“I cannot always control what goes on outside. But I can always control what goes on inside” – Wayne Dwyer
“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” – William James

As a kid, I was almost always happy.  I can remember so vividly how great it felt to be a young boy.  I remember playing outside and roaming the neighborhood with my buddies.  I remember sleepovers and playing video games. I remember the holidays when I got to see all my cousins.  It was a great time to be alive.  No worries, no responsibilities!  Too bad life changes.

It all started back in middle school. I recall getting picked on.  Nothing too serious.  Just some teasing and jokes.  But, it really hurt.  I didn’t notice anyone else getting teased, so I thought was just me.  I think my self esteem and identity took a definite hit those years.

High school was not much better.  While I played sports, did well in school, and got along with most people, I still did not feel good about myself.  The jocks in the school verbally abused me constantly.  I still remember their hurtful words and how they wold treat me.  Unfortunately, I did not know at that time how it would effect me.  I didn’t know I could have ignored them and created my own identity.  I didn’t know I could have faired better if I had hung with other classmates.

College was a little better.  I attended The Ohio State University. I was placed in a social group called a scholars program.  We all had the same interests in sports, heath, and staying well.  These people would become some of my best friends.  They are really the only people I stay in touch from college.  Throughout those years, I made some good friends, had some fun times, and excelled in school.  However, this anxiety and low self esteem still hung around.  I didn’t really date much.  I didn’t progress much at work, nor did I truly explore the City of Columbus to the fullest.  I didn’t think I was good enough.  I didn’t think I deserved the good things.  I didn’t have the confidence to stretch and go outside my comfort zone.  I will regret that for awhile.

Moving into the work force was not much easier.  I had so much excitement and ambition at my first job.  I thought I was going to make a huge impact and have an awesome career right away.  How wrong I was!  My customers weren’t as interested in changing themselves as much as I was.  My expectations were too high.  On top of that, I was afraid to make a mistake or to express my dissatisfaction.  Therefore, I grew anxious and angry.  I felt like I had to be busy all day and took no show appointments personally.  I was on edge ALL the time.  Enough to where I saw a counselor through my EAP.  I saw hime every other week for about a year or so.  Not much progress.  I ended up leaving that job for something I though would be much better.

Enter pharmaceutical sales.  This industry sounded fun!  Wine and dine doctors and talk about drugs that would help patients.  Can’t forget the free car, phone, company credit card, and travel.  Sign me up!  For some time, this was going well.  i was the newbie on the team, so I didn’t have too much pressure or responsibilities.  I got along with my coworkers for the most part.  All seemed like it was going to work out.  Then, the downsize happened.  Right before Christmas…

it took me six months to find a new job.  I had to have put in 150+ applications.  Now, my anxiety and negativity was getting up there. What am I going to do?  I can’t live at my parents forever!  Luckily, I gained a job with another pharma company.  This job was different.  Less of a team atmosphere. I was on my own.  I had a much bigger territory.  And, the drug was tough to sell!  I had some successes.  But, for every 1 success I had, I experienced about 8 disappointments.  This job sent me to seeing a counselor again.  I couldn’t take the rejection!  My anxiety was at a all time high.  I wasn’t sleeping.  I called in sick more than any other time in my life.  I grew bitter, angry, and even paranoid about people.  I even had a few panic attacks.
I took a 6 week disability release from work.  I needed to get my anxiety and anger in check.  I needed to focus on my own mental well being before I could be able to contribute to a company again.  What’d I do during this time?  I worked out, I journaled, I spent time with friends, I saw my counselors, and did not take on new projects.  It was a hard fight!  I still felt anxious and angry some times.  I did not give myself enough credit.  I was fighting!  I was making an effort to get my mind right.  I realized quickly that it is a slow process.  And, I will continue to deal with this dark side of my personality.

Today, I am in a better place. I am working at a place I really enjoy.  i am enjoying the early summer weather and getting outdoors.  I have more time for hobbies.  I have an awesome support structure in place.  Still, the anxiety and anger rear their angry heads once in awhile.  Instead of succumbing to them, I fight back.  I workout, meditate, journal, and get outdoors.  These seem to work most of the time.

You see, anxiety, anger, and other emotions will come and go.  I will have to deal with this for the rest of my life.  But, I HAVE LEARNED TO COPE.  I have learned to combat these feelings with tools, an open mind, and compassion.  I can honestly say that I am beginning to get a handle on these emotions.  Here’s to a new chapter!  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!
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