Detroit Tigers

The Tiger’s season is about to begin and they are about to break camp (or they already have depending on when I post this). Some things we know for certain. We know most of the starting players:

Outfielders:

Gose

Davis

Martinez

Cespedes

 

Infielders:

 

Cabrera

Avila

Kinsler

Iglesias

Castellanos

Martinez

 

Starting Rotation:

 

Price

Sanchez

Verlander

Greene

Simon

 

Bullpen:

 

Soria

Rondon

Nathan

Chamberlain

Alburquerque

Hardy

 

That’s 21 players, leaving open four spots for bench and bullpen

 

Tiger’s announced earlier this week that McCann will be the backup catcher… 22

 

Romine and Perez will both make the team because they are both out of options and too good to pass through waviers… 24

 

And the last spot probably goes to a left handed reliever, probably Ian Krol.

 

That makes a pretty damn good team, really.
Here are the questions from last year that still face this team:

Will Chamberlain and Kinsler be any good in the second half?

Will Verlander pitch better than a number 3?

Will Sanchez pitch a full season?

Will Iglesias play a full season?

How much will surgery recovery hamper Martinez and Cabrera?

Will J.D. Martinez perform like last year?

Will Castellanos continue to be the worst third baseman in the game?

What exactly is Nathan at this point in his career?

Will Soria bounce back?

Will Price be David Price all season?

Will the Tigers ever realize the value of Blaine Hardy?

Will Gose hit enough to justify a starting spot?

Will Cespedes turn into the superstar every figured he would be by now?

Will VMart put up numbers anywhere near what he did last year?

 

I could probably spend all day thinking of questions regarding this team but I think you get the point.

 

This team is facing a lot of question marks. A lot of things have to go right for this team to make a deep playoff run and while I wouldn’t classify it as crazy to assume, it is difficult to believe.

 

I believe this team will be good enough to make a playoff run. I think they sit inside one of the game’s tougher divisions that will be difficult to win but I am going to say here and now that they will make the post-season; either as the division champs or as a wild card.

 

I’m worried about the combo of Cabrera and Victor. Cabrera has become a bit injury prone the last few seasons and his production has dropped off considerably because of it. Victor had a career year at an advanced age and got paid like he is 28. I doubt he can come close to the numbers he put up last year and I’m hoping Cespedes can pick up the slack.

 

I would prefer this team be more On-base minded. They have a lot of guys that hit for high average and a lot of power but barely get on base. That isn’t how you win. The reason is simple: you eye never goes into the tank while your bat will several times throughout the season. However, I don’t think my wish will come true with the current regime presiding over this team.

 

My next post will be about my Opening Day experience and the first impression of the team.

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When my daughter was first born, I wouldn’t say that I fell instantly in love with her.

It was awhile before I began to have strong feelings for her, like several months. I cared about her, and for her. I treated her as if she was the most precious thing in my life. I think I mostly did this to fool other people into thinking I was head over heels for her.

I was really worried about my lack of feelings for her. I wondered if other parents, especially fathers, felt like this normally, or if this was some aspect of the ill mood I was in at the time. I did some serious research and found that it is fairly normal for men. It takes awhile for a baby to “imprint” on the father. This happens to be why it seems particularly easy for men to walk away from their family before the baby is born but much less so years into the situation.

I felt better knowing that I wasn’t odd in anyway, but I still wished it wasn’t the case. I talked to my wife and sister about it and both told me it would happen and not to worry. I decided to employ the ‘fake it till you make it’ methodology, and I have to say I had great success with it.

It wasn’t long before those actions I was doing because I had to became things I wanted to do. It wasn’t long before my work days started to fill with thoughts of my daughter, and my nights filled with playing with her and watching her sleep.

I would say that it took a solid four months for me to feel as deeply in love with her as I feel today. And while that seems like a long time to develop those things, I suppose it is a function of how little I was willing to open up to her.

It is something I regret now. I wish I had that time back with the emotions I have now. I guess it was all part of the process but I don’t like that I had to go through it. I am willing to bet I won’t feel that way with my second child. I’ll know the meaning of love and have a deeper understanding of fatherhood. And I’ll be glad I’m not wasting any time.

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Bipolar Thoughts

Anxiety came on late in life for me. A lot of people with Bipolar experience anxiety and depression before the onset of bipolar symptoms.

I suffered from depression, rage, and guilt most of my childhood, and I was probably suffering from bipolar symptoms for a couple years before I was diagnosed at 17. Outside of racing thoughts and sleepless nights I was barely manic back then. But depression always hit me hard. Moodiness was always a problem. Anger and rage were huge issues of mine that I received counseling for as a child.

