The single thing that got me through the worst times in my life was the “beast” of stubbornness within. Support from loved ones has also been instrumental, I have to say, but ultimately it has been up to digging deep inside to keep going, not beating myself up when I mess up and constantly working to learn from every experience.

Panic and Uncertainty

This is often the scariest place of all (though they all can be that way, it just depends), and it’s crucial not to make things worse through snap-decisions – that one I’ve learned many times over in my life. When I feel myself spiraling out of control through anger, frustration, despair or anxiety, I need to keep my mind and emotions on a leash (like a dog) and constantly tug at them to prevent any further self-sabotage. An example of this was rushing myself to the local emergency room after my suicide attempt in 2011. Yes, by then it was later than it should have been to seek help, but at least I got it (and got more of it in years that followed, even committing myself in early 2013 due to suicidal thoughts emerging again – ones I researched to find the easiest, most painless way to end my own life out of sheer fucking frustration with my existence). Better later than never, my friends. If you’re in over your head and need help, GET IT. That’s what I did and it saved me.

After The Dust Settles

No matter where you find yourself as the dust settles after something goes wrong, learning to have what’s called a growth mindset (stubbornly) will make a massive difference in your life if you learn to think that way by default (which takes practice and regular reminding, like lots of other things we learn over time). Life may gut you, it may tear you apart in some way, shape or form, leaving you feel absolutely exhausted, but that’s only partly true, because tomorrow always comes and nothing ever stays the same (I talk more about this below). No matter what you need to learn to change things, always remember that this is a journey – a challenging one at times (for all of us), and you aren’t alone in these on-going struggles here and there, or “learning lessons,” as I prefer to call them (even the worst ones).

As Bad as Things Might Look, You Must Keep Going (The “Nothing Lasts Forever” Principle)

Things happen to all of us that test our faith, our courage and our willingness to keep going. Different things happen to all of us, but it’s all relative, so remember to not compare your struggle with someone else’s and minimize yours in any way, shape or form. That’s not fair to you – we all feel pain, heartache, anxiety and depression in different ways and at different “levels,” but we all feel (well, most of us, anyway).

The nothing lasts forever principle is something I just made up now to get a point across: I can personally promise you that no matter what happens to you, nothing will stay the same forever, just like you won’t be who you are now in five years…you get my point. I think back to being in jail, feeling horribly ashamed of myself, like a complete failure, full of panic and at the same time fierce hope that I could tun my life around, even though I’d just been charged with a criminal act. I knew it would be an uphill climb to clear my name in the eyes of society, but I also knew that the years would pass anyway – what did I want them to turn out like? I started there, in faith, one breath, one hour, one day, one night, one week, month, year and decade at a time (yes – I waited over ten years to achieve a single dream that I was obsessed to achieve. The kicker? I was turned down at the every end after I had proven myself due to mental health concerns and a spotty employment record. That in itself nearly killed me…I had waited for ONE THING for over 5,000 days and nights, at the cost of living in the moment for a lot of those years).

I’m still here. I made it through (while my Brother Ryan and many others are no longer here). You have to keep on keeping on, getting help when needed, helping yourself when all seems lost.

You have to dig deep throughout your life, but the rewards are incredibly worth it. As I see it, I don’t have any other choice if I want to do the right thing and honor myself and those I love.

Yours in purpose,

Jeff