Very few times in my life have I become paralyzed by self-doubt, fear, anger … but when those things align, coordinate their attack, my brain shuts down.  Here is what I do to combat that.

In this episode, I talk about

  • That one ugly night
  • The day after
  • The best weapon against the darkness

Transcript:

Hello everyone. Welcome to the path to 1 million. This is going to be episode number 124. So I wanted to talk today about something. And I know it’s going to sound a little bit dark, but believe it or not it’s not. So bear with me. I know it’s Friday and everybody’s in a good mood, but I just wanted to chat with you about something I was thinking about yesterday. So if we go back a handful of years I was at this point in time, I was about halfway through my divorce. There was one day that came up where a buddy of mine was having a birthday party. And so of course, you know, I went and during this whole time the of going through the divorce, I felt like, you know, I was, you know, half the days I just felt like a, like a walking Zombie.

Like it was numb. I wasn’t like really feeling everything. And every now and then I would have these flashes or moments where I would feel really good and sometimes I would have these flashes where I felt really bad. It just, you know, these normal things that happen when you actually go through, you know, a divorce and you’re just processing things as you go. Well, this one particular night at my friend’s birthday party and there was a lot of people there, there was a lot of alcohol there. A lot of people were just having a great time and you know, I just remember I grabbed a cocktail and I had it and then I grabbed a second cocktail. I grabbed a third cocktail and I don’t really, really drink a lot. I mean, I enjoy having the occasional cocktail, but for some reason on this day I just kept, I kept drinking.

And I remember that as the afternoon progressed and it, it was getting closer to five o’clock and then it was getting closer to six o’clock. I remember that all of the sudden the darkness came on like really bad, like all of the all the self-doubts, all of the anger, all the resentment, all the regret, all of the you know, beating myself up. Like, you know, once again, cliff, you failed, you know, all of these things, all these voices started screaming in my head and here I met this birthday party and there’s all these people that are around me, they’re like laughing, they’re having a good time stuff Dah, Dah, Dah, Dah. And I’m, I’m, I’m literally like sitting there like starting to fume, like starting to get really bad. And so I thought to myself, you know, this is a, this is a common mistake I guess that people make, but I was like, you know what, I’m going to have another cocktail.

Cause maybe that will drawn the voices out. And actually that did nothing but make the voices even louder. And so I’m going through this and it’s just, it’s getting darker and it’s getting darker. And it’s to the point now where, you know, people are asking me questions or you know, they’re saying something to me or whatever it is and all I want to do is just tear their heads off. That’s all I want to do. And it was just, it was a pure like rock linger that was just inside of me. And I, and I just remember thinking to myself, cliff, you have to extricate yourself from this party. You have to get out of here because at some point in time somebody’s going to say something to you and you’re going to light them on fire. You got to get Outta here. It’s a birthday party, it’s a happy celebration.

Get Out. So I remember I left, I wasn’t sober enough to drive, but I remember I, I walked out of the party and I walked down to the beach and by this point in time, it’s like, I would say like maybe eight or nine o’clock at night and it was like pitch black down at the beach and the waves are just crashing like crazy. And that wind was so cold and I was, I was just hoping that there would be something where, you know, either the sound of the waves or the cold air or something would just make the voices stop. You know? And I, for some reason I remembered this thing about your brain and pain gating, like it only registers pain from one part of your body at a time. So I thought, well, maybe if I just make myself freezing cold or if the wasters loud enough for whatever it is and it would drown the stuff out.

And I remember standing there, I stood there at the beach probably for like about an hour and the voices were just so loud and they were screaming so hard at me and everything else. And I just remember I stood there and stood there and I realized that it wasn’t working. And so I started walking back to my buddy’s place and I remember thinking to myself, you know, I, I just have to leave. I just got to get outta here. This isn’t, this isn’t working for me. I have to get out of here. And by this point in time, it’s getting close to like maybe 10 o’clock or 11 o’clock at night. I hadn’t had a drink in like maybe five or six hours. So I figured I was sober enough to drive and I made it back to my buddy’s place. And you know, my first impulse was, you know, you should go say goodbye, but then I know that if I did, everybody was gonna start asking me what was wrong.

And I really did not feel like talking to anybody. I didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t want to talk about my feelings. I didn’t talk to want to talk about what was going on. My head just wanted to leave, just wanting to get out of there. Right. I was just feeling so suffocated. So I did say goodbye to the host for the party. And the got in my car and I laughed and I remember on the drive home you know, I shut off the radio in the car so I wouldn’t have to listen to any music. I didn’t put any podcasts on or anything else, but I just remember it was just I w I was just such dark place and you know, light after light after light on the way home. It just seemed like a hit every red light and every time that I would actually stop the car and sit there and wait for the light, the voices just got so loud and I remember multiple times on the way home I actually broke down crying in the car cause it was just, it was evil blackness.

