This road hasn’t been easy, but nothing worthwhile usually ever is. The above photo is from last week, when a couple “galley copies” of Beyond ADHD (for media and others to review early on) where delivered to my door as I returned home after a swim workout. Holding a copy of the book I started on October 4, 2006 (not knowing that it would ultimately be a book on mental health) had me over the moon! What a surreal moment.

It Screams Within Me (To Speak Out and Build a Massive Social Platform)

It sounds bold to want to “reach millions,” and you’re damn right it is – I’m hard-wired with fierce levels of passion for empowering, teaching and inspiring others from my own battles, tragedy, facing death and everything in between. As I literally said on Twitter about four minutes ago:

If there’s one thing I’d tell my younger, determined self, it would be this:

“Be gentle on yourself, learn to accept the need to be patient in your goals (as fiercely determined as you are) and if something screams within you, if you want something with all your heart, forget about what others think and go all-in toward your goals!”

Speaking Out Has Been Life-Changing!

I realize that many either can’t speak out or don’t want to for any number of reasons, which makes me even more driven to speak openly about personal experience I have in suicide prevention (after my own attempt in 2011, followed by committing myself in early 2013, signing the forms with my wife standing beside me in tears), severe anxiety, ADHD (though misdiagnosed, I have some of the symptoms), childhood trauma and depression. My brother is gone (suicide in 2008)…many suffer in silence due to the stigma, shame, fear and side-effects of medications that are supposed to help, but often alter our minds in any number of ways (I lived this reality while on NINE psychiatric medications over three years during my diagnosing “journey.”)

You’re damn right I’m going to speak out with all the issues I see the world facing with factors leading to mental health issues! You’re DAMN right I am. Someone has to (though I realize I’m far from alone in this, though only a tiny percentage actually do it!). Coming clean with my own story has been incredibly therapeutic, liberating and strengthening. I feel that if people see more examples of leaders with the guts to speak openly around their own mental health experiences, more and more will do the same thing in their local communities, schools, workplaces and in their homes without fear of judgment. God, that would be so damn refreshing, moving beyond the ignorant, macho stigma that many of us are taught growing up.

I have no idea what sort of ripple-effect I’m going to have in my time here, but I can definitely say this: I’m turning my past battles into becoming a force for good in this realm, and I feel my brother Ryan (and others who have passed away) cheering me on from afar!

Yours in fiercely patient levels of commitment to literally devoting the rest of my life to this mission and vision,

Jeff Emmerson