T Nation

Hello World: Let Me Introduce...

myself…Or should I say, “reintroduce myself”. My name is Randy. See, for the first 35 years of my life I was severely impacted by a debilitating disease of the mind. It’s called clinical depression. Throw in a pinch of obsessive compulsive disorder and a slight dose of bipolar disorder for good measure.

But through my teens and early twenties, the one thing I never lacked was ambition. I was always full of ambition. Ambition is what drove me to finish with an engineering degree summa cum laude at Northeastern University back in 1993. Ambition is what drove me to apply to UCLA and get accepted that summer of 1993 following graduation. Ambition is what drove me to move out to Southern California to attend UCLA with no money, no friends, and no family in the area.

Ambition is what drove me to sweet talk my way into an internship that they usually on give to the gifted students with the best grades. The part time lab job helped pay bills for 3 months as I settled into graduate school.

Ambition is what drove me to find a job in my field of study (environmental engineering) just 3 months following my graduate studies. Ambition is what drove me to decide to finish school regardless of the job requiring that I work full time.

So I ended up working full time and going to school full time and sleeping about 4 to 5 hours. With a mental illness and the full time load of work and school and with a little too much ambition…I spiraled into a schizophrenic state. I did end up recovering from the breakdown and finishing school just 15 months after I started with a masters degree in environmental engineering at the ripe old age of 24 years of age.

Ambition is what drove me to completely reinvent myself and leverage my project management skills and resume writing skills to enter into a quickly growing field at the time: software. Ambition is what drove me to attempt to make my first million dollars by starting a multi-level marketing business. I was convinced I was going to be a millionaire.

The challenge was, however, that I had severe social anxiety disorder (did I mention that earlier?) and had trouble hanging around close friends without feeling extremely uncomfortable. Now I’m faced with going out and talking to perfect strangers about a business opportunity where 98% of them will say no…some very rudely.

Well, I forced myself through the emotional pain and worked the business as hard as it could be worked. I talked to dozens and dozens of strangers…get rejected then go home and sob bitterly. And then go out again and do the same thing. Because…you see world, I had ambition. I wanted to be financially independent and have complete control of my destiny.

At the beginning of my business, I met my first wife. I was highly attracted to her but I didn’t understand anything about compatibility. She decided to join the business with me, become my wife, and we were going to become millionaires together.

While all this rejection was taking place. something positive was starting to happen. I was taking full advantage of the business’ positive motivation tape library and books. I never knew this stuff existed. It was like manna from heaven for me. I would pour over every word. I think I read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” every month for a year. I practiced what I read.

I started applying Neural Linguistic Programming where you listen to self affirmation tapes with the goal of reprogramming your mind for success. I made a self esteem tape and listened to that thing probably 500 times before it wore out in my tape deck.

I eventually was moderately successful with the business and became very, very good at talking to strangers, generating interest in the business, targeting their dreams and goals and what they wanted out of life, and then showing them how…with enough hard work and effort, there was this vehicle that could “hypothetically” take you there.

I took personal growth so seriously I ended up reading over 600 personal growth books in a 2 year time span as well as reading the bible word for word 3 times over. But something was still very, very wrong with me. As much as I grew as a person, I still felt like I was always fighting misery, despair, and anxiety every day of my life.

It was during this time that I came across a personal growth book in the bookstore written by a guy who went through a very similar journey to me. He went through an aggressive personal growth journey but was still coming up short in the mental health department. That is when he visited his psychiatrist friend and within one session his friend told him the reason he was suffering so much because he was clinically depressed. He was put on anti-depressants and within a few weeks he described the feeling of being able to float on the water’s surface now as opposed to constantly struggling to stay afloat but never quite getting there.

When I read this book, I went nuts. I visited multiple therapists over my 26 years of life and not one of them mentioned that I may have a chemical imbalance of my brain and it didn’t have anything to do with my “childhood”. I immediately booked an appointment with a therapist and received my first dosage of anti-depressant medication.

Sure enough, within a few weeks, I felt like a new man. I was able to be around my friends now with no anxiety. I looked forward to the day. I still had my emotional roller coaster days however. I didn’t realize at the time that I should have been on a higher dosage.

I then experienced my first divorce. It was pretty quick, painful, and I felt like a failure. But we always fought bitterly and after a couple of months, I realized that I was glad she initiated it. As a catholic, however, I had serious issues with divorce in general.

Soon after I went home to visit the folks in New Hampshire and I was invited to a wedding where my college girlfriend was one of the brides maids. We hit it off and within 6 months she moved out to California and into the house I bought with my first wife.

Within 6 months, she was pregnant and I was crapping my pants. I wasn’t ready for children. I didn’t plan this. How am I going to pay for a child? It was decided soon after that it would be a good idea to be married. From one wife to the next, just like that.

After 2 years as a software project manager, I got into the dot com world and moved into sales. Ambition is what drove this move because I was working with Microsoft-certified engineers with no college experience making more money than me, going with dot com companies where they were getting a ton of stock options.

This was my second foray into aggressively pursuing a path to millionaire status through the dot com world. I was so pissed at these other peons that I went through this aggressive self education process and obtained a bunch of technical degrees in my spare time. This is what enabled the move into the sales engineer role. People skills and technical skills. This would end up being a very smart move that would reap benefits a few years later.

Ambition was driving me in a good direction career-wise. After going through multiple “dot bombs” and being out of work multiple times for extended periods…I finally found a job with a company that was solid, had growth potential, and I had the ability to finally spread my wings.

The problem, however, is that I was still not feeling right in the head. I was on too low of an anti-depressant dosage and then my doctor said I should just get off of it. So, for a year I was completely off the anti-depressants…even though I was better off than before I started them, I was still just barely functioning.

After a very stressful growth process at work about 6 months ago, I broke down into a spiral of depression once again. This time, however, I knew what was happening to me and got back on anti-depressants. This time, I received the right dosage. Let me tell you, my whole world changed instantly. I was finally functioning at an optimal level. I was happy, outgoing, ambitious as ever, and starting to really spread my wings in my career.

After going to Vegas last December and attending the Cirque du Soleil Zumanity show, I really wanted to start cutting after a year and a half of bulking. The dudes were ripped and I was feeling pretty white and chubby. I gave myself 6 months so I could maintain as much muscle as possible.

It was during this time, that our company was starting to make a lot of strategic purchases of other companies. The problem was, that no one in sales knew anything about these strategic offerings, how they could be sold, how they could be integrated into a total solution. Ambition started to rear its head again. These “swinging dick” Account Execs from the supply chain company we bought thought the walked on water. It pissed me off so bad. They wouldn’t help any of us either.

I took matters into my own hands. I got my hands on their servers, I downloaded their software and got it installed, I read thousands and thousands of documents regarding the software, the industries they sell into, supply chain graduate study material, you name it. I was going to figure out how to sell their software better than them.

I was actively involved in a very large sales opportunity a top entertainment DVD company in the LA region. We just performed a business assessment where we interviewed over 20 people within a 2 day period. It was then that I realized that we that the customer was in need of not only our integration software (our pre-merger software offering), but also our supply chain software. We presented our findings internally and our executive VP of global sales agreed and said we had a unique opportunity to sell a very strategic deal they we could make an entertainment industry solution.

This was my siren call. Dammit! I was going to figure out how to develop a cohesive solution presentation. I was going to show those smug sales guys, the company, the world that I could do this. This was an incredibly complex set of problems that no one in the DVD supply chain has been able to solve. I had to make the presentation thorough but concise, detailed enough to achieve understanding but not so much as to get lost in the message…it had to be absolutely crystal clear and it had to SOLVE their business problems.

I went nuts. I knew we had a limited time to put this together in order to reach our customer’s upper echelon of executives. I started working on this presentation around the clock. I was at the end of week 2 with this presentation WHEN…

You, world, decided to collapse around me. About 2 months ago, I was in my hotel room about an hour north of my house. I received the fateful call. My wife tells me that our son is being rushed to the emergency room. A normal blood sugar profile is between 100 and 200 mg/dl and my 5 year old son’s was reading in the 800’s. Yes, you guessed it…he was diagnosed with TYPE 1 DIABETES. I freaked out…I didn’t know anything about it. I was wondering if he was going to survive the night.

Then my wife tells me the next day that she wants a divorce. I’m thinking to myself, “I’ve been averaging 4 hours sleep a night for the last 2 weeks, sometimes working through the night, my son was just diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and now my wife wants a divorce”.

I was devastated. Mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically bankrupt. My son’s blood sugar was stabilized and he left the hospital 2 days later. We now had to read his blood sugar four times every day and give him insulin at least twice per day for the rest of his life. I also had to emotionally start dealing with my 2nd failed marriage in a row. It was a long weekend…My thoughts were “I failed again”, “my son will be devastated”, “I’m going to take a major kick in the balls financially, I was on a quick road to financial independence, now I’ve taken six steps back”, “I’m checked out of life and I’m done”…

Monday I talked to my mentor and friend, my sales manager Elaine. Between her and my boss, they both have psychology degrees and I respect them both. Elaine asked me the most critical question she could ask me during this horrible time…she said “Randy, assume Jared will be fine in either situation (married or divorced), what is it that you want, Randy”?

I don’t know why the question hit me so hard but it did. I never gave it much though what I really wanted. After about 30 seconds contemplating the question I immediately knew the answer “I want out of this relationship and fast!”

You see, I married the wrong woman twice in a row. Since I was depressed, I was really attracting women who needed emotional rescuing and usually had really bad things happen to them during their childhood. My latest wife was no exception.

