Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The First Step

Hello, my name is Kevin and I have a problem. No, I am not an alcoholic, nor do I have a drug problem. I have a plethora of issues that I am finally going to attempt to fix. What am I talking about? Well, I'll take you on a little trip.

Ever since I was young, I was generally freaked out by people. I am not sure when it started, but I always tried to keep a distance. I always had friends, but was pretty much anonymous and unremarkable. I never went out of my to talk to people. Honestly, I am not sure how I made friends at all.

My parents and family attributed my lack of social skills to shyness. I always thought it was something more. When I was in 7th grade, I had a "job" in middle school, that consisted of me delivering messages to teachers during class. I begged my teacher to switch me to a different job, in this work experience-type class. I hated walking into a class with 30 sets of eyeballs looking at the weird kid interrupting their lesson on obtuse and acute angles. It seemed like their eyes were burning holes into my skin. It felt like they were analyzing the clothes I picked out that morning, or the way I did my hair. They probably weren't, but it sure felt that way.

In high school, my issues only got worse. I battled acne, which pretty much made me feel like no girl wanted to touch me. I never went on a date or a dance. I spent prom night fucking with customers at my job at McDonalds. This anxiety held me back from experiences that most kids treasure the rest of their lives. I was a prisoner, and could not bear the thought of asking a girl out.

Eventually, the problem got better. I developed relationships and thought the problem was gone. However, the simplest tasks were and still are, difficult. Sometimes I get paranoid going to the store and having to ask someone for help. Completely irrational.

I still do not have many friends. Partly by choice, and partly out of fear. I am not sure why the fear is there, but it steers the wheel. I always feel that people will judge me. That they will see the flaws that I have, instead of seeing the Kevin I see. I actually like myself, and I am sure people would too. Instead, I keep it to myself.

I have documented about the recent end of my relationship. The whole situation has really fucked with my self-perception. It has questioned my faith in people, and made my anxiety worse. If someone I let get close to me turns out to not be the person I thought they were, then what will someone I do not know do to me. After doing some research, I decided it was time to get help.

I exhibit every symptom of Social Anxiety Disorder. I realize it sounds like a bullshit disorder, but it is very real. Essentially, the person who suffers (me) from the disorder gets paranoid in social settings. They are overcome with stress, anxiety and fear. This describes the first 27 years of my life.

I made an appointment to talk with a doctor. The treatments that usually ensue are a combination of pills and therapy. Talking to some quack about my feelings is scary as hell, but its the first step. We are all doomed for history to repeat itself, if we do not make changes. If you bitch about your weight constantly, but make no effort to do anything about it, you deserve to be miserable. If I bitch about the anxiety I have, yet make no changes, I deserve any misery that comes with it. This one is all on me.

I am writing this, as I hope this is a beginning. An evolution of myself, becoming the best person I can be. A happier, more fulfilled person. Treatment may not help, or could make things worse. Who knows? But I owe it to myself to try. We need to whatever it takes to be happier. This is my first step.

2012 NFL Predictions

Oh snap, another NFL season is upon us! I don't know about the rest of you, but I have missed the NFL greatly. I have posted my NFL predictions here, and it is always fun to see how I did at the end of the season. Let's dive in and take I look at what Kevin thinks will happen this season.

AFC East
1. New England Patriots:  The Patriots might be the model franchise in the NFL. As long as Tom Brady has a pulse, this team will always be a Super Bowl contender. I like the addition of Brandon Lloyd, and the team will depend on young running backs Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley. Their defense is still very suspect. Prediction: 12-4

2. New York Jets: This team has more drama than an episode of Melrose Place. Mark Sanchez needs to turn the corner, but likely won't. Jets fans better hope that Tim Tebow does not receive regular playing time either. The defense is still tough, but it won't matter because the team is pathetic on offense. Prediction: 8-8

3. Buffalo Bills: The Bills signed Mario Williams, perhaps the best free agent available last offseason. The team has Fred Jackson, who was solid before injuries. This team just does not have enough talent to contend. Prediction: 7-9

4. Miami Dolphins: I did not see one second of Hard Knocks, but I do know that the Dolphins might be the worst team in all the land. Reggie Bush shut me up, and proved he could be a feature back. Can he do it again? Ryan Tannehill has no one to throw to. Prediction: 3-13

AFC North
1. Baltimore Ravens: The window might be closing for this team. They still have a fierce defense, and getting Courtney Upshaw in the second round of the draft was a steal. Joe Flacco needs to evolve, and the team must forget about the Billy Cundiff fiasco. Laces out, Dan. Prediction: 11-5

2. Pittsburgh Steelers: It is likely to be a two-team race in this division. Pittsburgh still is tough as ever, although they did nothing in free agency. If the team can get a game or two at home in the playoffs, a Super Bowl run is not out of the question. Prediction: 10-6

3. Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals were easily the biggest surprise in the NFL. I believe most of us had them winning three games, but they made the playoffs. I love Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, but I believe the team will take a step backwards this year. Prediction: 8-8

4. Cleveland Browns: Another bad team, with a 28 year-old rookie QB. It could be a very long season in Cleveland. At least they still have Lebron, right? Oh yeah.. Prediction: 4-12

AFC South
1. Houston Texans: This team should have the division wrapped up by Week 10. Matt Schaub is back, and this team might have advanced further in the playoffs if he were healthy. Team has a great running game, and one of the best defenses in the NFL. Prediction: 13-3

