March 9, 2024

Confronting Fear, Embracing Now, and Rediscovering Purpose

It has been over a year, and there is a lot to catch up on since I last posted. While I thought I knew what I wanted to do with the site, I still didn’t quite have the purpose that I have in place now. So, here is some catch-up.

While trying to come to grips with my father\'s death and everything else I have discussed previously, I tried doing mushrooms. Hell, based on all the hype about these little natural things, they can give you 15 years of therapy in a matter of hours. My first experience with psychedelics, early in August 2022, did have a surreal, mind-blowing experience. I saw light colors and saw my wife in a light that I had never seen before. I felt connected to the world in a way that words cannot describe.

My 2nd experience, after talking to my friend who said, \"Just do 5mg; you’ll be fine,\" was far different from my first experience. First, I was alone while my wife and kids were at a volleyball tournament, and my house was quiet. I trusted my friend that everything would be fine and I’d have an experience like I did last time. Boy, was he wrong. They don’t call that a heroic dose for nothing, and it will put your ego in check real quick. What I experienced was definitely what I would consider traumatizing. I was avoiding certain things and was terrified of everything, which would turn out to be almost a year.

While you may get 15 years of therapy in 4 hours, what they don’t tell you is how bad it can go. A bad trip is an understatement to what I experienced. I do believe it allowed me to see things that I was really scared of and face those in a way, but it also brought up a series of other things. It ties to some of the therapy posts that I had around this time. One day, I may elaborate on what “visions” I experienced, but that will have to be another post.

October 2022 led to some of the most challenging events I have ever gone through in my personal career due to a cyber attack that happened to our organization while serving as the Director of IT, just 3 days after my first post here. I do feel like the trip that I experienced helped me get through that in a way that I don’t think I would have been prepared for otherwise.

Come August 2023, right after my birthday, and I have what I have come to terms with was my mid-life crisis. It started to go into full effect while listening to the book “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. It made me start to question what life is all about and why we are here. How our ego, past, and future impact our daily lives. He mentions a similar experience in the beginning of his book that coincides with what I started to experience. Over the course of the next 3 days starting from August 15th, I went through the worst experience of my life. If you have ever experienced a panic attack, this is about what I went through in 15-minute spurts with about a 5-minute break in between. It would ramp up into a full panic attack, hyperventilating and heart pounding, only to come down, have a 5-minute cool down to where it felt like things were settling down, only to come right back and start all over again. I did make attempts to reach out to a doctor who gave me some medicine and did some tests to get me some help, only to have the medicine not work. I eventually reached out to a helpline, only for them to tell me to go to the ER. Here was my hesitation: I have never felt this before, but going through 3 days of that, I was honestly thinking about taking my life. I wouldn’t have admitted that to the doctors because I didn’t want to get admitted. My wife was the absolute strongest and a trooper and there for me during my darkest time. Having her with me made all the difference in the world.

This experience was terrifying, and I hope to never go through it again, but it is amazing how hindsight is 20/20. In that moment, I really thought I would die, but I didn’t. Now I take that with me wherever I go. It’s a life lesson I will never forget. I have multiple journal entries and things that describe how I was feeling in such moments. I might expand on that in the future as well.

The whole point of this post is to remind me of where I am today and a few truths I have found going through this experience. Right now, I feel like I’m on my path. I have what I believe to be my purpose in life. Here are a few reminders for when things don’t seem to be going right:

1. When we live true to ourselves, nothing can hurt us. We set our own values, and as long as we live true to those, we will find happiness. Trying to meet someone else\'s values is not living as your true self.

2. Live in the moment. Not the past, not the future. The only time we have is NOW. That doesn’t mean you have to take advantage of every second of every day, but to find comfort in the moment in our lives. When I start freaking out about the future and things I can’t control, I remember you are where your feet are. Nowhere else.

3. Work out and take necessary supplements, and drink plenty of water.

4. Alcohol and other drugs, while they help in the moment, don’t help long term. They put additional stress on your body, and you fall back into old, easy patterns.

5. Create and nourish important relationships. You can’t make it through this life alone, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

6. Read and learn from others who have different life experiences from you. You don’t have to take everything they say literally, but you can learn something from them.

7. Here is a big one, and it\'s out of left field for me. Think about being a part of something bigger than you. While I don’t believe that there is a god in the clouds watching over and impacting everything we do, I do know that we are made from the same matter that stars are made out of. While that makes us incredibly small in something so big, it also makes us that important. We are a part of the whole. I don’t know what happens when we die, but I do feel like I am born for something. All of us are.

8. Love… And a way most people may understand this is to try to be Christ-like. I’m not religious, but what Christ stands for, I can get behind. We used to be small clans and villages. We raised and lived with each other. As we have grown, we have become more separated and isolated.

Reflecting on these insights, I stand today with a clearer sense of purpose and a deeper understanding of life\'s complexities. Sharing these experiences serves not only as a personal testament but also as a guiding light for others navigating their own paths through darkness.




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