award-winning educator, mental health advocate, social entrepreneur, inspirational speaker, author/writer, program executive, and radio host
© 2014 - 2015: Beyond SPRH, LLC / Email: info (at) slyoung.com / All rights reserved
Navigating life sometimes feels like a rollercoaster ride; continuously in motion, many ups and downs, sudden drops, slow climbs toward happiness, and more. After experiencing a new, existing, or untested coaster (e.g., life event), there are sometimes feelings of excitement, disappointment, frustration, or disgust. Then, if an individual’s experiences are compared with others who have had a similar ride, their responses would be different based on factors related to their life events. These unique descriptions don’t make their descriptions incorrect; it’s just their experiences.
This rollercoaster analogy provides an example as to the reason(s) that some individuals don’t understand depression or someone’s choice to commit suicide (Depression: An Unncecessary Stigma). Often, those who evaluate an individual’s depression or suicide use their experiences as a litmus test to evaluate someone’s judgments (Unnecessary Judgments Impact Forward-Progress). This type of evaluation is a bit of a misnomer because feelings of depression or being suicidal are very complex, personal, and emotional --- which can be related to a singular or multiple personal challenges and/or significant life events.
The stressors that led to my near-suicide were related to the stress/emotional abuse from workplace bullies (Bullies...They're In Your Office, Too: Could you be one?), my decision to not be complicit to questionable and/or unethical activities, my sometimes overwhelming responsibilities as a caregiver for an elderly parent with a degenerative disease, and also managing my own life. The combination of these stressors over many years led to a psychological breakdown due to trying to manage everything alone, not being willing to share my distress, and most importantly being too proud to ask for help.
My personal storms that led to being moments from committing suicide were a complex web of situations that individually could be managed, but collectively caused a system overload --- and I was mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually exhausted.
Writing publicly and openly about my depression and near-suicide is tough, but it’s also liberating (emotionally and spiritually) to be so vulnerable; however, this sharing has also expedited my recovery. It’s often said that the release of an individual’s pain is the quickest path toward healing --- for yourself and sometimes others. Therefore, I will go further to disclose the difficult choices I made in the last few years to be true to the individual I am and also claim to be (Are You Really Who You Think You Are?).
During my life, I’ve made some questionable personal choices; although, I refuse to relinquish my beliefs that individuals should be treated with respect, shouldn’t have to choose between being ethical versus maintaining a job, and deserve equal opportunities based on their contributions instead of being patronized as a minority (Is Workplace Bullying the New Discrimination?).
A review of my professional record demonstrates that I often exceed expectations for my positions, treat those who worked with and for me with respect and professionalism, and protect my program teams by being personally accountable and responsible for any challenges with any strategic program delivery under my purview.
Notwithstanding my desire to maintain a job during challenging economic times, I can’t allow unethical (generically) and financial and abusive activities (specifically) to go unchallenged --- not only because it’s my fiduciary responsibility, required by my professional certifications, and is my moral responsibility. If I did, I would also be complicit. Choosing to take a stand (Choosing to Take a Stand: Changed me, my life, and my destiny) isn’t always easy; although, the opportunity costs (Ethical Opportunity Cost: It's a matter of choice) – I’ve experienced – of being ethical can have a personal cost (Unexpected Cost of Ethical Behavior) (e.g., personally, morally, and spiritually). For me, my principals and personal sacrifices (Overcoming Obstacles: Rejection, Noes, and Lack of Support) are more important than individual, short-term, or illicit gains.
During these challenging years, I surrendered leadership positions due to questionable and/or unethical practices by senior executives related to: workplace bullying (How to Get Away with Workplace Bullying) (of me and others), misappropriation of funds, contract fraud, and being directed to misrepresent facts to meet a client’s political and/or budgetary interests with an objective to maintain a significant revenue contributor.
While confronted with choices that are against an individual’s beliefs (Belief: An Underutilized Tool), Individuals will not always have control over others’ actions; however, individuals always have the power of choice (Depression: Coming Out of the Fog) to choose whether or not morally corrupt activities will be ignored for self-preservation. If I – and others – overlook misgivings, the cost isn’t limited to the losses related to the ignored activities. The opportunity costs are also transferred to others by allowing questionable and/or unethical activities to exist unchallenged.
My career opportunities were limited due to my choices to be positive, ethical, and not be needlessly disrespected – and sometimes tormented. Nevertheless, I’m a better man today than I ever thought I could be because of and not in spite of my difficult choices and decisions.
Even though I was depressed and almost committed suicide (The Day I Almost Committed Suicide), I continue to fight for things that I believe are important. These choices have led me to become a social activist and writer who uses a solution-oriented approach to resolve life and business challenges.
Whenever you’re confronted with a choice to do the right thing versus doing the wrong thing or making a choice to be complicit by inaction, please do the right thing --- as your choice(s) may have greater implications for yourself and others by allowing unethical activities to continue unresolved. Moreover, by doing the right thing (even if it’s tough at a moment), you will hopefully be positively true to yourself and the individual you choose or want to be, which may also lead you – like me – toward an unexpected journey (Journey Toward Writing Fulfillment) that might never be considered a possibility or realized without difficult choices.
Always fight for your positive believes (10 Lessons to Overcome Misguided Limitations); live a life that has significance; always stand for something that matters --- for yourself and others.
Remember --- nobody has to struggle alone, as there's always someone who is willing to provide assistance. The challenge – many times – is to be willing to identify assistance and give someone an opportunity to help (Helping Someone Who Might be Depressed).
No matter the length of your journey, don’t forget to be your best!
Anyone who needs assistance should contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org or 1-800-273-8255.
Additional information about Mr. Young’s journey to overcome his depression and near-suicide can be obtained in his book “Choosing to Take aStand: Changed me, my life, and my destiny”.