To My Fellow Adult ADHD Warriors…

I'm on a mission to raise awareness worldwide for adult ADHD, my fellow ADHD warriors!! - Jeff Emmerson

I’m on a mission to raise awareness worldwide for adult ADHD, my fellow adult ADHD warriors!! – Jeff Emmerson

By Jeff Emmerson

This is a fitting post, since as a boy, I idolized a few wrestlers and bodybuilders, and The Ultimate Warrior was my favorite wrestler, since he inspired me very deeply with his mannerisms, his insane intensity, and his resolve to achieve his OWN dreams in life – no one else’s. He had the guts to live on his terms, an absolute leader and amazing mentor for kids out there. He died on April 8th at the age of 54, while walking out of a hotel with his wife, apparently. Tonight, the WWE has a tribute show to who he was, and the man he was, as well.

The word “warrior” is one I’ve always identified with – I’ve always been a dreamer, a driven young man, someone who just saw life differently than the average person in a way. Not trying to stroke my own ego, I’ve simply had a fiercely burning “fire” inside me for my entire life, and I’m like a locomotive engine for living a life of true purpose, vision and positivity. Despite screwing up as a man in my very, very early twenties, I knew I had to prove myself, even if it meant being a martyr of sorts and dying to do it with the Canadian Army, though I was then refused entry with them after my credit report wasn’t very good way back in 2001. Things have changed, yet the fire is now stronger than ever, but it’s accompanied by wisdom, invaluable experience, and just a little bit of tact. Who knew?

Now and then I’ll drive by the spot where the Waterloo Detention Centre stood in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, and remember being brought in by the prisoner cube van, and having my world in severe trauma and limbo. Jesus, that still inspires me to leave a legacy of absolutely kicking ass with inspiring others, making amends, forgiving myself, and savoring this life as a true form of victory!

My fellow adult ADHD warriors, YOU can do this in your own way, with what is true for YOU. Damn it, I mean it! I don’t care what challenge you’re facing, even if you’re about to contemplate suicide, like I was, or try it, like I did – THERE IS MORE for you right around the corner. Thank God I got the hell into the emergency room! I didn’t want to die deep down – YES, I felt like it, but DEEP down, I knew that there just might be a way that experts could help me, and even if it would take time, killing myself was PERMANENT. No coming back – FUCK THAT, I am a warrior inside, even if it kills me……….I can’t go like this, by my OWN hand – NOOOOO! Everything I’ve ever dreamed of, believed in, smiled at, loved and imagined would all be GONE, and I would murder my loved ones, whether it was one person, a friend, a pet, whoever!

NO – There IS more for you, like there sure as hell is for me….Just look at all I’m doing now! One baby step at a time, from the darkest depths of needing someone else to take care of us (I fricken had enough – I needed help!), to re-gaining strength one second, one hour at a time through support from nurses, doctors, and other patients who do care so very much…….God, do we care!!!

Damn it. I lost my brother, so I know how suicide kills a part of all of us – NOOOO! My legacy will NOT be that! I don’t f’ing care how hard I need to fight: I WILL build the strength of a freight train again, I thought to myself, but only very gently during my first days in the psych ward – and here I am today, an absolute monster of positivity, a beacon of light for those like me who are true warriors, but are also fighting the strongest of opponents: mental health challenges.

GOD, NO!! CHOOSE to give in, wave the white flag, but to WIN your war! I’m telling you as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow – I’m f’ing telling you, and I don’t care if people think I’m swearing a lot, or crazy, or whatever else – they simply don’t get it. Those of us who truly “see” GET IT, and that is ALL that matters.

I see you, Warrior. You may feel weak, frail, in despair, lost, and like a fucking mess, but THAT is where your new journey begins, and with all my heart and soul I PROMISE you that you have it in you to not only survive, but inspire millions yourself! Just start SLOW, one dream at a time, whatever the heck it is. You don’t need to inspire millions “out there.” Just be yourself, and you will make a difference. That is ALL you need to do: be true to you. The rest will take care of itself. When you hit challenges and tough times, people like me will be here to listen, to support you, reminding you of how far you’ve already come! THAT is how you do what I did – survive, let others help you get your life back, then once you’re standing on your own, take it one day at a time, through whatever comes, knowing you’re unstoppable after all you’ve been through.