2. Tennessee Titans: Hopefully Chris Johnson is primed for 2,000 yards, because I have no faith in Jake Locker. This team could be worse than this prediction. Prediction: 7-9

3. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck will lead this team back at some point. It just won't be this year. Can Donald Brown become a solid contributor? Will the defense improve? I don't see it. Prediction: 5-11

4: Jacksonville Jaguars: Blaine Gabbert has looked better in the preseason, according to reports, but from what I saw last year, he has no pocket presence. At least is MJD is back for fantasy owners. Prediction: 4-12

AFC West
1. Denver Broncos: The defending AFC West champs add Peyton Manning. The defense still has the ability to get after the QB. Willis McGahee and Ronnie Hillman will be the main cogs in the running game. Prediction: 10-6

2. San Diego Chargers: This team has a myriad of issues, and it would not be a surprise to me to see them finish in last. They still have Philip Rivers, and I like the changes they made on defense. The offensive line has more holes than a pair of Al Bundy's boxers. Prediction: 9-7

3. Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs could make some noise in the division. With Jammal Charles and Peyton Hillis, the running game could be very good. I was not impressed with their draft, and Matt Cassel is a glorified backup. Prediction: 8-8

4. Oakland Raiders: Having a healthy Darren McFadden would be huge. Carson Palmer's best days are behind him, and the team has issues on 
defense. Prediction: 6-10

NFC East
1. New York Giants: The defending champs still have the best team in the division. As much as I hate to say it, Eli Manning is an elite quarterback. The team can still get after the quarterback, and another Super Bowl run is not out of the question. Prediction: 11-5

2. Philadelphia Eagles: Still a very talented team. Michael Vick, Lesean McCoy, and Desean Jackson. They were disappointing last year, but they should be better. Prediction: 10-6

3. Dallas Cowboys: America's team is the NFC version of the Chargers. They have put together some pretty talented squads, but have not won a thing. Tony Romo will continue to be the most scrutinized player in the NFL. Prediction: 8-8

4. Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III gives this franchise hope, but it will have to wait a few years. The team does not have playmakers on offense. Prediction: 6-10

NFC North
1. Green Bay Packers: What can I say? I love Aaron Rodgers. Jordy Nelson is primed to become a top-shelf receiver, and the Packers should be in the mix for a title. The secondary got torched last year, and that has to be a concern. Prediction: 13-3

2. Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford quietly put up a monster year last year. He has weapon's galore, but the team has no running game to speak of. The defense has playmakers, and the Lions could win this division. Prediction: 11-5

3. Chicago Bears: I have never liked Jay Cutler, and the Bears brought in Brandon Marshall. I like the acquisition of Michael Bush. He should provide a nice 1-2 punch with Matt Forte. Prediction: 9-7

4. Minnesota Vikings: Adrian Peterson needs to return to form to give the Vikings a shot. Matt Kalil gives the team a good LT for years. Prediction: 5-11

NFC South
1. Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan has been a solid QB, but can he elevate his game to another level? I am saying that he will. Has a good running game, and talented receivers. Prediction: 11-5

2. New Orleans Saints: I think Bountygate will have a lingering affect. It will not be that great, though, as I fully expect them to return to the playoffs. Too much talent to collapse. Prediction: 10-6

3. Carolina Panthers: Ron Rivera has done a great job here, and I was bummed when he wasn't given the job, when I felt Norvell should have been whacked. The question here, is: Can Cam keep it going? This team is still probably another year away. Prediction: 7-9

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The team went out and spent money in free agency, adding Carl Nicks and Vincent Jackson. Doug Martin has looked good in preseason, but I am not sold on Josh Freeman. Prediction: 5-11

NFC West
1. San Francisco 49'ers: This team will be in the mix to win it all. Alex Smith showed he can manage a game, and the team is one of the toughest in the league. Wins this horrid division easily. Prediction: 13-3

2. Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks are going with Russell Wilson at QB. Sad thing is, he could end up being the best QB in this division by season's end. Prediction: 8-8

3. Arizona Cardinals: John Skeleton is the man here. Larry Fitzgerald should be requesting a trade by Week 8. Someone call Kurt Warner. Prediction: 5-11

4. St. Louis Rams: I like Jeff Fisher, and he will get the team back to respectability at some point. The team needs Sam Bradford to avoid injuries. and become a star. Me thinks he won't. Prediction: 4-12


AFC: (1) Houston, (2) New England

(3) Baltimore over (6) San Diego
(4) Denver over (5) Pittsburgh

(1) Houston over (4) Denver
(3) Baltimore over (2) New England

(3) Baltimore over (1) Houston

AFC Champs: (3) Baltimore Ravens

NFC: (1) San Francisco, (2) Green Bay

(3) New York over (6) New Orleans
(5) Detroit over (4) Atlanta

(5) Detroit over (1) San Francisco
(2) Green Bay over (3) New York
(2) Green Bay over (5) Detroit

NFC Champs: (2) Green Bay

Super Bowl: Packers over Ravens

Award Winners
MVP: Matthew Stafford: Detroit Lions
Defensive Player of the Year: Von Miller, Denver Broncos
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Morris Claiborne: Dallas Cowboys
Comeback Player of the Year: Jammal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
Super Bowl MVP: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers