The truth doesn’t change, at least when it comes to the fundamentals of succeeding in life. I had to hammer a lot of key lessons into my head over time, learning to accept them, even when I felt furious with the world.
I’ve Walked My Talk
I sat in a jail cell in mid-1999 after getting in trouble with the law due to threatening someone over the phone out of sheer anger and rage – displaced anger at a girl I knew, anger and hurt that stemmed from massive issues I had with my mother growing up (watching her beat the shit out of my sister at times, attack her and chase me with a baseball bat are a few that I remember only too well…I wanted to f-ing kill her, but thank God that didn’t happen, and thank God for my Grandmother raising me from the age of 14 onward). I knew then and there that my life was going down a path that would end in disaster, and that I had to get my shit together if I was going to ever be successful in life.
…that was 1999, I was 22 years old, and the challenges I’d go on to face were just beginning.
You Have To Keep Going, Regardless of Your Past
Being in jail, a failed marriage of 4 months in 2004-05, dropping out of university at the age of 33 after one year, hundreds of jobs, a suicide in the family (my Brother Ryan in 2008), my own suicide attempt (2011) committing myself in January 2013 and being on 9 medications over the course of the next 3 years (then having a “mini-stroke” in 2016) are a part of the challenges I’ve faced along the way. Fortunately, I never fully gave up on myself (even during that suicide attempt, where I stopped myself before it was too late and asked my wife to rush me to the emergency room), and I went on to achieve a dream: sign a book deal (2016) for Beyond ADHD, which was a HUGE battle in itself, since most publishers wanted “yet another typical, prescriptive book from a psychiatrist,” even though I had a whole TEAM of experts in the book itself.
I don’t give up. I’ll do whatever the hell it takes to live all-in on my terms, while learning to “get out of my own way” and be patient, recognizing thought and behavior patterns that may not serve me well (while being strongly myself, not trying to fit into any mold at the same time – a delicate dance of sorts).
It took a lot of faith and courage to not give up on myself and continue pushing forth, even cancelling my one-time application for permanent disability insurance while in a fog of medications and several mental health diagnoses which simply weren’t correct (or were temporary at best).
Resilience: Learning to Live For The Moment *and* The Journey
Maybe no one ever taught you this: Life is about the journey as much as it’s about the moment. Patience comes with experience, time and learning, and with experience we learn self-awareness, which again takes time.
I was always so driven and stubborn, which is good on one hand, but without patience and self-awareness, it can be a disaster. I know that side well, having burned many bridges in past career pursuits. Oh, the lessons I’ve learned….I wish I could bottle up all this awareness, drive, patience and courage to live my inner truth and give it to the world, but then I remember that we’re all different, and that what works for me may not work for anyone else. However, being able to still be here and share my journey openly and vulnerably is going to impact some of you out there, so I’ll keep doing it.
Say this out loud with me:
“My past mistakes, the self-doubt, anxiety and fear are all teaching me things about myself – things that add up to invaluable experience, self-awareness and a deeper understanding of what I enjoy and am passionate about. I need to allow myself time and try lots of things to know what I’m good at and what I might want to do with my life (and that’s OK! It isn’t a rush. This is a journey).”
Never, ever be afraid to ask people for help.