I PROMISE YOU – THIS WORKS. Just take it one second at a time right now. Let the warrior inside you allow you to stay alive, to regain your strength and purpose, and watch, my friend…..just watch what happens.

I’d reach through this damn internet to touch you with my energy and purpose if I could. No bullshit here. This saved my life, baby step by baby step. It DOES change your life when you choose to stay true to your dreams no matter what! Look at my face in today’s photo…..Really look. LOOK. My eyes say it all. They are reaching out to you.

A Tribute to Hall and Oates and The Man Who Never Gave Up on Me…

Jeff Emmerson with Dad on Jeff's thirtieth birthday in August 2006.

August, 2006 – Jeff Emmerson with Dad on Jeff’s 30th birthday.

Daryl Hall (right) and John Oates after being inducted to the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame, finally!

April 10, 2014 – Daryl Hall (right) and John Oates after being inducted to the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, finally! (Photo courtesy of ABCLocal.go.com)

By Jeff Emmerson

Be prepared – this post is heavily personal, so please take a moment to take the ride with me…..Now then:

A few days ago, the legendary music duo Hall and Oates were inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll hall of fame, an honor that was long overdue. I mean decades late, but as Daryl Hall said at the concert that changed my life on a late summer night in 2006, “better late than never, right?”

…Damn right. Going back to my early childhood, the days at 666 Pine Ridge Road in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, I can still hear Hall & Oates playing on Dad’s 8-track stereo, the kind that was all the rage in the late 1970′s, though it was the start of the 80′s as I grew to know the soulful sounds of Daryl Hall and John Oates.

Dad helped me survive some horribly traumatic times in my early life. I was a very emotional boy, and growing up with my Mom abusing my sister and scaring the hell out of me when she got angry began the world of anger and hatred mixed with love for the woman who was “going to have me aborted,” as my Grandmother told me later on. Thank God she didn’t…

Dad, oh Dad – your gentle nature, your endless patience with me, and your willingness to stand by your son is unmatched, especially since I was 8 weeks old when you adopted me! You are my hero, literally.

Dad saved my sister and I from beatings, though not from all of them, and my sibling was punched, kicked, and made to feel like a failure on many occasions. She had it worse than I did, though I was the sensitive one of the two of us, and Mom still had me at home when my sister ran away, went to Nan’s house, and moved out at 16 years of age. Mom tried with me, but dear God was I afraid of her. Anxiety was nothing new in our house.

As time passed, I learned to develop trust issues with women due to Mom’s new boyfriends and her inability to speak to me in a healthy, nurturing and truly maternal way, I became a very angry teenager, getting into lifting weights and taking steroids at the age of 16, so that I could “become so big and strong that she could never hurt me again.”

Jesus – I still feel that inner rage and resolve to end her if she ever tried to hurt me again when I think back. I didn’t help the situation, and she had the vicious anger of a lion in her midst, though I thankfully never used my fists to show here how hurt she had made me over the years without a damn maternal bone in her body. God, I loved my Mom, and God, I wanted to end her. I could nearly taste it on many occasions.

Thank God for Dad…..he would pick me up every week, and as a boy around 10 years old, we’d do a “swap,” meeting when Mom, her boyfriend and I would drive to the local department store (Canadian Tire on Weber Street in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada – not a Goodlife Fitness Club) and meet Dad to send me off for the day or the weekend. It was like going from hell to heaven, even though Dad was going through his own struggles. Mom kept the house, treated my Dad like shit, and was a vindictive, heartless woman, the kind I wanted to kill. Ironically, I would later be attracted to flighty, physically beautiful women, and I ended up in jail as the result of one particular “relationship.” That’s in my up-coming memoir.

Thank God for you, Dad. You were the voice of reason through all the shit, the pain, my pain, my fierce struggle to survive, let alone be successful. Hall and Oates were the music I grew to listen to as I came into my teens, and Daryl Hall’s 1993 solo album “Soul Alone” became my soundtrack, playing in my “walkman” as I lived with my beloved Grandmother after Mom kicked me out as high school began. I was beginning to fight back, to scream at her, to do all I could to let her know my rage existed, to show her I wasn’t going to fucking stand it anymore. Truth be told, I would have someday killed her if I’d stayed. Her heartlessness and selfishness made me want to lose it on her and end both of us in the process. Yeah, I was a bit angry. Thank God I never acted out on those thoughts. THANK GOD FOR THE GYM, thank God for Dad! Thank God for my Grandmother, as well. Otherwise, I’d still be in prison, on a much different path.

