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) www.ata.org. Please join me in supporting these two wonderful organizations.