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mADD mike 08-09-19 08:49 PM

You CAN find happiness - Saying hi after 8 years away...
Wow, it looks like the last time I posted regularly was 2011. This place was a huge part in finding some light in what was a very dark time in my life that I was coming out of in 2008. So much has changed since I was here last but I was about to recommend this site to someone that I'm coaching recently and I came to find that the site was down for some time. I just noticed that it was back up, saw a thread on it with some mods and admins that I remembered, and thought I'd poke my head in and say hi if anyone cares.

So let's see, what has happened since 2011. Well, when I came here in 2008 I had been suicidal and thought that I couldn't understand the way I worked and nobody else could. Then I read Driven to Distraction and things started changing, leading me here. Since then I've learned sooooooo much.

One thing I learned to do better with was to control my eating. I had been up to 250lbs and now I stay consistently around 208 at 6 feet tall. Myfitnesspal was myeatingfriend. I was shocked to learn how much I had been consuming. The battle of the bulge was long fought but I'd get 10 pounds down making one change and plateau. Then I'd figure out something else and drop some more, then something else, etc. I've been hovering around 208 for years now. I hit 199 for a minute. One glorious minute, lol.

The depression and anxiety and ADHD led my wife and I into a lot of debt on the business we owned. We ultimately owed the IRS $55,000. We worked our tails off and paid that off in 18 months, making around $80,000 extra to pay the taxes on the $55,000 in taxes we were paying off. We worked around the clock at times, at one point for 34 days straight, doing cleaning work and house sitting and pet sitting and car detailing and anything we could.

I outlined a lot of these things in a post in 2012 that I came back to share to try to inspire others.


THE BIGGEST THING THAT HAS CHANGED, even more than what I thought at the time was the bigges thing EVER, is that the 18 months spent paying off taxes, all of the time spent learning about ADHD, then things like happiness, vulnerability, narcissism, codependence, emotional abuse, etc., all of that led to the realization that the religion we spent our entire life in was actually a cult.

Yes, both myself and my wife (lostinthestars) were raised in the same cult. We had no idea. We spent the next years continuing to grow and research and read and in September 2018 we took the step of leaving the cult. We are now shunned by our families and everyone we formerly knew. The cult we lived practices extreme shunning. You are dead to them and no longer exist. The good news is that I had a brother that had been shunned years before us and we reconnected with him along with many other former friends from my childhood that had left and been summarily shunned.

September 2nd, 2019 will be our fourth shunniversary. It is the anniversary of the day that the local congregation announced that we were no longer members and the official shunning was to start. We were thrust into a world we had been told to be afraid of, a world of awful “worldly” people (that was our name for outsiders with a very negative connotation, not the good word in common vernacular).

Since that time we have worked on building an entirely new life and we have. We have more friends than we ever had in the three plus decades each spent in the cult. We have a true appreciation for the life we have. We can be ourselves, we can experience unconditional love instead of the control that we were made to think was love our whole lives. We are finally truly and actually happy, and not in a moment of stimulation where something good happened, but on that day to day basis where you know it’s real. We’ve both grown so much since I came here in 2008, since 2012 when we paid off our debts, since 2015 when we left a cult and everyone we ever knew and started life anew.

I decided to tell my story on a podcast that I did, a nine part series about my life. I have had tens of thousands of people listen to that and get help. People didn’t want me to stop so I started the podcast that I currently do called Shunned. I now help other people that are shunned by various groups to tell their stories and lay down their burdens.

That person that I was going to recommend this site to? She is a coaching client of mine. I’m now a certified life coach helping people to change their lives. How about THAT for a turnaround? I came here a sad, broken, suicidal person. This site and Driven to Distraction were the first steps in that turnaround. I’ll never forget this place and obviously haven’t as I was recommending it to a client as a place to learn more about her own issues.

My last post here where I was trying to inspire people was primarily about money and business. I’m here now to tell you that you can turn your LIFE around. Not just money or work. You can have a life that makes you truly happy. You don’t have to settle because you have a disorder. I’m now a firm believer that so much suffering in this world is because people aren’t living authentic lives. I saw the deep unhappiness in the people around me that were trying to fit into a mold fashioned by a cult. I saw it in my own life. I saw it when I was trying to be something other than I was, a guy with ADHD, trying to live up to expectations set by others to dictate how I should be in this world.

You, as a human, as presently constituted, are “enough”. You’re worthy of love and validation and you are not alone. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to work around, with, or through your issues, but when you start from a foundation of self-love rather than self-loathing things go so much better. Please hear this. You are worth being happy and no disorder nor anything else takes that worthiness away.

A lot of people liked my last post that was about the paid off debts and work inspiration. I’m here to inspire you this time to let you know that life can change in ways you never would have expected. I stopped trying to control life with a death grip, started working with life instead of against it, got very real and authentic and started seeing toxicity around me and I broke free. Freedom comes with a price, it is never free, but you can do this too!

Greyhound1 08-10-19 03:20 PM

Re: You CAN find happiness - Saying hi after 8 years away...
Congrats on overcoming so many struggles and issues. It’s nice to read about a success story around here. Thanks for sharing.

midnightstar 08-10-19 03:45 PM

Re: You CAN find happiness - Saying hi after 8 years away...
Thanks for sharing, maddmike :grouphug:

sarahsweets 08-11-19 06:39 AM

Re: You CAN find happiness - Saying hi after 8 years away...
Great post, very inspirational.

stef 08-11-19 10:07 AM

Re: You CAN find happiness - Saying hi after 8 years away...
Welcome back, and thank you for sharing your story.

Andi 08-13-19 11:41 AM

Re: You CAN find happiness - Saying hi after 8 years away...
Holy smokes, Mike. I didn't realize it's been 8 years. Glad to see you and to hear of your success. I wish you continued happiness and discovery.

Lunacie 08-13-19 06:41 PM

Re: You CAN find happiness - Saying hi after 8 years away...
Welcome back. I know how difficult, and yet how freeing, it can be to cut ties
with family and others that are not healthy for us. Onwards and upwards, right?

mADD mike 08-13-19 10:15 PM

Re: You CAN find happiness - Saying hi after 8 years away...
Yep, onwards and upwards. I won't say that I never miss any of those people, but I also know that were they to be in my life they would bring toxicity that would not be healthy for me. In my case I knew I would face extreme shunning, as did my wife, and we knew we had to take a stand and that we could no longer support the things we saw around us. If taking a stand for what is right means losing people that support that system then so be it. We're now free and life is so much better. It's a shame that our families can't experience that with us but that's their choice.

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