In April of 2017, my whole world changed.
I went from the best place in my life, training 4 hours a day for the crossfit games, feeling freed from my ADD by a mixture of philosophy and nootropics (brain boosting supplements.) and I was pursuing a true life of my dreams.
Then, it all came crashing down, I faced death, and I was tested.
What exactly happened is still a bit unclear, but as far as I can tell, I crashed my nervous system by over-training. A few months prior, I’d had a few small panic attacks that were strange more than anything, but in April of 2017, I got into the Sauna after weightlifting, and proceeded to feel like I was either losing my mind or dying for 3 hours.
The experience itself isn’t what I’m here to talk about. What I’m here to talk about is the mindset I had, and still have, in facing hell and getting through circumstances that feel uncontrollable, unfair, and unjust.
And frankly, the first lesson is that unfairness is not important.
Life is not fair, and though we may not like to realize it, we are in so many ways powerless in the face of the massive forces that make up much of life.
However, on the flip side, for as powerless as we are, there is really only one option when facing hardship, and it almost laughs in the face of life’s intimidation: Take responsibility.
As the great Sir Winston Churchill once said: “When you’re going through hell, keep going.”
Nothing could be more true. You see, despite the fact I was having a massive panic attack, and that I woke up the next day with true anxiety for the first time in my life, and at times my mind felt like it was edging towards psychosis, I did one thing: I faced forward, and determined towards the singular goal of fixing myself.
And that’s it.
It’s been 1 year and 6 months, and I still have issues that I never had before that day. I haven’t truly worked out with consistency in a year. I’ve had to quit two jobs and currently work from home. I’ve been unable to date.
So be it.
I knew from the beginning of my journey that I might be on this road for months, years, or possibly the rest of my life. In fact, during the first few months of my issues, I was very aware of the feeling I might truly die before I could fix myself. I’ve had a handful of situations where I truly believed my heart might stop.
But you know what? I accepted that. It might help a bit that it has been a dream of mine for years to become a Navy Seal, and willingly put my life on the line, but in truth, up until this past year, I was terrified by death.
Even though I still have issues and they truly suck, I no longer fear death. Why? Because frankly, panic attacks, deep anxiety, and a constant sense of doom was worse than I think death will be.
Plus there’s no escaping death.
Furthermore, I’m grateful. I am only 23 but I have had an incredible life. I have climbed 300 ft vertical cliffs rock climbing with friends, I have had many great relationships and I have several amazing best friends.
I realized that no matter how much I accomplish in life, some day I am going to die, and unless I choose to consciously accept death, I am not going to be ready to die, whether I’m 25 when it happens, or I’m 105.
We don’t grow just by the passage of time, but we grow by what we consciously face.
When you’re going through hell, keep going.
EDIT 11/17/2019: It’s been over a year since I wrote this. As you can see in the article, I was at-the-time still dealing with health problems. At the time of this edit, I have healed 90% of the way.
I am back in rock-climbing. I write for a professional publisher who pays me for articles on biohacking, health, and fitness. I have a girlfriend which is also the longest relationship I’ve been in for over 5 years. I also work as a dog trainer which is an area of great passion.