uplifting women who love the heck out of me as much as I love them. I chose to not sell my horse because she brings me happiness & I have stopped comparing my life to everyone I see on various social media platforms.

I chose to share this with everyone, hoping someone reading this can feel the same comfort that I did, knowing you’re not alone.

Arena Chatter

Let’s Talk

I have had a lot going on in my head in the last few days. Though I was not close with Ty, and had only hung out with him less than a handful of times, I know that he was different than most. His contagious smile, athletic ability, & kind heart will be missed by everyone. Pozzobon had an outstanding career & touched the soul of each person he met. I know that his family and many of my friends are hurting and it pains me to see the rodeo family grieving.

What does rodeo family mean to you? To me it means support and love. It means brothers and sisters. The rodeo family comes together in times of grievance to lift one another up. To be the shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen when you need someone to talk to. Times like this we need to take the time to grieve. Whatever that looks like for you, I hope you take the time to do this. Do not push the emotions you are feeling aside. If you are mad, be mad get mad, let it out. When you feel sadness surround you, accept it, cry, be sad. We are human and too often run away from these emotions, but I encourage you to embrace them. I hope that in time you will rise up from these emotions and share stories of Ty. Talk proudly of the man that he was. Reminisce of  the friend he was to you.  I hope that you find peace in sharing stories of the best times and what he meant to you with one another.

You don’t have to be a competitor to feel the presence of the rodeo family, as my friend Charmayne Crowe explains, “I’ve never competed but have been around the sport my whole life. I know more about some of these people than I do my own family members. It makes me incredibly proud to be considered part of the rodeo family. I think for the simple reason that not many communities can both compete against each other and love each other so loyally as the rodeo community.”

God & rodeo go hand in hand. Regardless of your religious beliefs, many people find comfort in believing in a higher power. That God has a plan, and that there is rhyme and reason behind all that happens in the world. When we lose someone and don’t understand why, people can find some peace in believing there was a reason that person was chosen to go home to be with their creator. In this time talk to God. Pray for those who have left us, and pray for their family.

Angels. I believe in angels and perhaps Ty is an angel who was sent to us to teach us to be kind to one another, to support, empower and love one another. To live life to the fullest and have no fear. To show us that when we live this way, there is no limit to what we can achieve. I hope that when people think of Ty they not only think of the good times, but are reminded of his character and that we should all live a little more like him.

Maybe we are also to open up our eyes to the world of sports injuries and head trauma and what can come of it.

Concussions have been overlooked in each and every sport. Though Ty rode with a helmet his concussions over time still affected him. I will not go into depth on this as I am not a doctor or specialist. “It’s important that people know about the implications of head injuries as a result of concussions,” Leanne, Ty’s mother said in a statement earlier this week. People in the rodeo community have since began speaking about Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) which is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic sub-concussive hits to the head. Over the last few days many have shared some links to shed light on CTE. Check them out here and here. Though Ty may or may not have had CTE, it is still something worth reading up on. If you would sooner watch a movie to better understand, rather than read, then check out the trailer for Concussion here. We need to educate ourselves more on this matter, especially for our rodeo athletes.

Mental health is something that can go hand in hand with concussions, and we do not discuss it nearly enough. We feel our peers will judge us and not understand, and often they just don’t. If you have any mental health illness, it is just as serious as having any other illness; do not let anyone make you think otherwise. Depression is not something you can just turn off. Yes, it really can get that bad, that a person can feel there is no other option for them, no matter how great their life may look and be. Talk to your friends. Have a relationship with them that is deeper than gossip and surface conversation. We need to end the stigma around mental health. This starts with YOU.

If someone reaches out to you and begins to discuss what they are going through with you, listen. Be there for them & leave your judgement at the door.  They trust they can confide in you without judgement and need an outlet. We have to look out for one another, as we are family.

“When you come to realize that we are truly connected, there are no goodbyes, Love has no disconnect.”Debbie Hausauer

Bell Lets Talk is January 25th. I hope my rodeo family will be present and open on this day, and every day moving forward. #BellLetsTalk