6/8/18 – I think I know why I like Phil Kessel

I vividly remember all of the events that have triggered the most severe bouts of depression I’ve ever gone through.

I dealt with depression to a minor degree growing up, but the most traumatic events I dealt with as a kid didn’t hit me much until I was an adult. My parents divorce, my hospital stay, the indifference of my family to me after I left young childhood, and even the financially crippling events I dealt with as a new college graduate made little visible impact on me.

When my wife left me with very little morning at 11:30 pm on a week night late in May of 2016 I broke. I’m still broken, and honestly I know I’ll never be fixed. Every triggering event I vividly remember stems from that.

I remember her telling me then I remember going into convulsions and throwing up in the bathroom because I cried so hard every fiber of my body hurt.

I remember walking into the bedroom a few days later and seeing her looking at iTunes on this very computer listening to a song I would have never expected her to listen to. These are the lyrics:


They aren’t complex or even necessarily good, but they stuck with me. I think I had listened to it once or twice before that. Now? Number two.


I remember going into HEB and losing my composure the weekend after she moved out. I went to buy shampoo, and it occurred to me that I had never purchased shampoo on my own before. I wandered around the aisle aimlessly looking. The makeup lady asked if I needed help and I told her that story for some reason.

The most recent one might be the worst, but it could be recency bias. Facebook decided I should see her latest post, a list of ten things she reminds herself. It isn’t her fault I saw it, but I read it.


I’ve been in a very bad place since.

I saw the news about Anthony Bourdain, and I felt so bad for him. This was a man trying to do his best to cope, survive, and thrive. His passing and the responses to his passing on Twitter made an impact on me.

I see people trying to be understanding tweeting messages of support and I’m torn. They’re trying to be supportive, but I don’t think many know what it’s like to truly battle depression. The equating of being sad with the overwhelming feelings of depression is tough to read. Many times battling depression isn’t even a battle. Often, at least in my case, I simply don’t give a shit.

I know for myself that I do try my best, even if most of the time it isn’t close to good enough. When I see Phil Kessel I see a man doing his best to function in a culture not made for his personality. I see a cancer survivor putting points on the board while coaches have dick measuring contests with him despite the fact that he’s going to win the battle every time.

Phil isn’t right every time. He does things to ruffle feathers, but he’s doing his best. His best results in high quality production. I see a man fighting off bullshit to live to the best of his abilities in a culture where sexual predators and racists keep getting promotions and raises.

I think I like Phil Kessel for being himself despite everything. I probably always will.

One thought on “6/8/18 – I think I know why I like Phil Kessel

  1. This is why I like Phil Kessel and why I like you.

    I know we’re basically strangers, but I’ve very much enjoyed following you on Twitter and through your various hockey writing places. As someone who has (and does currently) struggled with depression, it’s always great to see others surviving and doing good things despite it.

    If you ever need a non-judgemental person to vent to, just slide in my DMs.

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