Nothing Else Matters if You’re Dead.

Serious topic today, my friends…

I’ve said this many times before, in my ADHD book, on my podcast, and even during my many talks and speeches. Unfortunately, it’s time to bring it up again, because in the past week, three of my friends and I have talked about depression, burnout, and the like, and so I know it’s not just me.

Living in this “chase the dream” culture has many benefits. It’s awesome to go after something you love, to work really, really hard at it, to learn from your mistakes and setbacks, and eventually to succeed. But if the costs of doing this outweigh the benefits, you have to ask yourself what can be changed? In other words, change your tactics, but never your goal. It’s good to have goals, but not at the expense of your physical or mental health.

Complete honesty: My ADHD, which allows me to run at a million miles an hour while doing 50 different things, is also the cause of some of my darkest moments, moments that in the past have involved too much alcohol, stupid decisions, a feeling of hopelessness, a feeling that things simply won’t ever get better. In one case, the hopelessness was so dark that I started to question whether it was even worth it to go on.

Fortunately, I have a good support system, including a wonderful therapist, two supportive and loving parents, and a couple of very close friends, all of whom were there to talk me “down from the ledge,” as it were. In the end, it came down to knowing that I could, using the tools at my disposal and new tools that I’d yet to learn, improve myself, and my outlook on life.

It wasn’t easy. It’s still not easy. There have been days in the past few months where it’s been brutally hard to just get out of bed in the morning. (Throw in a busted foot which prevented me from working out for six weeks, and it just got worse.)

But out of the darkness always comes light, if you allow it to. Things are improving. I know that everything is cyclical and nothing is forever. I know that things do get better, if you work at it, listen to those who are trained to help you, and allow people in. For someone like me, allowing people in is probably the hardest thing to do. But in the end, it’s one of the few things that actually works.

Why do I bring this up? Simple. In the end, you are your longest relationship. Not your partner, not your job, not your latest project, not your next speech, not your startup, nothing but you. If you’re not taking care of yourself, how can you possibly expect to help others, to do great things, to build empires?

Simply put, you can’t. The greatest victory starts with taking care of yourself, and making you the most important project on which you’ll ever work. Nothing else matters, if you don’t allow yourself to matter first.

Please take my words seriously and take care of yourself. You’re worth it, and the universe would be darker if your light no longer shined on it.

“You wake up every morning to fight the same demons that left you so tired the night before, and that, my love, is bravery.”

As always, if I can ever help you out, reach out. I’m happy to listen.

“Take care of you.” -Kit DiLuca, “Pretty Woman.”

Join the discussion 7 Comments

  • vickie Smith says:

    thanks! my daughter struggles with this as well.. hates school…we’re hanging in there until she realizes her super powers…

  • Kathleen says:

    I love this. Thank you for your candor and it’s a great reminder!

  • Eileen says:

    That is a beautifully executed, heartfelt post! That “you are your longest relationship” and your “most important project” speak volumes and resonate with me. I am so glad you decided to share your ADHD experiences and simply your life experiences with us all. I actually don’t turn away for ‘squirrels’ when I’m reading your stuff! Thanks!!!

  • Elisabeth Handler says:

    Thanks, Peter, I love your honesty. My heart goes out to you and it’s humbling to know that you struggle too with these issues and doubts. Stay with us, please!

  • Christina Guidez says:

    I needed to hear that today.
    Thank you, Peter!

  • Mari Kristine Sabillo says:

    Hi Mr. Peter Shankman. Your blogs are inspiring. Especially this one, definitely for those people who are suffering from depression/stress.Keep writing and inspiring us! 🙂

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