06/25/20 #SameHere Hero: Matt Wolff

Today’s #SameHere Hero: Matt Wolff

For 40+ years, all of my friends and family knew me as someone who is always on the go. My calendar was full of concerts, sporting events, annual vacations with friends. It was a running joke.

I was a happy person even though I had gone through some tough times. It took me over 10 years to get a job worth putting on my resume. I had long stretches of unemployment (even though I still went on my trips and attended lots of events). My father passed away from Pancreatic Cancer when I was 29.

I eventually found resume worthy jobs (WorldWide Ticketcraft and LexisNexis) and had some pretty successful years. Life was really great and I was as busy as ever having a great time. My fun factor was off the charts.

In January of 2016, I met my future wife. We were exclusive pretty quickly, which was a big change for me. Everything was going well and about a year and a half later I sold my house and moved in with her. Another huge change for me as I had never lived with a girlfriend before. I was still very happy with life and with the decision. Fun Factor was still off the charts. We traveled the world and genuinely enjoyed spending time together.

After 3 straight years of achieving Circle of Excellence at LexisNexis (you win an international trip and get a nice bonus), my compensation plan was changed and now I had no chance for COE. I started making less money each year and had some issues at work. I wasn’t happy there, but still happy overall. I started to look for another job but didn’t find anything worth moving to.

In November of 2017, Sixthman put together a Warped Tour cruise. I was a Sixthman veteran as I go on The Rock Boat every year). It sailed out of New Orleans and I decided to go. I went alone but there would be other Rock Boaters that I know. I flew in a couple of days early to enjoy New Orleans. For some reason a few days prior I was feeling tired and not hungry and not wanting to go out. When in New Orleans, I slept a lot and didn’t eat much which is very unusual for me anywhere, especially one of my favorite cities. I forced myself to get out of the hotel and go eat. I went to Bourbon Street, Hornets NBA game, and a King Cake festival. It was okay. I didn’t have as good a time as I normally would and I felt anxious. I finally got on the ship and it was an awesome vacation. I had a great time, my appetite was back and was excited to be out and about. When I got home everything was fine and so I thought maybe I just had a moment.

Fast Forward to September of 2018. I asked my girlfriend to marry me. I was very excited about it, even as I was ring shopping. I decided to surprise her and boy was she surprised. She actually thought I was kidding and it got awkward for a few minutes when I had to explain that it was real. I was still unhappy at work but I had started a company called Ticket Time Machine so I was excited about the future and still very happy overall.

In December of 2018, I started to have some of the same symptoms as before. I was tired all the time and slept a lot. I lost my appetite and my desire to go anywhere. I had a trip planned to see my nieces and nephews and I remember calling my brother and sister the day before and telling them that I didn’t want to go because I didn’t want to be around everyone feeling like this. I ended up going and while I didn’t enjoy it the way I normally would, I’m still glad I was able to make myself go.

I didn’t tell a lot of people what was going on, but the ones I did mostly figured it was because of getting engaged or my job. They thought I was just down. I knew it was more but still thought I could beat it on my own.

We were engaged and planning a wedding. I remember going to our engagement photo session and thinking about how I didn’t really want to be there. Not a great feeling to not be excited about your engagement photos. I really wanted a summer wedding and so we planned for June 29, 2019. We ended up finding a place and put down the deposit. The planning was on the way.

It was now March of 2019 and I was at the SEC Basketball Tournament in Nashville. It’s an annual trip with my friends in one of my favorite cities for one of my biggest passions, Gator Basketball. I didn’t want to be there. My appetite wasn’t great and I didn’t want to go out or be at the games or be social with some of my closest friends. At this point, there were initial conversations to see if we could push back the wedding and what the cost would be. When I got home from the trip, I finally accepted that I will have to go see a doctor.

I first went to my general Dr. He asked all the usual questions. I told him that I had no appetite which was very unusual for me. I had lost 30 pounds (something I needed, but not this way). I told him I was engaged and not crazy about my job. He sent me to a specialist who ordered an endoscopy and colonoscopy. At this point, I figured I was depressed but wanted to make sure it wasn’t something bigger. You can drive yourself crazy looking up what your symptoms could be. The test came back normal, but I knew something was wrong and figured it was depression. Not sure why the doctors didn’t suggest it, but something had to be done.

