Schooled

One of my major goals in regaining my life has been to get back to college. For so many years as a young boy I was lead to believe I was not intelligent. Turned out, that wasn’t the case. Anxiety and financial situations have kept me from finishing a college degree (in an honors program, no less). I am quite proud to announce that I will be attending Hillsborough Community College this coming Fall semester. I am owning my life. Anxiety will not stop me. Money, though a pretty big jerk, will not stop me. And my past, where teachers let me slip through the cracks? Forgotten. My time is now.

The Minor Victory Program: MVP #1

Anyone with social anxiety can tell you that every restaurant you enter, every store you go into, any place in public, is a potential war zone. That’s why anxiety sufferers avoid public places. Constant worry. “What will people think of me? What if I piss someone off? What if something happens?” It never ends.

Went to dinner with the fiance last night, we were really in need of a night out. The restaurant was packed, and I resisted the temptation to Xanax myself through it. Everything was going great, and then, for an anxiety ridden guy, the worst. Someone I knew walked in. Someone I used to work with who is great friends with some of my old friends. The ones who gave up on me.

Normally I would have panicked, but I’m living my life at 90% now.

“What if she sees me? Well, she’s going to see me eat this hamburger, that’s what. Good for her.” 🙂

No panic attack. Another small victory. They all add up. I rocked it, and will continue to do so. This is my life. I deserve to live it.

No real DDPyoga scheduled today, but couldn’t resist doing the ten minute Wake Up work out. I love that one. Not too much strain or sweat, but totally energizes your body for the day.

Stay strong, and keep living guys!

I Chose To Live

What is it, a life? What does it really boil down to? Minutes. Moments. A collection of tiny pieces, strung together telling a story. Are there winners and losers? I’m not sure, it’s just life. We all certainly fall down at times. But you know what they say about how many times you fall down. Maybe a life is the study of the ups and the downs then, and how one reacts each time out.

Whatever a life is, whatever mine has been…I thought it was over. I’m not trying to be melodramatic, but when you feel like there’s nothing left? That’s got to be it. It’s over.

I didn’t have a specific suicide plan. I never made an attempt. I didn’t really feel like I had to. I felt like I’d already faded away.

Social Anxiety Disorder and depression are conditions I’ve suffered with since I was a young boy. This mental disorder tag team have ruined schooling for me. Relationships. Jobs, you name it.

The hardest blows hit in 2012. My grandmother, who had such a hand in my upbringing lost her battle to cancer. I watched from afar as my mom took care of her, hour by hour. I felt like I did nothing. There were lots of feelings there left unresolved in the end.

As I dealt with the grieving process, my anxiety and depression took over. I missed more and more work on medical leave. Finally, the Walt Disney Company, my dream employer, gave up on me. I lost my job. I lost the friends I took great pride in having made.

I felt like I’d lost it all.

You don’t realize how much of a prisoner you’ve become until all you can see are the steel bars.

Months and months passed without leaving the house. Without being social. Without truly…living.

You get by. You breathe in and out. You take in food and drink. Maybe you even talk to your mom every couple of days. That’s not a life though. That much I’ve figured out.

I’m happy to share that my story doesn’t end there.

After a health scare and a doctors visit, I got hit with wake up call. My health was out of control and I had two options. Change (live) or die. My blood pressure was at high risk, a victim of my stress and 3 liter a day soda addiction. I’d gained close to 30 lbs without even taking the time to notice.

So, I’ve chosen to live.

Three, now, very important people came into my life, in what can only be described as destined happenstance. As a life-long fan of professional wrestling I knew a lot about three time former WCW Champion, Diamond Dallas Page. He was a workhorse, a real Cinderella story of a man who fought his way to the top. I’d always felt a connection to him as the underdog, and as a fellow resident of The Jersey Shore.

Page had created a workout program called DDPYoga, which was focused on getting in shape, without the spiritual side of most common yoga programs. For some reason it always stuck in my mind as something worth trying. Dallas Page is an infectious human being and when he speaks, you listen. And you remember.

So as DDPYoga sat in the back of my brain, I discovered someone who is possibly its greatest success story: Mr. Arthur Boorman. Arthur was an Army paratrooper who had all but become crippled after taking too many jumps, and was forced to walk with canes. For years he lived in agony and gained weight and had high health risks. He too discovered DDPYoga and changed not only his, but many other lives in the process.

Arthur lost over 140 lbs and can now run faster then men half his age. DDPYoga, and DDP in general turned this man’s life around. And the success of his youtube video as inspired countless others.

Then there is Zach Sobiech, a truly inspiring young man. After discovering that he had months, if not days to live, destined to be another cancer victim, Zach did exactly what I need to do. Zach chose to live. He didn’t let his illness stifle him. He brought smiles and joy to all of those whose life he touched. His youtube video of his final days is incredibly inspiring. I challenge anyone to watch it, and not at least for at least a moment reflect on how they are living their lives. Even after his passing, Zach lives on with the work he did in such a short time.

If he could do that, what could I do? What can you do? If Diamond Dallas Page, a man who at 57, was supposed to be crippled after a back-breaking wrestling career could inspire himself and improve his health, what can I do at 35? If then, in turn, he could inspire thousands of others, including Arthur Boorman to not only improve their health, but to change their lives, to OWN their lives, what can I do? If Zach Sobiech would live when he was supposed to be dying, what I can I do?

I can live.

I will live.

I am living.

My goal with this blog, and my new life plan is simple: I’m going to live my life. I need to get my physical and mental health in order. I need to lose those nasty 30 lbs I adopted. And I need to get out of the prison that is my anxiety. I need to get out of the house.

I want to feel normal. I want to provide for my partner and our kitten. I want to be proud of the person I am.

DDP says you need to own your life. And that’s true. That lead me to understand that life is not a rental. It’s not an opportunity to mess around and start over again at the end. This is it, right now. It’s my time, and I’m going to live it.