But I never really experienced any kind of anxiety until I was 28, and prepping for my wedding.

I’ve told the story in this space before about my first panic attack and how I came to find out I had anxiety, so I won’t do that again. But I will tell you that it was my anxiety that sent me back to therapy after 6 years away, and back to a psychiatrist after 9 years away.

I could handle the depression, the mood swings, the agitation, the racing thoughts. I had been doing it for years, although it was all about to become much worse than it had been in years. What I couldn’t handle any longer were the panic attacks, the sleep paralysis, the restless legs. I felt like I was going crazy.

So I go back to a shrink and he immediately gives me a diagnosis of anxiety disorder, and starts me on klonopin. He also puts me on a sleeping pill to help with the sleep paralysis and hopes the restless leg syndrome will go away on its own.

Not a month later I had requested a medical leave from work. Not a week later I had a suicide attempt that ended with my father, wife and I in the emergency room. I was placed in a daycare program since it was ruled my anxiety might become unmanageable in an inpatient environment, but I had to be under 24 hour surveillance by my family. It was there that I was given my first Bipolar Type I diagnosis, something my shrink then was working towards but wouldn’t commit to, but my shrink now calls a “slam dunk diagnosis”. When I was a teen I was diagnosed Type II.

That lasted a little beyond a month before I was placed back in the care of my regular shrink who kept me out of work for the next 8 months, mostly due to my anxiety problems. I was getting anxiety doing or even just thinking about doing anything; everything from being at work, or in a large social setting, to cutting the grass and making the bed. This led him to increase my klonopin, as well as try other meds but we came back to klonopin, to where I was taking a new one every couple of hours every day.

At a certain point in late August with little improvement since March I decided to stop all of my medications and to stop seeing my doctor. This was a hellish couple of nights as everything I was on was habit forming. Cold sweats, shakes, vomiting, the works.

And as soon as I came off of my meds I felt a ton better, and my family noticed and told me I was doing much better. It didn’t last. I started doing poorly again by the end of September but now I refused to go back on medication. I white knuckled it through the rest of the year and once my baby came at the end of December I decided to go back to a doctor.

Now my meds work alright for me. I take my klonopin only as needed, which isn’t even daily anymore. The rest of my meds keep me from getting too far on one side or the other. They don’t stop the mania or depression, but the substantially lessen them.

I hated begin on medication my whole life, but now I take them for my daughter. I want to be a normal parent with normal behavior for her. And while I will never again be free of anxiety, I can attempt to control it, with my mood. But I know I need my medication for that.

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Most people, after being with someone long enough, consider what it would be like to marry the person they are with. I am no different, of course. And I am married, so obviously it is something I considered at least once.

The problem with me is that I considered it a lot throughout my dating life. I would say there were no less than seven girls I seriously considered marrying, if nothing more than an obsessive dream. These aren’t even all girls that I dated seriously, or at all. But there was something special about all of them, something that made me want to marry them.

To this day I still think I would probably have turned out with a happy life if I married four of them.

I was always that type of guy, easy to commit, easy to fall in love. I was always the first to say ‘I love you’ in all of my relationships, and I probably felt like saying it within the first couple weeks every single time.

I always thought of myself as a relationship type of guy, never good at being single. I felt most comfortable with myself when someone else wanted to be with me.

The time between my last girlfriend and my wife was the longest I had gone being single since 9th grade, and it was basically 9 months. And when I asked my wife to marry me, a large part of my happiness that day was knowing that I would never have to be single again.

I don’t do single.

I suppose it is a function of not being comfortable enough with me to be alone with myself. It is also partly due to low confidence when it comes to women. Despite the success I had in the past, I never felt good about the future. I never saw myself as bringing a lot to the table. And that is more true today than ever before.

I like to follow these past women on Facebook and see if I could’ve followed them down the path that they chose. If I could do the things they are doing, if I could have made them happy in life. And then I think about my own path and if they could have followed me down mine. Most often I think no, in the end we all made the best decision. I’m just thankful that I won’t ever have to venture out into the dating world again.

 

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I have an almost 15 month old daughter at home. And when she doesn’t get exactly what she wants when she wants it, anytime someone says “no” to her, or any iteration like it she will most likely throw a tantrum. Scream and cry and throw stuff and fall on the floor, all part of the game to her. She has been pretty consistent in this since she was very little, and no I know these aren’t yet as bad as toddler tantrums will get. However, it is always sort of amusing to watch. My wife is stern with her, but my daughter isn’t at all afraid of her. She is terrified of me, and when I raise my voice it elicits a quick response. She is usually fine after a minute or two, unless she is tired and cranky, then it can go on for quite some time.