It’s still March and I’m still engaged and the wedding is planned for 6/29/19. I wasn’t in great shape and we were at the point where if we were going to postpone it, we needed to act. It was going to cost the $5,000.00 deposit, but I didn’t see any other way. We had dinner with my mom and her parents. I told them that I didn’t know what was wrong, but I knew it wasn’t that I didn’t want to marry their daughter. At first, they were skeptical, but they could tell from the look on my face, my words, and the tears that I was hurting. I said I will go get help and we will plan for another time and place to get married. They were very supportive.

I remember being very nervous. I didn’t necessarily have a negative stigma associated with mental health and medication, but I knew that I didn’t want to take pills the rest of my life. I also knew that I couldn’t go on like I was. I couldn’t eat or work or think right. I knew going in that she was going to prescribe medication, but I didn’t expect it to be so mechanical. She asked the same generic questions you find online and then said you need medication and she prescribed Sertraline. It was a terrible experience and I didn’t leave confident. I filled the prescription because I know I need it, but I decided that I wasn’t going to go back to her and I found someone else. Turned out to be the right move. She gave me way too low of a dosage. It did nothing for me. My new doctor increased it and in a couple of weeks I was eating again and feeling more like myself. I also saw a therapist to talk to. It’s recommended to do both and I agree. I think the talk was helpful to discuss what is going on and talk in general. I don’t think there was any earth shattering discovery. I was obviously depressed. Why? We didn’t know. He thought it could be seasonal or just a chemical thing.

The medication worked great. I was pretty much back to my normal self. I met with my doctor and discussed lowering the dosage since we had ratcheted it up when it wasn’t working. We lowered it a little bit. Everything was going well and we were planning our wedding for 2/29/20, Leap Day. I was more excited now than I was when we first got engaged. My business was starting to pick up and I was getting ready to leave my job which I hated. New Years came and went. I had an awesome time on my bachelor weekend in Key West with 18 of my closest friends. It was now February and the wedding was at the end of the month. I ended up not going on The Rock Boat in January and switched to the Train Cruise: Sail Across the Sun. I had been on it before and knew that I would know some of the people on there. A few days leading up to the cruise, the feeling of being tired and not excited was back. I got on the ship and had a good time. Music, drinks, and friends always help. When I got back, it was 10 days away from the wedding. I was excited and nervous, same as I figured most people were. The week of the wedding I started to get tired and not motivated. I upped the medication because I needed to feel better. It worked a little and once my friends and family were in town, I was feeling pretty good about everything. We had a lot of fun the night before with the out of towners. The day of the wedding was perfect weather. It was so much fun. Everything went according to plan. I was happy to be married and thankful to be around the people I love.

We departed for our Honeymoon, Barbados and Antigua. I wasn’t feeling myself as I was really tired but it was my honeymoon and I was going to push through it. I had a good time because it’s hard to not have a good time on your honeymoon, especially in Barbados and Antigua. I didn’t really drink much, but we had good meals and relaxed a lot, mostly because I was wanting to rest and sleep. We did some day trips and activities. It wasn’t as bad as before, but I knew something was wrong. When we got back, I immediately went back to the doctor and told him I didn’t think the medication was working. We talked and decided to add Wellbutrin to the mix.

I’m happy to report that today I am doing great. I’ve never been happier (aside from missing concerts and sporting events because of the Pandemic). I’ve also never been more motivated in all aspects. I think the Quarantine has been the best thing that could have happened. I had time to work on myself without worrying about having to go anywhere and do anything.

I don’t know what is going to happen once the world opens up again. I will definitely have some anxiety about going out and doing things. I am confident that will pass. I still don’t really know what happened to me. I know I was depressed, but I don’t know why. I can’t pinpoint a special event. I don’t really get stressed about anything, but maybe it built up and needed to be let out. I’m nervous about what will happen towards the end of the year as both of my “episodes” happened around that time. I’m confident I will get through it and if I need more help, I will ask for it. I was lucky. My dark days weren’t as dark as they could have been. Many people aren’t as lucky. Some spend their whole life fighting a losing battle. Some don’t make it out alive. My story isn’t over, but I will do whatever I have to do to make it a happy one.

I’ve learned that you should never be embarrassed or afraid to ask for help. We all need it at some point in our life. If anyone is feeling like they need to talk or vent or laugh or cry, I will always be available and happy to hear from you ANYTIME. There are also plenty of good resources.

#SameHere #WeAreAllALittleCrazy

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