Manxiety Diaries: 40-Something Canadian Football Coach

Today is the first post in the Manxiety Diaries series, based on New York Magazine’s Sex Diaries, where I ask anonymous men to record a week in their anxious and stressed out lives with the hope that it will help others who are going through something similar not feel alone. Check back each week for a new Manxiety Diary!

This week’s post is written by a 40-Something Canadian Football Coach. Everything said below is directly from the contributor.

Stress and anxiety have been a constant battle for much of my life.  It has progressed as I have entered my midlife of existence.  The more “successful” I have become, the more stress and anxiety has entered what I do and has complicated my everyday life.  As one become successful, you would think that you become less stressed and anxious.  This has never been the case.


The pressure that I have put on myself to be successful has been the key to living with an increase of stress and anxiety.  How people think, react and talk about me creates lots of anxiety that can become crippling when no one is looking.


I have tried so many things to get rid of my anxiety, or at least deal with it.  I have limited or cut out the stressors that I can cut out.  Everyone has to work, so that is non-negotiable at this time.  But I have also read, studied, take medication for how to deal with my anxiety.  I have changed my diet, exercise regimen and at times who I am so that I can “please” those around me as to reduce the anxiety that is created.  Your writing and the site has helped me on this journey, but that journey is a new one that has just begun. I have the answers already to so many of my stressors and how anxiety is created.  My problem, for the most part, is that I am unwilling, or unable to cut them out of my life.  I have also thought about moving to the backwoods and moving out on a life journey off the grid with my wife away from the “rat race” of life.  


Friday, February 10th, 2017

9 AM: Ugh. It’s morning again, and I don’t want to get out of bed and do any work. Healthy people have the mental endurance to show up to work five days a week, and I don’t think I’ve ever been able to do that. I’ve focused for awhile on getting to a good mental place, and I still don’t have the stamina to work five days straight. Will I ever? And how am I ever going to have kids and have the stamina to work?

5 PM: So, to get myself to start working, I got out my To-Do list, and decided to go for the easiest item first (I know, not what you’re supposed to do…). This item was to reply to all of the messages I’ve received from friends and family from all of the different mediums that you can receive messages from. I always avoid this. I let them build up for a few days (during bad times they can build up for weeks) until I feel guilty enough about it that I can’t start other work until I deal with them. That’s how it winds up on my To-Do list. I have no bad relationships, and no real reasons to avoid responding to these people, yet I still avoid them. And then I feel guilty. So, today I spent hours replying to some nice messages from my friends and family. I didn’t get much else done. How are you supposed to be able to focus on work when you also have to keep up with life??


After falling asleep the night before at 10 p.m., I woke on a day off at 6 a.m. ready to conquer the day.  I wanted to have a “me” day trying to get caught up in my readings, and football planning for coaching our provincial team at the U18 level.  


From 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. things went very well, but of course, a phone call from a colleague triggered another out of control anxiety attack that had my heart pounding through my chest.  I spin with a dizziness that makes me light headed and gives me chest pain.  I am now taking heart medication as my blood pressure is through the roof.  I am also taking anti-anxiety and depression meds, although I will admit, I do not like taking them as I feel it is a sign of weakness for some reason.  


Money and financial instability is also a trigger for my anxiety and stress.  I took my wife out for supper this evening to try and beat the busyness of Valentines Day that is coming up this week.  For some reason, I was on edge the entire meal as I was anticipating the bill at the end and worried that I would not have enough money or that something would go wrong.  The anxiety that was created by over thinking made for a miserable night out as I was snappy and quick tempered the entire evening.  Everything went fine, but the anxiety of thinking it wouldn’t create a situation that made me in a terrible mood.


We were also supposed to go to a movie, but I had to apologize for my behavior and we both agreed to return home to watch a film which proved to be an excellent decision.  We had a fantastic night together.


Today I had a fantastic day free from anxiety and stress.  I completed lots of work and had ample time to spend reading and going to the gym to train.  I probably should spend some time with my family, especially my children.


If anything, this is starting to create some anxiety for me as I know I am not meeting their needs with how busy I am at work.  Both my girls are adults, 19 and 21 years of age.  My oldest is in Mexico right now so I can’t spend a lot of time with her right now, but I think this is something that must start to become a priority or my guilt and anxiety are going to take ahold of me.  My youngest lives with us still and I feel that I should probably take her out for coffee.  Family day is coming up so I think we should make some plans as a family and get back to building our connections.

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Ben Foley

Author Ben Foley

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