It was just this like sticky tar that was inside of me that I couldn’t make. Stop finally make it home, make it the bed. The voices are screaming so loud. I think it was like maybe like three o’clock in the morning before I finally passed out from sheer exhaustion. The voices were so loud and I just remember like right before I went to bed, you know, one of the voice was w one of the voices said you can hide from us as the sleep cliff, but we will be here when you wake up. And that’s a shitty thing to think about when you’re going to sleep. So the next morning I get up and I actually do feel a better. The next morning my brain has done this like mental reset. But I just remember I was like emotionally drained. I was physically drained. I just sat on the couch.

I didn’t want to do anything, didn’t want to talk to anybody. I put a throwaway movie on and you know, my good buddy Pete called, he was actually at the party the night before, so he called me, he’s like, dude, but happened to you last night. And I was like, ah man, I was just in a really dark place and Dah, Dah, Dah. And so, you know, he was asking me some questions and stuff and then all of a sudden he just was like, dude, he says, you don’t understand. He goes, you have so much in your life to be grateful for. You know, in a year from now, you’re going to be so much better place. In a year from now, you’re going to have this like smoking hot blonde on your arm and a year from now you’re going to have this and a year from now you’re going to have that. And excuse me, that statement really struck me because a bout a month before, six weeks before, somewhere in that time I was listening to an interview that 20 robins was given and he was talking about his morning routine and he talked about how one of the things that he does during his morning routine as he does this, a gratitude meditation where he actually sits and focuses on what he is grateful for in his life.

And his argument is that you can’t feel anger, you cannot feel fear and feel gratitude at the same time. You just can’t. So if you focus on the gratitude, the fear goes away and the anger goes away. And so I wondered, you know, the Pete’s statement triggered that thought in my brain. I was like, I wonder if that’s really true. So I decided to change the scenery was in order. So I grabbed my beach chair. I roll on down to the beach, the sun is out. It’s absolutely beautiful. The waves are just gently lapping up against the ocean. I remember I sat there for like maybe 20 or 30 minutes with my eyes closed, just feeling the sun on my skin and it felt so good. I opened up my writing journal, which I usually take with me and I just started writing everything that I was grateful for.

Anything that I could think of, no matter how small or how big, I just started writing down. I am grateful for my health. I am grateful for my parents health. I am grateful for, you know, x, y, z. Nobody and I just kept doing that list. You know, I would list friends I am grateful for. I’m grateful for Matt. I am grateful for and I just kept going down that list. Every little tiny thing if I, yeah, I was grateful for tying my shoes for crying out loud. I mean I put everything on that list that I could think of and when. The amazing thing is, is that when I got done with that list, and I’m sure I probably left many things off, but when I got done writing out that list, I was amazed at how much better I felt and how good I felt inside because no matter how much garbage and crap, you know, mistakes that I’ve made or you know, bad decisions that I’ve made or you know, pain that I’ve might’ve caused other people.

I know there’s a world of good out there that I have done and things that are, are good in my life. And it’s easy to forget about those things when you’re completely focused on all of that really crappy negativity that is in your life. And so for me, when, whenever I started to get to a point where I started to get down on myself or I start getting harsh on myself, where I started getting a little brutal on myself because you know, x, Y,Z , Dah, Dah, Dah, Dah. The thing is, is I have to actually sit down and do a pattern interrupt and say, you know, cliff, you have this, you have your health. You have your ability to do this, at least you can do this. You’re grateful because you are alive. You are grateful because you woke up and you’re able to play the game for one more day.

Excuse me. So gratitude, it has always been just the greatest thing for me to be able to combat the darkness every single time that it comes. Because for every, like I said, if for every negative thing that happens in life, there’s always like 10 positive things that happen. And sometimes you have to sit there and remind yourself of those positive things that have happened in life just to make sure you keep those negative thoughts that goes negative feelings or whatever it is at bay. You’ll never get rid of them. There’s going to be ups and downs in life. That’s always going to happen. And I totally accept that and I totally get it, but that doesn’t mean that I have to let them rule my life. Anyways, just wanting to share those thoughts with you. Thank you guys all for stopping by today. I really do appreciate it. I hope you have a fantastic Friday and a fantastic weekend as well. I’ll be back again tomorrow with another story and I will see you guys then have a great day.