My list of 2019 wins: 🏆
- I didn’t die.
I realize that probably needs a little elaboration…
At the end of each year I audit “the year that was”. I chronicle my wins for the year and what I need to focus on in the upcoming year to make it better than the last.
Frankly, my 2019 f-ing sucked.
Didn’t achieve any of my professional goals: no new book published this year, business remained flat as did book sales and readership.
Why? Because my 2019 was riddled with health problems.
While professionally I feel like I didn’t accomplish a damn thing. Personally just by the sheer fact I didn’t die, 2019 was actually a resounding success.
Why am I sharing this with you? Three reasons:
- This is the dark side of life no one wants to talk about. So they don’t. But I have a platform to say something that might actually help people, and if I don’t take that chance… what good am I? If this helps just one person out of the thousands who read this, then mission accomplished.
- Not every season of your life is going to result in a championship. But sometimes those seasons where the L’s outnumber the W’s are actually huge private victories the public just doesn’t see.
- As a reminder that everyone you meet is fighting a battle other people know nothing about.
What follows has been my 2019 battle you’ve known nothing about until now…
From the outset of 2019 until this fall, most of my days were spent unable to concentrate due to stomach pain and that was followed by intense headaches. Essentially the only time I wasn’t distracted by the pain was while I was asleep. (So I slept A LOT.)
Then in October I was diagnosed with a herniated disc in my neck. And a significant amount the remainder of the year was spent in physical therapy and doctors appointments to do everything humanly possible to avoid having spinal surgery.
(Mission accomplished on that front.)
Two weeks ago the stress and my inability to be active spiked my blood pressure to an unhealthy level.
My life in 2019 has felt like a game of whack-a-mole. Once I’d get one health condition beaten down a different one would pop up. It was beyond discouraging, it became downright depressing.
I haven’t shared this with anyone outside my immediate circle until now.
This fall I began seeing a therapist for anxiety and depression.
It’s not something most of society talks about publicly and that’s too bad. Because to a varying degree it’s something every single one of us deals with.
We are twice as likely to experience depression as the general population. (30% compared to 15%)
I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I felt instantly better after the first therapy appointment. Just having a professional who would listen and provide objective unfiltered feedback made me feel like an enormous weight was lifted off my chest. And that improvement has continued.
Long story short…
The biggest thing I learned through this process is it’s not something unique to me. We all have messed up shit happen to us that can cause depression or anxiety. And we can get through it. Not only can we get through it, we can transform it and use it to improve.
I had been ashamed that I was feeling depressed and ashamed that I’m not perfect. As a father, I’ve wanted to be the best example of a man my children could look up to.
It’s not something I really talked to my wife about. I didn’t want to let her down, she’s someone who always handles her challenges well. And besides, she’s had enough of her own shit to deal with. I didn’t want to add to it.
I also haven’t really even talked to my own mother about it. My problems have felt insignificant because my parent’s generation dealt with WAY more adversity and challenges than mine ever have.
Once I did let them know how I felt, they couldn’t have been more supportive. Makes me wish I’d have said something sooner. Lesson learned.
Actually, I’ve learned a few lessons on this journey in 2019.
The #1 thing is don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re reading this and any of it resonates or sounds remotely familiar, I hope it encourages you. Maybe it encourages you to find someone you can talk to. Perhaps it gives you hope or strength knowing you’re not alone.
If you’re experiencing anxiety or depression, there are resources available to you here:
Association For Anxiety & Depression:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline:
I don’t know about you but I’ve never been more excited to put one year behind me and move on to the next.
So as the great American philosopher Brad Paisley said, “New Year’s Day is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.”
Wishing you a great 2020