No I’m not manic, yes I’m sure, okay just let me explain
I always knew it would get here , I wanted to just take the high road, I wanted people to see me for me, I wanted trust and support, turned instead people decided to abort.
I know it seems crazy and the Snapchat story has been strange ,entertaining, but strange. Well I guess there is a reason “god” gave me the ability to write. I just want to clear things up from my end, whatever anyone else has to say let them speak but I’m tired of ranting feeling like no one understands me when I haven’t given them a reason to, so here it goes , this may be a long one you don’t have to read all of it. I’m writing more for my own sanity than all of yours.
Let’s start from the beginning for those of you who don’t me, nice to meet you, Nick’s the name. I’m currently in Denver trying to start a media business and may walk barefoot from Denver to Seattle to LA but we’ll get back to that.
I grew up in an idk 97% white , 90% Christian and about 50/50 on red or blue, mostly depending on how much money you had, how you made it and I’d your money came from generational wealth or if you “made something out of yourself” it’s weird and bizarre and yet I’m sure a bunch of you know exactly what I’m talking about.
I had a pretty easy life, I matured at a young age, was mostly bigger than everyone and I’d you knew me well enough didn’t have much trouble skating by in school. My dad made more money than we needed, I never really wanted for anything. It also helped that in high school I was considered “popular” “good looking” and I also broke every rushing record my high school has ever seen. ( I never talk about high school football give me this one)
It wasn’t until sophomore year did I really get kicked in the teeth for the first time. Albeit excited to be back sophomore year started out just different enough to raise some signs that things in my life were going to change. Two of my best friends ended up either not coming back for that semester and another had to leave midway through.
[ ( This was the second time I witnessed a manic attack and first time I truly realized and decided to learn about what it meant to be manic) If you have never witnessed an episode, its hard to understand what I’m talking about, it is like watching someone you love slowly be taken over by something neither they nor you can control. It is like in every movie (Captain America Winter soldier is easiest example) Where as angry or mad as they make you, all you want to do is shake them and tell them, ” I know youre in their, its me Nick, all I am trying to do is help” What is meant to be taken as help is taken as a threat and rather than open up to you they will start to shut down and look for other outlets to go to instead. It can be extremely lonely for someone with a manic attack as they already feel like no one understands them and they are often ostracized by those who to no fault of their own do not grasp the reality of the situation.
Well after seeing two friends leave and watching other friends continue to grow in some of the clubs and extracirriculars I never really got into, other than my business fraternity where I was lucky enough to meet some of the most amazing people, we just ended up having different views of what we deem successful in people. I guess what I am trying to say is I felt alone, I started to fall behind on school work, I started skipping class more, I played video games and watched netflix for the serotonin release I needed bad. Not just like a oh a couple games, I mean I would play fortnite or 2k my player for hours a day. I watched both seasons of Stranger Things in 36 hours. When my anxiety would finally get bad enough for me to open my laptop, I would be pulled into a hurricane of everything I had pushed off, the paper I had due in 3 days, the weekly quiz that I missed for the 3rd time, you name it, I had it and I didnt do it. This anxiety would become so overwhelming that I would tell myself “I just need to get some good sleep and get after early tomorrow” I would then proceed to take nyquil or Benadryl to quite the voices in my head and wake up way to late, start playing video games and the entire skit would start again like I was in groundhogs day.
Finally after calling my parents twice in a week, balling my eyes out in our 8 person dorm bathroom, asking my parents to let me come home. Finally then did my dad tell me to come up and that I should “probably talk to someone”
This was my first experience as well as the first time my dad opened up about his struggles with his mental health that he had also faced since college. Not only was this the first time I had ever heard about it, but neither of my brothers ever really got this talk and I think he probably told me more in our 30 minute conversation than he ever felt comfortable sharing with my mom. Again to no fault of her own but once you’ve dealt with something like depression and you realize how hard it is to explain you tend to try to stop trying. I would love to share what I remember from me and my dads conversation that day.
If you knew my dad pretty well over the last 5 years of his life, you must have been introduced to his obsession of religion and different ways to “climb the mountain” like any good best boy he decided to basically explain something almost unexplainable by using methaphors and analogies with whatever he was obsessed with at that time. He told me “People who suffer from depression are not cursed they are blessed, they feel more than normal people and often times depression is a sign of knowing that you’re meant for more but not knowing how to get there. At that point he started comparing Muhammad in the cave, Jesus in the desert and the Buddha reaching nirvana. All of these journey of those, to punish themselves, to make up for whatever guilt follows them and those around them. I do not know why it happened to us and I never told you because I hoped and prayed you would never have to go through with it. “
If you ever heard the song ” A Boy Named Sue” you know at the end when him and his dad make up and he says “And if I had a boy Id probably name him…… Bill or George anything but Sue, I still hate that name” Is basically how I felt about my opening up. Things made more sense now and if my hero could get through it so could I, but I also was never going to be so quiet about my mental health again.
After that I was able to get my mental health together and finish out sophomore year strong, I was put on adderall for my undiagnosed adhd which helped with organization and prioritizing what was making me anxious and an anti depressant to elevate my mood to a normal level. All of this was good and well. the summer came around, I stopped taking my anti depressant when I felt better and felt as though overall I was starting to understand my illness that I had to live with and like I said if my hero could do it they way he has so could I…..
Which brings me to October 31st 2018, a weird day, I felt down for whatever reason most likely the oncoming of seasonal depression I was still not totally prepared to handle. I wanted to get a workout in and had planned one with one of my good friends. But I felt so shitty, I could not tell you why, I called my mom and told her I wanted to start seeing someone again. After leaving the gym because I was crying, I got chipotle and decided to call it a night because I had a big interview I had to get ready for and I did not want to miss that call.
While I was awaiting a call that morning, that would hopefully change my life for a bit better, what I never expected was a call that would change my life so drastically for ever. The moment sticks with me, the disbelief, the racing thoughts of ” was this a terrioist attack” the crack in my voice as I said “what do you mean dead” and finally falling to my knees to combat the tears I knew were coming, but they never came.
To be completely honest with you, other than the week of the funeral, there is just like 3 months of greyish vague feelings and memories. like I know I was there but never was I really there. I knew I had to finish school but I could not have cared less about it. Nothing really mattered, I was a shit student, a shit boyfriend, a shit roommate (except to Handorf) But then another event happened that changed my life with no expectation or reason for it. It was superbowl sunday, or no it was the night before. I was with my girlfriend who was visiting and her friend who had transferred to OSU that year. We were having a couple drinks and out of no where it hit me like a rock. I see all these bottles laying out after parties because the beer fairies won’t touch them and I knew that I could not make a product that would not only bring awareness to the causes I cared about but also financial help that I was not able to provide on my own. It was an incredible feeling and if you think I am manic now you should have seen me then.
I was and I do not think I am overstating this on average doing something for Shed Some Light probably between 10-14 hours a day 5-6 days a week . Between finding, cleaning making and filling the bottles, I started Nicks Nightly Notions and for the first time felt like I had something to say worth listening to and I know this sounds crazy to say, but, I was truly happy then. I knew I was making a difference, I spent some of the best times of that year collecting bottles in 20 degree weather, smoking way to much weed in the grossest basement. It was literally just guys being dudes.
Some point after our big sale things had to slow down, people left for the summer, I felt like I had gone as far as I really wanted to go with the candle schtick and I also started running like 35 miles a week. I also was not able to secure an internship after months of not doing shit from November to March or April so I had to work somewhere between 5-10 “part time jobs” of different ways to make income. I wont get into it but that summer is a whole other story. All of this accumulated with another life changing moment as I went to pick up my cousin from the University of Pittsburgh.
It was a weird day, a long day and a day I wont forget anytime soon. After one last night of fun I woke up to help Handorf move out of his dorm, it was my first time in it after he spent 99% of nights in my room for the ultimate 6 month slumber party. I think went to get the car from my brother at Dayton. Proceeded to go to Athens to help my girlfriend move out and pack her car. Then I packed my car full of my cousins belongings and headed back to Columbus to store it at my house. I got home at maybe 9:30pm, I was beat, oh and not to mention the 6th month anniversary of my Dad taking his life. Like I said a weird day.
I kept crying on the car ride home from Athens and knew I had to get my cousin still 3 hours away. I did what I knew best when I needed to just grit my teeth and push through. I got really fucking high. It wasn’t my first time driving high and there wasnt much traffic. I was cruising along for almost two hours, I didn’t feel high anymore and was on the phone with my girlfirend trying to stay awake because well like I said a lot of moving and a lot of crying will tucker even the biggest of guys out. As I passed through a the beginning of a construction zone and within a half mile of the entrance was a police officer. The speed limit went from 65-45 at the start of the work zone, he clocked me out at 64, said he smelled weed and that is the story of how I got a dui that completely had me backslide on all the progress I had created.
But i kept my head down, put down the weed and finished out my senior year. Graduating in 4 years, with a job secured and in the middle of the start of a pandemic no less. It was a miracle and my mom was so proud.
Then came work, what I had been telling myself for the last two years would be my saving grace and for about 6 months it was everything I needed, it gave me structure, social interaction, a purpose. My mental health started to improve, I started to blog again and before you know it after a trip to Chicago I start to put in plans for Shed Some Light, my aunt bought the domain name and we talked about making it an llc and getting a website designer. Sadly I didnt have the free cashflow then and I also was told by everyone and their mother to just focus on my job and worry about that later. Well I did focus on my job and my job became the only thing I was focused on.
I do not like tooting my own horn but I could fucking move freight, still can, the problem was I was no longer moving freight, I was selling my services to customers. Something that is a lot harder when you’ve dealt with depressive swings and self confidence issues for the past 3 years.
Not knowing this background and wanting to show his belief in me the CEO did something that for 99% of people would be the best opportunity. He sat me right next to him so that if I ever had a question I could let him know. The opportunity was so great, this is the same guy that was making half a million dollars moving freight by the time he was 25. It was also the most pressure I ever felt I was under and not from the company at all just from the games in my head. What I learned later was that more than anything it was a ptsd symptom that was being caused by possibly letting down another male figure in my life.
As I continued to struggle in sales I had another day Ill never forget, after a great night of catching up with some old roommates I woke up and realized I couldnt find my keys or wallet, maybe I had just left them in the car. But when I went out to the car I realized that was gone as well. My mom was nice enough to get me, help me fill out police report and helped me try to calm down by going on a walk. As I started on this walk I got a phone call, another one of those damn phone calls, from a friend I had not talked to for a bit and would have no reason for calling me at 8:30 am on a sunday. I picked up and would you really be surprised to hear my life changed for good again? One of the most lively, lovable , full of life people I had ever met had just been taken from us in a random act of violence. Within the next two weeks my days were filled with 2-3 panic attacks and no work was getting done and that only made the panic attacks worse until one day I woke up with the feeling of a belt being pulled as tight as someone could pull it around my chest. I knew now was my time to let go of my ego and take care of myself. What seemed like the best option at the time was taking a leave of absence and figuring my stuff out. What I thought would be a two week mental health break became a 3 month mental health marathon.
This is another period where everything tends to blend together but instead of a numb feeling it was such an constant overwhelming feeling. I spent 5 days a week for 5 hours a day in group therapy meeting once a week with a psychiatrist and therapist once a week to get my head and medications in order. This and then a less intense group for a little over 3 months. At this point people closest to me were telling me it had been to long to try to go back to my job, they probably wouldnt take me back, but I told them, no the ceo gave me his word and wouldn’t you believe it they hired me back.
Not only did they hire me back but they knew I wanted to get back into sales and because they saw potential in me they offered me a position that would have netted me 150k+ a year at a minimum in commission. I just had to train for 6 months to a year under the position.
Not only did I felt accepted and supported by the top members of the company the company had grown so much since I left and there was way more kids my age. What an awesome 6 months I had there. I was never supposed to be behind a desk but if I had to be it would be with that company.
Well now that the background has been taken care of let me tell you about what you all came here to hear about. Or if you have no idea then this will be new but the background still helps.
I had been told I would be moving into my position in a couple weeks and I realized if I didnt take a vacation now I probably wouldnt take a real one for the rest of the year. Not to mention I hadnt taken a trip since my senior year. This was gonna be a big one, the first vacation I paid for on my own, planned on my own and followed through with on my own.
It was unreal, the views, the people, the weed, it was everything I wanted and I asked myself why it took me so long to get out here. I met some of the most amazing people and just created more memories and stories in a week than I had in the two years prior. As an outlet to keep up with my adventures and stop mass snapping the same 15 people I just decided to start using my snapchat story and the people loved it.
Now i am not gonna lie to you, I dont know what cause it but I have always been a whore for attention, whether it was on the football field, the dance floor, or upside down on a keg. I have always been looking for the next great story, the next boundary to push and I finally realized if people like my snapchats and they used to like my blog? Finally a fresh idea for Shed Your Light. Now this is where things get tricky so bear with me.
For background my brother suffers from bipolar one and I believe i suffer from bipolar 2 which is what my Dad’s twin brother also suffers from but before we go any further I want to define these terms .
1. BIPOLAR 1
This type of bipolar disorder is characterized by manic episodes, with or without depression symptoms. If you have this type of bipolar, your manic episodes will last a week or longer. Your mania may be so bad that it requires you to be hospitalized to ease the symptoms. Although you don’t have to have depression to be diagnosed with bipolar 1, it may also present with depression that lasts over two weeks.
2. BIPOLAR 2
Bipolar 2 disorder is characterized by having both manic and depressive episodes. The mania you experience with this type is usually less severe than the mania you’d experience in bipolar 1 — hence the name hypomania. When you have bipolar 2, you experience a major depressive episode either before or after you’ve had a manic break.
With that said even after talking to multiple doctors I was never diagnosed with either though I have brought the idea up plenty of times. Well the reason this makes sense is the reason we found out bipolar ran in our family is because 7 months after my Dad passed my brother went to Europe for a month where he experienced a manic episode and my mom and uncle had to go out and get him so we could understand what was going on.
This episode was made obvious by my brothers excessive use of social media, his spending and his “plan to change the world”. It was quite a traumatic event for Matt especially but all of us as well.
Another mental health crisis that happened in the family was my Dad’s business he tried to start during the start of the economic recession failed. All he wanted to do was cut out the middle man and lower drug prices, even though the idea was solid the timing was off and my dad went into the deepest depressive episode my mom ever saw.
From my perspective it was him trying to make up for was the reason he went to D.C and also when he put his 6 week notice in and felt like the bill was not going to grow through ultimately lead to him taking his life. He was offered the ceo role of a major pharmaceutical player and imposter syndrome began to creep in, he couldnt take the “failure ” of his time in Washington and believed no one would hire him again. He was obviously out of his mind but one thing he wrote down that stuck with me is “I am so sorry for this facade I have put up for so long and made your lives about me, I need to set you free”
Well okay, when my mom heard that my social media was blowing up and that I was going to start a company ( one that was started 2.5 years ago) but I put in my LLC and started to get things rolling. On top of that to ease the fears of my mom and those who love me I went to a mental hospital to get checked out. After 2 hours of talking they told me they thought I was good to go.
My mom was not convinced and was not going to let me off the hook that easily and I could tell. We started to butt heads and to try and take the high road i decided to get a hotel until my friends and I moved into a place in less than a week. My mom really didnt like that.
Two days later as I was moving from one hotel to another I turned around and out of the blue my uncle and aunt were there. Just checking in of curse. Seeing where I was going after we got breakfast where i was staying all just perfectly normal probing questions.
After breakfast I planned to talk my dog for a walk and rest up till check in as soon as I got in my mom closed the garage and my aunt and uncle were at the front door, I was tired of being treated like a child and so in the heat of the moment I acted like one. I ran away and went to the hotel, they were nice enough to let me check in an hour early and as I finished checking in you wouldnt believe who was waiting for me outside. 3 Columbus Police officers, and if you know Columbus at all I was right next two 71 by the convention center, not the most police officer friendly place.
I believe my mom was hoping they would pink slip me like they had to do to my brother, but, after 45 minutes of telling my side of the story and providing and letting them cross check references they told me I was good to go.
That is now two unbiased parties that said I was good to go and now I am pissed off because even though our relationship was quite rocky before my dad passed the relationship and trust we created in the past two years seemed to just disappear.
As my luck had it that night me and my girlfriend of over 7 years total decided we needed time to figure out our own shit. My head was running so crazy for two days that i didnt have time to slow down and think about everything that had happened. Until it overcame me at work, it was a slow day and an eric church song came on and it him like a freight train.
I got to the parking garage as fast as I could, tears streaming down my face, “get yourself together” I told myself “it is for the best in the end” I tried to convince myself. To no avail, I tried to get myself together and get back in my seat, as the tears started to flow again I messaged my manager and asked to take a 30 min break instead of lunch later. I left for 20 minutes and when I came back I was completely humilated, called a distraction and was forced to use a PTO day.
It was a miscommunication in the end and someone trying to help me out, but over the last week I had built defenses and they were up ready to attack against anything incoming but that did not stop me from finding a way to rework my position to give me more freedom to work on SHed Your Light and help the company in a greater way than before.
We agreed that it would be best for me to take a week off to get my head right and I took that opportunity to book a flight that night to Denver to see old friends and go to a concert with some other friends.
I spent that day thinking about what I wanted out of my life and job and whatever and I also asked if anyone had some equipment I would need on my trip and the only people who responded lived in cleveland. Well luckily my flight didnt leave till 9 pm so I was going to kill two birds with one stone, go up to cleveland and have a dan best “everyone is welcome ” gathering to reconnect with old friends and market my new company and mission and wouldnt you believe it my mom used our family friends to call the cops on me again.
When they also told me I was fine and good to go if I wanted I realized two things, I was not crazy but there was no way of convincing my mom of it and I genuinely began to fear for my freedom. I decided to leave early and get ready for my trip but I had to talk to my boss first, I did not feel safe in Columbus but I knew he did not want people working from home because it opens pandoras box if you let one person work from home and the community feel of the office truly I believe is needed. WHen i told him this though he brought up the idea of leaving on good terms and he would help me out. At first i was so thrown off and I had to drive home i told him “No I love coming in to work everyday, I need the structure, it keeps my mind busy” he was willing to figure it out but reminded me that option was on the table.
As I thought about what I said on the phone as I was driving home I realized I was lying, not only to my boss but to myself, for the first time in my life I had the visison, the freedom financially and as far as responsibilities and relationship, so I took it, I ghosted everyone until I was on the plane and decided to start a new life.
These past couple days I have been walking and walking and thinking and walking and walking and thinking, I realized I have a lot of things to think about, but not all of them are as important as they seem. I didnt know what i was going to do or where I was going to go but as I walked ideas came to me. Some good, mostly bad but what I realized is there are a couple things that are really important to me. Starting my own company and doing things my way, raising money and creating awareness for bipolar disorder research, suicide prevention, brevenment services and finally for the mental health and to combat alcoholism in the Native American community.
If you have gotten to this point and still think I am crazy, either you’re right and I am bat shit or there is no convincing you but if you related to this post at all, or have enjoyed my content or ever wanted to document them walking almot 2500 miles from Denver to Seattle to LA barefoot please consider first and for most sharing this post and raising awareness, if you have disposable income especially if my content helps you get a laugh during a hard day please donate $5 or so dollars if you have it. I will place a gofundme below, I am not going to be living a lavish life, it will be sleeping in an eno and motels a lot. I realized that was me being gluttonous and trying to show people I was doing well. I realized to ever be worth shit you have to go through shit.
To all of those I have scared, caused you anxiety and even worse said some rude things to, I am sorry, I know it doesnt excuse my actions and I have no reason to make excuses I just hope to be better in the future if you give me a chance.
To all of those who have supported me or reach out especially those of you I havent heard from in ages you have put more smiles on my face than you could ever know. I dont know where this journey is going to end but I know in the next week or so it will start from Denver on foot to Seattle. I hope you follow along, more content will be up but for the next couple days until I get some more things squared away thats where everything is going to stay
Keep on keeping on,