Taking the Time to Care for Myself – Guest Post By Dale Vernor
When people approach me with the request to write a guest post, my first response is usually for them to write about their personal experiences — “for life lessons put to paper”. Not everybody is up for that, for the obvious reasons that it is easier to write about objective topics and to keep a journalistic style. Also, when the writer does agree with my terms, she or he still hesitates in sharing their authentic voice. Which is why I am so happy to share Dale’s story with you now. He has gone through quite the ordeal, and yet has decided to write about it so others can learn from it too. Thank you, Dale!
“Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way”
– Al Franken
Running a Company
I ran a company that acts as an intermediary for U.S. companies looking to conduct offshore operations. I ran a tight ship and around twenty workers served under me. For most entrepreneurs this would alone would be a great accomplishment, and generally considered as a success.
But, my greatest accomplishment is definitely my family. I married my college sweetheart, the person who stuck with me since I was just starting the business, until we both finally achieved success. We have one daughter and she’s the world to me.
I felt like I could do my job with my eyes closed. That is how confident I felt in my expertise and in my field. When clients called, I could pretty much recite all the countries that would be perfect locations for their offshore offices.
I was the master of my industry. Or, so I thought.
Did you know that business is like boxing? In both, the punch that you don’t see is the punch that can knock you out.
In my case, the punch that I never saw coming came from my cousin and childhood friend.
Getting into Trouble
My cousin and I grew up together but went down different paths. I was the one who always pushed the boundaries. He was the one who always reined me in to make sure I did not get into too much trouble.
When I started my company, I hired him and gave him an important position. Our relationship should serve as a cautionary tale, because he was pilfering money from me which left the company bankrupt before I could even realize what was happening. I blamed myself for trusting him.
Xanax as My Solution
I was trying to remain calm to my wife and was hiding the fact that the company was in trouble. This led to many sleepless nights, constant worrying and feelings of guilt and shame. One morning I was getting ready to go to the office and it felt like the weight of the world was coming down on my chest. My palms were sweating and I was clammy to the touch, I thought for sure I was having a heart attack. I drove myself to the hospital and there I learned that I was suffering from a panic attack. Everything that was happening finally made me break.
I made an appointment with my family doctor where I was recommended to go on Xanax. I was hesitant because I was always so strong willed but I took my doctor’s advice and began the medication. At first the medication worked great, but slowly it developed to a habit. Instead of taking them as needed I found myself taking them every morning and running out of my prescription early. I was unemployed, broke and abusing my prescription. My wife left me to live with her mother and I never felt like more of a failure.
As with everything involving drugs, it all came crashing down. It took losing my family to seek Xanax addiction treatment. After two years of being sober now, we are all in the process of mending. I see the love in my daughter’s eyes when I come to visit. That look and the feeling it gives me is a better high than the euphoria produced by any kind of drug.
I am starting over. I still know the game. This time, however, I am going to do it differently. I am determined to win back my family and rebuild my name in the industry I succeeded at so well before.
I’ve prepared a to-do list to make sure I achieve a healthy work-life balance:
1.Meditate and exercise. These practices help my body reboot.
2.Remember that there’s no such thing as perfection. The artist Salvador Dali allegedly said, “Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”
3.Take time to turn off what my daughter calls my “work mode.”
4.Work smartly. Being busy does not mean being efficient.
5.Delegate. It is the only way I can free time for myself and family.
6.Recruit the right talent. When I surround myself with the right workers, my job becomes easier.
7.Declutter. My time is precious and I should not waste it on toxic people.
In my life I learned that nothing is promised and sometimes the people closest to you can hurt you the most. I do regret putting so much trust in someone besides myself in regards to my company that I worked so hard to build. Life’s mistakes can teach us valuable lessons, I am writing this to help someone avoid going down a similar path that I went down. Lastly, medications can only heal so much, it is up to us to find healthy ways to deal with our emotions instead of the instant gratification that medicine can provide. The best things in life are worth working for whether it be health, happiness, or repairing relationships with loved ones.
Dale is a writer and researcher in the fields of mental health and culture. After managing his own business Dale decided to leave the industry he once thrived into to pursue a career in writing. You can find some of Dale’s published work on Twitter. Dale is a firm believer that addiction and mental health problems can be helped if more people are comfortable discussing their problems without the fear of judgment and criticism.