9/3/18 #SameHere Hero: Stephen Jurgella

Today’s #SameHere🤙Hero: @stephenjurgella If you remember a few weeks back I shared a post about making sure you share TODAY, what’s on your mind, & not wait, bc you never know when holding in those thoughts can change you & send you down a scary path. The post was in response to a follow & now friend, Stephen, who had just lost one of his best friends to suicide – a friend who he had made a bond with – to openly share everything on their minds with each other. Unfortunately there was a lot on Stephen’s friend’s mind he hadn’t shared, & in the end, it appears holding that all in contributed to his passing.
 
Stephen is a close friend of Alliance member, artist @gregauerbach If it looks familiar, thats Greg’s original #SameHere depiction he painted for the launch event that Stephen is standing in front of. As a close friend, Greg donated the artwork to Stephen for his office.
 
Stephen’s Hero Story is gonna sound familiar to many – high energy kid & adult. Excelled always bc of that energy, but never in a traditional book sense. Went on to start & grow two large successful businesses, but still wasn’t happy. He was always a thinker & while that helped him form & grow businesses, it also made him his own worst enemy, constantly critiquing himself. Being willing to ask for help, getting properly diagnosed, & always willing to SHARE what goes on in his head is what has lead Stephen to a better place now.  We are so happy to have him on the #SameHere Hero Alliance, & he vows to now advocate for MH for the rest of his life. Welcome!
 
“I have a lot of energy, & I mean a LOT. I grew up getting in trouble, & I never knew why.  I was diagnosed with ADHD around 6th grade & from 6th-8th grade experimented with probably a dozen different drugs. They helped me focus, but ruined my natural enthusiasm that made me who I was. Back to the trouble…No, I didn’t get in a bunch of “legal” trouble but I got kicked out of my high school in my small hometown of Stevens Point, WI during my Sophomore year due to the fact that I was already a “pain in the ass” & then for a lack of better words, I got in a bad spot & was blamed for something I didn’t actually do. Luckily, a year later I was let back in after some evidence came about showing that I didn’t actually do what was said. With that said, I was always looking for attention. I was so hyper active that I never really processed how my actions were affecting myself, others around me, my parents, etc. To make it worse, my sister (1.5 years older) was getting straight A’s & I was nothing short of an absolute catastrophe in a structured school system.
 
So imagine someone with all that energy, who isn’t interested in nearly any subjects in school, it makes for a pretty tough situation. No reason for anyone to feel bad for me, actually the opposite. I just hated myself because with all that energy I have, so many people would tell me how special I was, making things worse in the short term. I couldn’t fit within the system & didn’t see another way, just increasing the stress & anxiety.
 
I would say my pattern was getting kicked out of school, plus never having good grades, disappointing my family over & over, & barely getting into college (applied for 8 & got into one because of my golf background) – all of that, yet – I had such a great family environment & great opportunity but I didn’t do it THE WAY I WAS SUPPOSED TO. I didn’t do things like my mom & dad, or my sister, or others around me. That made me feel a tremendous amount of resentment towards myself for a long time. I hated myself, I mean really hated myself, but there was a silver lining that was forming & I didn’t even know it. When I was in high school I had a job doing sales that I immediately excelled at. I was born to lead, & was born to sell. I have a really raw conscience so I genuinely can’t sell someone something without knowing they will enjoy it. Enthusiasm mixed with integrity got me very far very quickly. Now, going back to the energy, here is where the issues started to come full circle. My brain is moving at all times, bouncing from subject to subject at a rate that is just mind boggling. So, when things are good, I’m as high as a kite. Crushing anything that comes at me, excelling to a level I never thought I could, but the problem is, that’s only 50% of the time. What about the lows? Catastrophe! I’m gonna die, everyone hates me, I can’t do ANYTHING with all this energy, what a waste of a human. What a piece of shit. That’s what I was telling myself every day, 200 times a day.
 
To make a long story short, between 2010 & 2018 I have been able to build two 7-figure businesses with amazing people all while doubting every single step I was making, putting myself through absolute hell, all to just prove to my own self that I’m not as big of a waste of human life as I think I am. Now, how does that continue to evolve inside my head? WELL LET ME TELL YOU. I have a very creative mind, so every time I get myself to the next level, I’m able to reinvent how much of a pile of trash I am. It’s something that only my closest friends & my fiancé truly know about. I am able to reverse engineer the goal that I achieved & I self diagnose everything as “LUCK” with all the effort just being wasted energy because I didn’t actually do a good job on purpose, I happened to get lucky. There can be empirical evidence showing a solid path & I’ll still create tremendous doubt within my ‘ego.’ Amidst all of it, my family and friends would respond with ‘look at how good you have it, look at your talent, your health…etc.’ and that just added to my frustration. YOU THINK I WANT TO FEEL THIS WAY??
 
So, over the last 24 months it’s gotten much worse. I was considering killing myself, because I couldn’t get my mind to shut off. I always thought I was just stressed out, but sure enough, it was anxiety, turning into periodic depression, & I eventually ended up doing a tremendous amount of studying & therapy to find out I had Bipolar II as well as suffering from OCD based anxiety. Went to a few different doctors to confirm & boy oh boy was I right. I walked out of my last psychiatrist meeting & just balled my eyes out. I hated how much my brain hurt all the time because all I did was think. My doctor looked at me and said, ‘It exhausts me to see you saying this, because I can see you’re fighting to relax & you just can’t.’ I was in a constant state of FIGHT OR FLIGHT. Sure, based on societal norms, I was super successful. I literally started two different businesses completely on my own, & made them profitable immediately while affording free time with family & friends, but what they didn’t know, was I hated my life. I wasn’t happy.
 
Fast forward to June 2018. I have made progress, but it’s worth mentioning that the number one reason why was because I wasn’t afraid to tell anyone & everyone what was going on in my brain. My fiancé & best friends were my sounding board so I could verbally process through the rational & irrational thoughts. I literally just told them everything. ‘Hey guys, I thought about killing myself again today. No, I didn’t pull out a gun and get that far, but I spent an hour sitting in my office chair thinking about how much pain would go away if I wasn’t alive.’ I did this anytime I had the bad thoughts, and it was making the frequency go down. One of my biggest helpers was a guy named Cameron Ross. Cameron & I met two years prior & Cameron is the only person I have ever entered a business partnership with. Cameron is my mental sparring partner. He needs stimulation the same way I do, & it just makes me so happy to go 9 or 10 rounds in the mental ring with Cam. We could go on for hours & hours with practical discussion that was progressive for both parties while being just elated the entire time. Cam is a true savant, that’s to say the least. A mathematics genius, & a guy that also just wants to do the right thing. Cam picked me up off the ground more times than I could count. I had no problem telling him about my tough days & he would walk me back off the plank. I hate typing this because it hurts beyond belief, but on June 29th, 2018, Cameron passed away. I was flying back from Wisconsin where I closed a business deal I had been dreaming of for years, & I got a text upon landing in Houston around 9 AM in the morning. It was from a close friend who was staying at my house for the summer working with one of my companies. I called him immediately, & he let me know that Cameron shot himself in my back yard. I don’t really have words to explain this situation to anyone. There are 10,000 layers to this. There wasn’t legal trouble or financial trouble, there wasn’t some secret agenda. Cam lost the battle, and it absolutely destroyed me from within. The past 9 weeks have changed my life. I’m doing therapy regularly, & I’m more self aware than ever. I’m inspired, & I’m hopeful. The people that have huddled around after Cameron’s passing have been nothing but life changing. I’ve been terrified to the point that I couldn’t feel my arms & I literally lost control, yet all I had to do was tell my loved ones the truth & it would put me on the right path. If I don’t tell people, I will self destruct. My own thoughts become toxic, & I have to get them out. I have to be more mindful, & bring myself to enjoy the moment. I really miss Cameron, but I’ve got to make something positive out of all this because he wouldn’t stand for anything else. Keep. Fucking. Going.
 
I am so thankful that my transparency & candor of my #SameHere Story have been well received. It’s been inspiring to see people thank me for telling my story or being open to them about what’s actually happening behind the curtains. They see some of the business success I’ve had & they ask me how I’m doing because, it must be amazing. I tell them straight up, I’m so grateful for my financial success, but I’m having personal struggles & I just greatly appreciate that my journey makes them happy. It makes me happy that they admire what I’m doing, & makes me feel like I’ve contributed. That feeling is rocket fuel to me. I can’t be a waste, I won’t be a waste. I would be so sad if all this energy was a waste. I love this quote, ‘To laugh often & love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens & endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played & laughed with enthusiasm & sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded.’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson. That quote, on a trip one year ago, got me a lot closer to where I wanted to be. It helped me process what made me feel SUCCESSFUL. When I help someone, I feel SUCCESSFUL. I’m going to be super fucking successful.”

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