Some Soul Rambling for the Chicken Soup

You might have seen me mention food allergies or whine about the fact that I can’t drink wine without getting sick over the past few months. You have probably seen me posting gluten-free meal ideas. You may have caught the one tweet where I complained about having to take a million supplements every time I eat. I never planned on sharing the why with you all but in order to make a point, I am going to have to.

A few months ago, I began to see a naturopathic medical doctor for various reasons.  I was mainly sick of feeling absolutely terrible and being prescribed anxiety medications because “nothing was wrong” with my blood work. I was sick of taking anxiety medication just to function. I was sick of not being myself.

After a few hours of testing, we discovered a ridiculous amount of things that were going wrong in my body. Goody. Of the list of health short comings, the worst was my digestive system. To put it simply, anxiety can be caused by a lack of harmony in your gut. Even more ridiculous- being stressed out can cause the exact digestive issues that in turn cause you to have anxiety. Pretty rude, right? Right. (Especially when you deal with the amount of stress I have been subjected to).

Over the past few months, I have been busting my a-word trying to get my digestive system working properly with hopes of feeling like a human again. Through supplements and mindful eating, I have managed to get a grip on things. I’m still not in perfect health but this didn’t happen over-night and it’s not going to go away over-night so I continue to work on it. I’m happy to report that I only have to take anxiety meds on rare occasions. And that’s awesome.

Let me get to the point- It feels so good to feel like myself again but it has also opened my eyes to just how terrible I had been feeling- mentally and physically.

Last year was one of the most miserable years of my life and I have been through some pretty dark times. It wasn’t just the year itself, it was that I was already so beaten down (although I would have never admitted it) that everything hit me like a ton of bricks. All I kept thinking is WHEN AM I GOING TO CATCH A BREAK. Newsflash: If you want to catch a break, you better give yourself one.

If you’re like most, you have no idea what I just said. On paper, my life looks so nice and easy that people are quick to be offended if I have a bad day. On paper, my life looks so easy that I am quick to be offended by myself when I have a bad day. But the thing is this- I am only human and the paper lies. Life isn’t about comparing your struggles to those of anyone else but it is about being compassionate enough to know that we all struggle at one point or another.

To give you some perspective, there were days that I stayed in bed until 5 pm. The day would start out with me pretending to be fine, Mat would go to work around 1 pm, I would get back in bed and lay there- lifeless, sometimes crying (embarrassing but I’m not much of a liar so there you have it), missing my friends, missing my family, ridiculously lonely, lost, sad, wondering if I was making terrible life choices. I’d eventually hate myself for feeling that way because what reason on earth do I have to be miserable on paper?  I’d peel myself out of bed, put some clothes on and go to the ballpark because if I didn’t, I would have never left our apartment/ socialized with anyone other than Mat (who was dealing with a boat load of his own stress) and the Kroger cashiers.

(I think this post is quickly becoming something I never intended it to be but so be it)

I was so sad and out of sorts that I didn’t even bother to socialize with other wives most of the time because I was so ashamed of myself for feeling rotten and didn’t want to bother anyone else with my negative energy.

Note: Due to the nature of the business, wives and girlfriends in baseball try to be supportive of one another.  When things like trades happen, most of them have been there, done that. They know that your life just got flipped upside down and that you are entering alien territory. Even the Reds front office reached out to us/me in ways that I will forever be grateful for.

Sure, my friends and family were only a phone call away but it takes a lot for me to admit that I am struggling and even more for me to seek help. Being strong is my thing. Other people need me to be strong (I think). They are used to me being strong and independent (I think). Part of that is me being stubborn and more of that is me needing to know that I can stand on my own two feet (I know).

Don’t get me wrong here… I had some great days in there but an overwhelming majority were some kind of awful. I felt like a zombie. Going through the motions. Trying to keep it together. Wondering when I was going to crack. There were some days that I couldn’t even bring myself to seek peace by practicing Yoga because I was afraid I would have a panic attack while driving and no one would be there to help me because Mat was at work and I had no one else to call so I just avoided driving entirely. I remember a 10 day home-stand where I was so stressed, I couldn’t even drive to the grocery store so I just ordered take out from Holy Grail every day. Love HG but that made me feel even more awful
about feeling awful.

Note: if you’ve never experienced a panic attack, be thankful. I am sure they are different for everyone but mine are usually something like a racing heart, lack of ability to see straight, tingling, freezing cold, and 178% certain that I’m about to die.  Not exactly ideal driving conditions.

Let’s not forget all of the times that I was attacked on the internet. Maybe I said something that offended people. Maybe Mat gave up 6 billion runs and people wanted to send us both back to San Diego in body bags like it was our choice to disappoint them. Luckily, I had a decent amount of experience dealing with blind hatred and vile people on the internet but I don’t care who you are-you can only hear that you are hated, worthless, a terrible person etc. so many times before you wonder what you did to deserve to be treated like that.

Note: No one deserves to be treated like that.

This brings me to a point that I would scream at the top of my lungs if that meant that people would hear me….


That’s it. That’s all.

If you are going through a hard time, I truly wish for some light for you because I hate the thought of anyone else struggling. Looking back, I must say that it is never in your favor to be hard on yourself. “Life is a journey, not a destination” and I am a cheese ball and a half for referencing that quote but you have to trust the process and know that brighter days are ahead… you just have to be willing to find them- no GPS included.




  1. Missi

    Very well written, it makes me sad to think of the way so called fans have treated you and Mat. I hope you have some relaxation and stress free time over the Holidays. There are fans out there that wish you guys nothing but the best and happen to thnk Mat is our number one pitcher!

  2. Jenni Martin

    Great post. Anxiety is no joke. You can look like you have everything together on the outside… but on the inside who knows what is really going on. I’ve had a couple of panic attacks and like you said, be thankful if you never have. Thanks for being able to stand up and talk about this.Like you said, you really never know what other people are going through and who you may be able to reach just by a few words.

  3. Christina d

    Hey dal, I’m surprised we never had this convo before. I’ve had anxieties my whole life, much like how you explained. My triggers were a little different, and I’m still dealing with them as well. But I just moved into my new apartment by myself. Everyone tells me “your so lucky, your going to love it” , but I’m feeling a lot like u. I feel sad and lonely. I know my family is close, but I wanna be strong (as they think I am) and it’s super hard. Nonetheless, just wanted to let you know that you have a friend here. You can write me and we can further chat about this. Ps I miss you as my cheer coach! Lol ❤️

  4. hschaffner

    I totally understand. I went through a period where I couldn’t even leave my house, and put on a lot of weight because I medicated with junk food. Glad you are finding out what you can do to get a handle on it, but I know it doesn’t go away overnight. Stay strong, and know that you aren’t alone.

  5. cyn

    I thank you for sharing your struggles and I’m wishing light and wellness! I understand how hard it is to admit you’re not happy and need help you can’t ask for! Sometimes being independent & ‘strong’ isn’t a blessing when it works against you. HUGS

  6. TK

    It is thought that Maclaren was the original source of the quotation “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle,” now widely misattributed to Plato or Philo of Alexandria. TRUE THEN, and STILL TRUE TODAY. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Kristen

    Dallas- I’m so glad that you are feeling better! Anxiety is the devil, I deal with it and a lot of digestive issues as well. I’m trying to learn how to manage these problems myself and it does wear you out physically! We are so glad to have you in Cincinnati and Mat is a great pitcher! We are all huge fans including my 10 year old son who is a little league pitcher ad wants to be like Mat when he gets bigger! Wishing you both happiness during the holiday season!

  8. mjl

    Great post. I appreciate your honesty about a subject that is very much a part of my life. I am fortunate to have a wonderful husband, friends & therapist who “get me” when I’m having an “off” day. We would live in a much better world if people were kinder to not only others, but to themselves. Hang in there dear & hope to see you in the spring!

  9. Nancy Rece

    Thank you for another heart-felt blog. I always say “everybody has some shit to deal with and most if it is not visible!”. I love Mat as a Reds pitcher and love having you here as well. I look forward to meeting you both tomorrow for Hot Stove league. Thanks for sharing with all of us.

  10. Carly

    Hey Dallas,

    I’ve never left a comment on a blog before because I prefer to remain silent when it comes to the internet, but I wanted to let you know that I have been having similar anxiety the past two months and no one has put it into words like you just did. I moved to France two months ago to start a new job and immediately started having anxiety attacks and feeling like I was going to die every day. I graduated from college a year and a half ago and applied to a program to live and work in France for a year. When I got in my friends and family were beyond supportive; up until my departure all I heard was how excited people were for me to move to France and how jealous they were of the opportunity. They didn’t realize (as you articulated so well) that my life was great on paper, but in reality it’s often SO different. When I got here and started feeling anxious I was scared and really confused, because I kept looking at my life from my friends’ point of view. With time I realized that the hardest thing for me personally is to be away from my friends and family and that I could be miserable living in paradise if they weren’t there with me. Like you, I have always thought of myself as a really strong person and didn’t want to let on that I was having trouble, but eventually it got so hard that I decided to reach out for help and I’m really glad I did. It’s really scary that I’m posting such a personal story here on the crazy internets, but I’m doing it for two reasons. First, I want to say thank you so much for sharing. I have a feeling I’m not the only one who identified with your blog post and it must have taken a lot of courage to post it. Second, when I was having the most difficulty here I spoke to a family friend who is a therapist and she said there is something really comforting about hearing the words, “me too.” I don’t know if you have time to read all your comments, but if you do I hope you feel a little more comforted after reading this one.

  11. Bmeineke

    I want to thank you. There have been many times I have felt and I am sure I will continue to feel some of the same issues but knowing I am not the only one who struggles somehow makes me feel a bit better. I love reading your blog and I am so happy You an Mat have made a home in Cincinnati. Thanks again have a Happy Thanksgiving.

  12. Kinzee Powell

    I couldn’t have written it better myself. We’ve all been there. That literally just explained the last 18 months of my life and I’m still peeling myself off the couch. Thank you for that, and giving me hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel!

  13. Andrea

    Dallas, you truly have a heart of gold. I first met you when we were kids and I’ve looked up to you ever since. I’m so proud of you and truly admire your strength, courage and perseverance. It takes a lot of strength to be so open about the hardships you’ve endured over the past year. Thank you for always being genuine and sincere – for staying grounded and true to yourself. I’m sure this story will inspire a lot of people who are struggling w/ similar situations. 🙂

  14. Jules

    I can relate to your feelings on some levels. I feel for you. I’ve been following you on twitter for like ever now and I absolute adore you. I hope things get better for you! And forget all those on twitter/internet with nasty words for you.

    • David

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  15. Karen Datangel

    I went through a couple of panic attacks in the past few months and you are right, they are not fun. I’m very sorry to hear about all that you’re going through. I appreciate you sharing your story. You’re great! Hang in there!

  16. Kim teal

    I am so on awe of you Dallas. I have experienced panic attacks and you described them well! It takes a lot to put yourself out there as an example to convince us all to be kinder!!! Random acts of kindness and paying it forward should be practiced by everyone. You are amazing girl!!!!

  17. barlettabrown

    Dallas. Wow. You’ve been through a lot of s**t! Besides the anxiety, it sounds like you were depressed (I know from experience.) Depression brings it’s own set of symptoms, and might need different treatment than anxiety–just something to keep in mind for the future, not that I would wish depression on anyone. Bravo to you for going the natural route for treatment. Meds can become a slippery slope and before you know it you’re taking 5 different meds, all with side effects. It sucks. I wish you more healthy and happy days. Take care.

  18. Ben in Knoxville

    I’ve been there, so I’ll add a “me too” to the chorus. It’s so easy to feel alone in this world with 7 billion people. To Dallas, and to all of the other sufferers, remember that there are people that love you. Reach out to them any way that you can. They want to help you, and will surprise you by how much they’re willing to do for you. Speak honestly with true friends, accept their love, allow time to heal you, and eventually you’ll find the light at the end of the tunnel.

  19. janet kuhn

    I want to thank you for this post.people should realize that panic attacks are real and a person should not attack stigma to them.

  20. CRM

    Dallas- I went to high school with you and think you’re spectacular. And always have. I was so excited for you to see your blog.

    It’s hard to make a sacrifice for a partner and move to another city. Finding a purpose- professional or personal- may help you develop meaning. As an educated, professional woman, I made a huge sacrifice- including a career switch- to move to a different city for a man who is now my husband. I worked with a psychologist and life coach, who helped me adjust.

    You’re a good person who can offer the world a lot. You’re right to take care of your body and health, including your mind. Take care of your heart too. Figure out what you’re passionate about, and then pursue it relentlessly. Be it serving others as a philanthropist, a loyal partner, businesswoman or a writer—own it, like you did on the dance floor. We expect a lot from you! xo

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