I looked out my room’s window, taking in the winter scene that filled my soul, since I love the snowy season. I saw the all-too familiar streets I had grown up in, the tattoo shop where I got my first permanent ink, and the skyscrapers that made my heart feel warm.
I was in the psych ward, and the reality sank in that I didn’t know when I’d be free again. I was locked in, having committed myself with my wife’s agreement to avoid a second suicide attempt in early 2013. I was researching ways to end it, and laying on the railroad tracks was quickly becoming the method of choice, though I hadn’t yet worked up the courage to have a train run over me, and the horror of what it would do to my family kept me from actually doing it as well, I admit. My brother Ryan killed himself nearly 5 years earlier. This would kill my Dad, my hero. Just as importantly, it would devastate my wife, the angel who had stood by me through so much shit over the last few years. No – she deserved better. I still wanted to die, though. Thinking of the train ending my life brought me one hell of a sense of relief. Relief I desperately sought…from my mind, the constant screw-ups I orchestrated, and the failure I had become.
The irony here is that there had also been a “champion” inside me for most of my life – a driven, passionate and pure soul of a man looking for more from this fuc-ing life, once and for all! I knew since high school that I was “destined to be a champion,” as that first tattoo says on my right shoulder-blade. I felt it so fiercely, and yet, my God-damned sense of self-confidence had its ass kicked over the years through screwing up so much. Man, I loved and absolutely hated myself! I just wanted to fuc-ing put an END to the madness that was my life.
This battle has gone on for most of my nearly 38 years on this planet – on one hand, I’m SO driven, so full of potential. On the other, I make rash, spontaneous decisions when my mind panics at times, and I have to hold myself back from saying or doing something I’ll regret later. Aah, the sweet madness of it all. Adult ADHD and confidence….what kind of cruel joke IS this?
But wait – I’m starting to see through the black and white, all or nothing thinking for the first time! Yeah, that shit still rears its ugly head on the regular, but I know well enough to remember that it will pass at this ripe “old” age. Holy crap the amount of heartache and frustration my lack of self, my lack of identity and confidence has caused, even driving me to end this very life that I was given.
Now I know:
- I must stop giving a shit what others think. All I can do is my best. Some will like it, some will hate it. Those people can look elsewhere. Plain and simple. I’m here to influence those who “get” what I’m sharing here, mind, body and soul. I’m working my ass off (like you are in your way) to make a better life for myself, and I’ll be damned if I let those who feel like shit about themselves bash all I’m creating here. For the hundreds of great emails I receive, a few people throw their toxic self-loathing my way by insulting me in some way, shape or form. Guess what – I was where they are! I was SO desperate to make something of myself that I too felt threatened by those actually DOING something to achieve their goals, to better themselves, through stretching themselves and leaving that cancerous “comfort zone” that often kills us slowly but surely.
No sir! I choose to invest the time needed to really uncover my sense of self, my sense of pride, but in a balanced, healthy way. I love who I am, forgive the young “me” who screwed up, knowing that I did the absolute best that I could with where I was at during every point in my life. Sure, I’ve got regrets, but I’ll be damned if they’re gonna hold me back ANY longer!
Self-confidence isn’t always found on a pretty road. In fact, that’s never the case. You have to wade through the shit of society, other people’s jealousy, our own screw-ups and what we thought we were supposed to become to truly find ourselves.
Sometimes, you’ve got to be lost to find yourself. Who the hell knew? From that window in the psych ward to the mountains here from my balcony, the view has changed more than I could have ever dreamed.
Onward! None of those nay-sayers can even touch me, because I was once one of them, and have evolved. In fact, I hope they find their own clarity like I did. That saved my damn life, and I’m not fuc-ing kidding. I’m a determined man. If I truly, REALLY wanted to die, I would have.
Jeff Emmerson is the author of “Success By Choice: A Story of ADHD, Depression and Determination,” and is currently working on additional books to come. He is also the creator of The Adult ADHD Blog – raising awareness for ADHD worldwide!
Jeff is passionate about helping to inspire others to make the most of their lives and follow their hearts through thick and thin. He calls it “Success By Choice.”