According to my wife, she isn’t the only one in the house who is prone to the occasional fit throwing.

It happened twice during the same chore last weekend that something wasn’t the way I expected it to be so I stopped doing what I was doing and went and laid down. The first time I wasn’t feeling well and took a little nap. The second time I just laid on the couch and my wife came over and told me what I just stated, that I was throwing a tantrum just like our daughter.

I found it kind of odd, I wasn’t angry or being boisterous or yelling at her in any way. But it wasn’t out of left field, obviously I stopped what I was doing because something wasn’t going my way and I quit.

But the reality is that I was removing myself from a frustrating situation before I said or did something I was going to regret. It is a move I learned a long time ago, just walk away. It was something I picked up in therapy when I was a kid and was never really able to implement until well into adulthood.

It probably seems odd for my wife to read this because she has countless stories of when I didn’t walk away and when angry words were said and feelings were hurt.

An unfortunate part of my personality is that I am easily agitated, sometimes more than others, not unlike everyone else. I find myself agitated more often when I am manic than any other time, and it is often the best sign that I am manic, something that is difficult to realize at times.

But there I was lying on the couch being told that I was throwing a tantrum not unlike my daughter. I couldn’t argue, but deep down I wanted to show her what a tantrum could be like, prove my point, and win the argument we weren’t even having. That is something I probably would’ve done ten years ago, maybe even five, who is to say.

Instead I just listened to her words and thought long and hard about what she was saying to me. Maybe my coping mechanism wasn’t working for her even if it was working for me. In the past I used to leave the house altogether and go see a movie or grab dinner alone. She convinced me I didn’t need that much time to come down to Earth and I didn’t need to be so dramatic. Maybe she was right about this one too.

I still haven’t decided what to do on the matter, but for the moment I will leave it up to the situation: if it is my only recourse I’ll take it, if there is a more mature way to handle it, I’ll give it a try.

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Bipolar Thoughts

One of the chores of daily life with Bipolar Disorder is that your therapist and doctors want you to track your mood and sleep to see what kinds of patterns emerge. Thankfully a lot of tools are out there now that make it different from my mood journal when I was a kid.

Today there is moodjournal.com, which is the best, but not the easiest to use. It compares your sleep and mood and agitation patterns, as well as giving you space to journal and mark days as big occasions. It is very comprehensive and the best. However, there is no mobile app, so it is not convenient (you can explore the website on your phone but the experience is just that, a real website on a mobile phone). Another tracker that is very in depth is put out by the DBSA called the Wellness Tracker. This is a mobile app and it sucks. It takes five years to enter your mood.

Personally I like iMoodJournal for iPhone. It is a simple 1-10 scale system for mood, three entries a day and it graphs out your mood since you started, the last week, and your average day.

From this I have found that I always have a major catastrophic dip after I reach an average mood above 6. The drop from 6 to 2 takes less than two days while me being at a 6 is generally short lived, around 4 days. I’ve also found that Thursday and Monday are my worst days. And that the worst time of day is 3pm.

I have been riding a gradual upswing for over a month now, maybe partially to do with this blog, and I am up above an average of 6 and heading towards 7. I am expecting a crash any day but I am not worried about it right now. Before this blog I was up and down and up and down in very short intervals for a couple of months, so something happened to smooth me out and lift me up. It might be the spring time, who knows. I’m just happy it is here.

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Bipolar Thoughts

My daughter has seven teeth now, and soon it will be eight, all of her front teeth.

We never had any real issues with her teething. She seemed to deal with it really well, for all seven. The story might change when the big boys in the back come in, but for now she is good. But there are still some strange things that happen when a baby is teething. They become sick, they might get diarrhea or vomit, they want to be held a lot, they get a bad diaper rash, and obviously their gums swell up, change color and eventually bleed while a tooth pops through.

The whole process is amazing to me. Why would an entire body need to react so harshly to a tooth cutting through some gums? It doesn’t happen when adult teeth come in, not that I remember anyway. I have yet to find something that thoroughly explains why all this occurs, but it does, so if you have a child that has not yet teethed, watch out.

It makes me think about how the body reacts in seemingly inexplicable ways to other forms of stress.

It makes me wonder specifically about the physical struggles I sometimes go through. I know that depression can bring on physical illness. I have experienced headaches and migraines, gastronomical distress, insomnia, lack of appetite, and even full body aches like the flu.

I wonder what the connection is that links the mind to the body, how a state of one can change the well-being of the other.

It makes me feel like maybe I’ve popped out quite a few teeth in my life, seeing how much time I’ve spent in bed over the years. I wonder how they have altered my life. Is it possible that my body has done something good with all the pain it has churned out? If it has, where do I find it?

We are taught in counseling that thoughts can take us anywhere, good or bad. And I think that if I’m going to turn all of this pain into a tooth I might have to think of the good it is serving me. Is it making me more creative? More compassionate? More me?

It is easy to have thoughts follow pain down a dark hole. We have all done it. Maybe success is really just avoiding those holes or finding quick passage out once you’ve found yourself inside one. Maybe that is the tooth, your passage from darkness into light.

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I always gravitated to people who never aligned themselves wholly with a set of rules or principles of a sub-culture.

No one ever dressed like they walked out of a catalog. If you tried to peg down my friends by their clothes you would swing and miss 9 out of 10 times.

No one held an undying allegiance to a political sub-set.

No one was a hater about music, or art, or film. Everyone tried to encourage people even if it wasn’t your thing.

I think the one dominant thought process we all had in common was that if you looked like you fit in somewhere too much, you didn’t fit in with us. We liked the diversity in our group and we often talked about how we were the outcasts of other groups.

Stereotypes and blindly following things is something that is really common in high school and I’m proud to say that my friends weren’t those people.

When I got to college that changed though. There were a handful of perceived “difficult” studio instructors and the kids who believed, and often proved, themselves to be the best of the best took these professors on. They weren’t the best professors, they were just the ones perceived to be the best because they made their students work extra-long hours. I never cared much for this mentality, not everyone who took them bought into either. I worked plenty of hours on my own motivation, plus I had a job where I worked Friday through Monday every week for almost all four years of college.

I took the professors where I saw diversified projects; the above mentioned professors often had a group of indistinguishable projects presented at the end of the year. I liked professors who allowed the student’s hand to really show through, and I thought this would be evident by diversified projects. Maybe I was wrong but it made sense to me then.

I tried to stay me, or become even more me through each semester while I watched a bunch of my friends take on the complete persona of their professors in other studios. Architects tend to have a strong voice, and a scared student will readily adhere to any voice loud enough.

My school was so small that I couldn’t help make friends with people that had strongly held ideologies handed to them by their professors. And I, in turn, had to make strongly held counter-ideologies to hold my own ground, and probably try to make some people look foolish in the process, I am pretty self-obsessed.

As it turned out, my best friends in college either never went down the dark path or came out of it stronger than when they went in, and most that went in weren’t as transfixed with it as a lot of my non-friends. I just have a hard time being friends with anyone who takes themselves too seriously.

This is supposed to be fun, remember?

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Bipolar Thoughts

Have you ever been in a traffic jam that suddenly cleared up for no reason at all? You look around and you quicken your pace only to find absolutely no trace of any reason that you should’ve slowed down in the first place.

Ever been speeding along the freeway and looked down and realized you were going faster than you thought, dangerously fast? You knew you couldn’t hit the breaks because you would spin out of control so you had to ride it out a bit, slowly reducing speed until you were back within the limits of control?

Ever been cruising along and come quickly upon a traffic jam? It took you so by surprised that you had to slam on your breaks and hope you manage to come out of this without an accident.

This is the best set of metaphors I can offer for what thinking is like to a person with Bipolar. Sometimes your thoughts speed by way too fast, sometimes they come to a screeching halt, and sometimes they go back to normal without warning.

The physical feelings associated with the situations I described above and these bipolar thinking patterns aren’t all that dissimilar either. The frustration of not knowing why you were stopped up, the fear of realizing your thoughts are speeding out of control, the panic of feeling yourself come to a quick stop.

Usually it is one or the other. And I don’t imagine that is very different for most people. Feeling sluggish or feeling on point. With Bipolar the slows are at a snail’s pace, where you can barely come up with anything for a long time. This is usually associated with depression. And when your thoughts are racing so fast you can’t seem to hold on to one long enough to even know what it was, that is associated with mania.

Sometimes, however, they happen all at the same time. You go from slow motion to hyper drive without warning and it can shake you. This is generally associated with a mixed state, the in-between periods when you aren’t really one way or the other but you also aren’t fine.

They say those times are the most dangerous. A person has the thought and will to commit suicide and enough energy and commitment to do it. I think it is the most dangerous time because it is the scariest. Your mood fluctuates out of control, your thoughts are all over the map, and your anxiety it on high.

These times pass quickly, never lasting for longer than a day that I can remember. But it is like sitting in the most frustrating traffic you have ever experienced, completely confused by the traffic patterns, and not in great control of your car.