That’s the tip of this iceberg, my journey. I failed grade 4, they brought in a “Big Brother” for me, since I was devastated, sitting in class like a comatose mental patient, feeling lost inside. Kids were cruel, and I turned into a thief, stealing as a way to subconsciously cry out for help! I was an emotional, sweet by with a ton of rage inside. Dad and Hall and Oates’ music became my escape, my sweet forgiveness and joy. I held on so fiercely tight to my resolve, my will to survive, to be a “champion in life” like my first tattoo still says, to prove myself to Dad…..you loved me endlessly, selflessly, like the luckiest of boys boast about. My God am I lucky for you! Nan and you literally saved me…..from the courthouse in handcuffs in 1999, to my near-suicide in 2011 after my brother Ryan did it a few years earlier…God, what a heart-wrenching journey this has been!

I also thank God for my wife every day. EVERY. DAY. She saw me through committing myself to the psych ward a year and a half ago. I’m a late-bloomer, a hopeless romantic, and judge me as you may, I remember who was there for me through the dark times. I would die for any of them in a heartbeat.

Hall and Oates helped me throughout my life. Like so many others out there, their music helped me through my extremely traumatic first marriage and separation, my struggles in the 1990′s as I found myself battling undiagnosed adult ADHD, and they are still helping me feel close to my Dad, especially since I live more than 2,000 miles away from him now, and he’s battling his own challenges as we speak. Challenges that are no match for him, the man who woke up at 4am every weekday for decades to put food on the table, pay the endless $400 per month for child support, and to hold things together for his family. All of us. I love you so much, Dad! I don’t think you know just how heavy this appreciation in my heart and soul truly is, just like for my Grandmother – you are both sacred in my awareness, just as Daryl Hall and John Oates are. They are a metaphor for the safety of seeing you, Dad……as a boy who wasn’t strong enough to fend for himself, to use the hardest-hitting words possible to let his mother know she was destroying his world, one he’d have to pick up the pieces from for the rest of his damn life.

OK – You get the point. I’m listening to the song “The Space Between” by Dave Matthews on repeat in my headphones, thinking of the little boy who just wanted a fucking mentor, who had his amazing Dad, but Dad couldn’t always be there……..My uncle tried to stop me from seeing you, Dad, and I set him damn straight in a heartbeat, even through his drug and alcohol addiction….this was one hell of a journey to finding myself, Dad. Ryan died, but I’m still here, making a difference in my OWN life now.

I know you’re proud, and you say it all the time, but I still need to scream from the mountains…..I need to be heard!

My story needs to bleed into the fabric of the current world I live in, the world blessed with your presence, even as you get older and more frail.

You will ALWAYS be a warrior to me, and as I show kindness as a hospital security guard to other children who desperately need it, you live on through me, you are here with me, in my heart and soul. You will never leave. I now realize that angels do exist. We just have to open our eyes. I love you, Dad. You will ALWAYS be with me.

To Hall and Oates: You have no idea I exist, but you have played a huge role in my life through your music, hitting my soul, reminding me of the precious times with my Dad, and as I grew older, Daryl Hall’s solo albums helped me through my own teenage and early-adulthood emotions, being the “soulful dreamer” that I am. You guys have already affected millions of lives through your passion. Thank you forever for that! I dream of handing Daryl Hall a copy of my memoir once I ink a book deal this year (that’s my goal!). A photo of us will be taken, blown up, and framed proudly on a wall in my home as long as I’m alive. I’m speechless when I imagine it. I made it, I came full-circle with the help of amazing people (and music) in my life! It’s a book in itself. :)

I swear: you couldn’t write a story this heavy, this heart-wrenchingly beautiful.

August 30, 2006 - Fifteen years later, Dad and I were there to see Hall and Oates this time around, and the concert inspired me to start writing my memoir! I will never forget. - Jeff Emmerson

August 30, 2006 – Fifteen years after missing Hall and Oates live in our hometown, Dad and I were there to see Hall and Oates the second time around, and the concert inspired me to start writing my memoir! I will never forget. My life changed that night, forever. – Jeff Emmerson

Now, for a bit of comic relief: A funny video of Dad playing around near the end of September, 2012: