At age 17 just after the turn of the millenium, I was hospitalized after a period of mania and delirium. This experience was labeled "brief, reactive psychosis," and little did I know that this would not be my first hospital visit -- or my first label.
Fast forward over 20 years, and the statistics of my life can tell incomplete stories:
Version 1: Four hospital visits in two countries; two interruptions from school and work; conflicting mental health diagnoses; a $40k+ hospital bill because an insurance company did not cover anything related to my mental health. Broken relationships and a lack of self-confidence.
Version 2: Bachelor's and master's degrees; one of 22 out of over 6000 applicants to a prestigious global leadership fellowship put on by the World Economic Forum; Chair of the Board of a nonprofit; successfully raised $55k for a children's home to become self-sustaining; a rejection of mental health labels as incomplete and unnecessary. A loving husband and father.
The truth is of course both things, and then some.
My journey has forced me to reckon with bouts of mental ill-health -- serious ones. But I also believe these have helped me, personally and professionally, and that they are only a part of my story. Many of my soft skills -- empathy, vulnerable leadership, emotional intelligence -- have been strengthened as a result of these experiences.
I have worked with people struggling with their own mental health, with their loved ones' mental health, with their team's or organization's mental health. I love challenging myself, and others, to grow in ways we may not have thought possible. My style is empathetic and engaging, with the right dose of accountability and truth-telling.
My work on myself continues. My work with others inspires me. Perhaps our work together is just around the corner.
My writing reflects on the lessons I've learned throughout a 15+ year professional career and 20+ years of experience handling my own mental health diagnoses. Here are a few featured pieces: