“He managed to pull it off. Really, what does he have that I don’t? Okay, sure, we’re all different – but if he can do it, why can’t I?”
You won’t get an argument from me.
But I’m not the one you have to convince.
I know a man who found his life’s passion and purpose long after you’re supposed to do such things. And if you knew his story, I don’t know that you’d believe it could have been possible.
In fact, I’m not so sure you’d have believed he’d have even lived that long.
Through the Years
My guess is the man was sensitive and anxious the moment he came into this world. I’d even wager he was tussling with his emotional disposition in the womb.
As a boy, he was well acquainted with fear and feelings of helplessness. You name it, deeply seeded issues with rejection, abandonment, insecurity, and terror – they dominated his life.
According to him, his first panic attack blind-sided him at nine-years-old. And it included a large dose of what he now knows to be derealization.
I suppose those closest to him, family members and family friends, may have known something was up. But no one paid much attention because he was funny, easy on the eyes, and plenty smart.
As he progressed through his grade school, junior high, and high school years; he was picked to go far. Yep, he was the package on all fronts – school, church, and home.
What wasn’t to like about him, and his chances in life?
Flat On His Face
So with great fanfare and anticipation, off he went to college – where he immediately fell flat on his face.
At first it was alcohol, but as his junior year began he was crushed by a return of the fear and anxiety he experienced as a kid. And, naturally, that only made his drinking worse.
Everything absolutely fell apart emotionally, mentally, and academically.
And the poor guy didn’t have a clue as to what was happening. All he knew was the horror and hopelessness within which he lived darned near 24/7.
And Then Some
Somehow he managed to maintain forward motion. And after a semester off he went back to school and got his degree. Having no desire to pursue his field of study, he began a career in the business world.
And the two reasons he survived as long as he did were he had the ability to present as though nothing was inwardly wrong – and he drank like a fish.
Job to job, relationship to relationship – as the years ensued, he knew nothing but failure. And he was tormented by anxiety, panic attacks, depression, agoraphobia, intrusive thoughts, depersonalization, and derealization.
To this day he wouldn’t be able to tell you how or why he placed one foot in front of the other.
But he did.
The Beginning of the – Beginning
Somehow realizing his life was literally just about over, he found the insight and courage to put a cork in the bottle. He was 30. And five years later, he stumbled upon a psychiatric diagnosis and some serious help.
He took to it well.
He continued his call-it-in business career until shortly after taking a part-time job working with at-risk youth. It was then that he came to know he’d found his life’s passion and purpose.
So without a clue as to how he was going to pull it off, he went back to school and earned his counseling credentials.
And he’s never looked back.
And Now It’s Your Turn
Talking to the man just the other day, he said if he had to do it over again he wouldn’t change a thing. And he also told me he swore all those years ago that if he ever got of the woods he’d help others do the same.
But even more relevant and meaningful is his belief that he’s no different than anyone else who’s struggled. Well, maybe he’s different from some because he emerged.
But his belief in what’s so often considered cliche – “If he can do it, so can I” – is unwavering.
Who works harder than you? Who deserves relief and healing more?
The man would tell you no one.