On November 2, 2010 I noticed my ears started ringing. I really didn’t think much about it. As a child I had many ear infections and as an avid hunter who uses a shot gun, my ears have been known to cause a few problems, but that day it was different. The irritating ringing gradually started getting louder and louder escalating to a deafening pitch. Doctor visits later diagnosed me with “Tinnitus” aka ringing in the ear. There was not much they could do about it. They gave me a few ideas to cope with it and sent me on my way. I was managing well enough until that December when the stress of the holidays were ramping up. For seven consecutive days I didn’t fall asleep because the ringing was not stopping, it never stops. I could not manage it anymore. It got so bad that I went into a full blown anxiety attack and had to go to the hospital. Thankfully my medications were adjusted and I was able to sleep again. My biggest fear is that the ringing will be so loud that I can’t cope or manage it. It is a “hidden” disability. It’s easy to lose my train of thought and get distracted by the noise. To relieve the affects of tinnitus, I work-out, listen to soft music in the back ground while working, focus on positive thoughts, and listen to audio-books rather than read print. Staying active and moving forward is essential to my well-being.
Fast forward a few years to October 9, 2019. I came to the conclusion that I was depressed and had anxiety so I decided to get help. I went to my primary doctor and told him what was happening. He asked if I wanted to see someone. A counselor was on break and saw me within 30 minutes. While talking to her, she recommended that I go to a three week Partial Hospital Program. It was going to be an intense program that helps you to understand and cope with depression and anxiety. I talked to my wife and family and they recommend that I get help. On October 23rd I started the program. It was the best thing I have ever done. I came to realize that I have been battling with depression and anxiety all my life. The program allowed me to share my feelings and taught me to cope with anxiety and depression. The biggest thing I realized was I didn’t enjoy my job at the time. I was coasting the last 10 years of my life and I knew it was time for a change. That change happened while I was in the Partial Hospital Program. I received an email that my job, along with other jobs with the association, were being eliminated. I thank God that it happened during my treatment. I couldn’t imagine if it had happened two weeks earlier when I was at my worst. God works in great ways! I knew this was a blessing in disguise and I had the opportunity to do something different. What could I do that I would really enjoy and how can I help people who struggle with mental illness and tinnitus? As a child, I always enjoyed long drives and I still do today. Someone at my treatment mentioned that I should be a driver. He was the one who came up with my business name. I really started to think about it and I finally decided that this is what I was going to do. I wanted to be my own boss, so I decided to start my own driver service.
I have now figured out what I want to do and how I can help people with mental illness and tinnitus. There is a huge stigma with mental illness, especially among men. I want to share my story and break that stigma. 100% of each merchandise sale on my website will be donated to NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance for Mental Illness) namimn.org and the ATA (American Tinnitus Association) . Please join me in supporting these two wonderful organizations.