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How to Stress for Success: Dan’s Story Part II

You can read Part I of Dan’s story here — a story he shares, in his own words, in hopes that his journey through depression will inspire others to seek help too.

I just could not figure out how to start feeling good. I had passed burnout and had moved on to emotional exhaustion. I went to several doctors who put me on antidepressants and other drugs that simply masked my symptoms. It was the classic story of knocking on all the right doors but never receiving the right kind of help. I knew I needed to take control of my life, but doing it was a joke. Most days, I used up the full amount of my energy just to breathe.

“On those days when I had my wits about me, I knew the alcohol that had become my friend was a faulty mechanism for coping with my stress. I was also aware that I wasn’t eating properly, wasn’t getting enough sleep, and was in a state of constant denial.

“Then it hit me: I was also dying spiritually.

“My love for God and the church was gone. Fellowship with other Christians meant nothing to me. I made sure I kept myself at a safe distance from those who might help me. I had to have my father intervene in helping me with my bookkeeping; I couldn’t even trust myself with my checking account. Without my father’s wise, practical counsel, I’m sure I would have been ruined financially. I had become incapable of making the most insignificant personal business decision.

I knew if I didn’t do something fast, it would be all over: business, marriage, and all my personal dreams for success. That’s when I finally decided to get help — not from a bottle of pills or alcohol but from those who still loved me enough to hang in there with me.

“Once again I started to believe what I have been telling clients for years: No one can make you happy without your approval…. If you believe that God is dead, something in you no longer lives…. Evil takes hold when self-neglect takes root.

My road back to sobriety and emotional well-being was not easy, and I assure you it didn’t happen overnight. It took time, prayer, energy, the love of a faithful — although often angry or distraught — wife, and the undying compassion of a merciful God. But eventually I was able to put the pieces back together and regain control of my life.”

Why do I tell you Dan’s story? Certainly not because he was proud of the fires he put himself and his wife through. If anything, it embarrasses him to tell it. But I have his permission because he hopes his tale of pain and denial will help someone else.

Perhaps this story can serve as a touchstone for you, regardless of your situation, to help you do what is necessary to learn to become strong again.

SOURCE: Chapter 1: “Coming Apart at the Seams” in How to De-Stress Your Life by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD., founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources Inc.

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