In reality, I knew it was doomed from the beginning but I was determined to try for the sake of my son. She never said a kind word to me, never supported me, actually gave me a really hard time about spending time on T-Nation, was not supportive of my work, any of my positive qualities…nothing. She let herself get out of shape, she has low self-esteem and she never really worked through her feelings on what happened to her as a child.

This proved to make the next few weeks very difficult. She was asking for all kinds of money, she thought I was going to move out of the house even though I owned well before she came along…by the way, she “accidentally” got pregnant too…she went completely irrational…it got so bad that I was threatening to sue her just to deplete all of her funds and emotionally and mentally bankrupt her if she didn’t leave me alone and come to the table for a rational split of assets.

I actually put the whole damn plan together without an accountant. I accounted for everything such as home equity buildup, retirement accounts, IRS tax status (single vs head of household), expected incomes with new tax status, car split, furniture fund, etc. I laid it all out and I feel it was very fair and equitable.

She kept saying this was not about her and it was all about the little man. I called her bullshit. It was ALL about her and how much she could get and she was destroying my son’s innocence in the process of her irrationality.

She even called the cops on me one day when I confronted her with digital pictures she was taking of my marijuana. It appeared that she was trying to use these pictures against me in court even though we agreed to a collaborative joint custody relationship previously. It’s when she found out that I started seeing another girl and she hadn’t moved out of my house yet.

I finally had a nervous breakdown one night after smoking a lot of weed and drinking a lot of alcohol. After the cop incident, I told her enough was enough. You either decide to apologize for what you did, agree to never say another bad word to me again, and start putting your money where your mouth is when it comes to acting responsibly in front of our son. I told her she was the one that wanted the divorce and now she needs to let go of me. I think she was starting to realize what she was letting go.

Because as soon as I started reading about Type 1 diabetes I realized I knew a shitload about the parameters for controlling diabetes thanks to T-Nation! I knew food combinations and how they affected blood sugar in the body thanks to Lowery and Berardi. I already ate six, balanced meals a day…just like Jared would do now…he was going to eat just like daddy.

Once I realized what I wanted for my life, I started to thrive. I took complete control of my son’s nutrition, diabetes management and his belief system that he could accomplish anything he sets his mind to.

I also took complete control of my own emotions and refused to speak to my wife and would immediately leave the house any time she started verbally attacking me. I took control of my physical state and decided to finish what I started back in January and that was to get ripped and see how much muscle I’ve gained over the last 3 years. I took control of my career by refusing to quit during this horrible time frame and I worked harder than ever to finish this report. I invested 2 solid months in this presentation and started to present it internally to our CFO, Executive VP of Sales, and Chief Strategy Officer of a 2,000 person company.

The feedback I received is that it was the “best presentation I’ve seen in 20 years”, “very compelling”, “crystal clear”, “visionary”, and “excellent”. As a matter of fact, it was so compelling that my proudest moment in my career just happened a couple of weeks ago.

We are owned by AT&T…you know the company that trades under one letter “T”. Well, apparently we had a number of new AT&T boards of directors that were very interested in what our company was doing with all the strategic companies and solutions we bought. From AT&T’s perspective their thinking “we helped you invest in these companies by giving you hundreds of millions of dollars so where’s the beef? what opportunities are you engaged in?”

When I showed my presentation to the CFO, she recommended our CEO take a look at it. And guess which presentation they used when they went in front of the AT&T board of directors to discuss strategic deals our company was engaged in that utilized all of our newly acquired assets? That’s right. They used my presentation!

My confidence level has soared. I really feel that I could be a Fortune 500 CEO now. That’s how confident I am in the business world. My goal is to make this sale happen and make it the largest our company has ever sold. Even though I’ve been set back hundreds of thousands of dollars from this divorce…my ambition to become financially independent is fierce now.

So you see world, I’m basically Dave Fuckin Tate’s younger, metrosexual brother. When I set a goal, I always hit it. Always! I’m in the best shape of my life at 36 years of age…my mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical life are all hitting on gear 5 at the same time.

My ambition has grown tremendously over the last few months. My future has never looked brighter. My 5 year old son is now declaring that he is going to represent the United States in the Olympics when he is 18 and win a gold medal and I fully believe and support him. I’m touching people in ways I was never able to before I treated my mental disease…now I can hardly contain my energy and enthusiasm…my testosterone is through the roof…my ex-wife finally moved out last night…

And I never realized how much my stock has risen with the females ;)…I’m having the time of my life. So watch out world…my name is Randy…aka Randman…and I’m coming for ya.

Cue in “We are the champions” from Queen…

Here is me three years ago when all I did was run for miles every day because I wanted to get ripped…I didn’t know the first thing about building muscle. I am 6’1" and approximately 173 lbs here. Massive, I know.

Here I am 3 years later. Still 6’1" and weighing about 189 lbs here. So over 3 years I gained a respectable 14 to 15 lbs of muscle…I’m not blown away by my results but I’m reasonably pleased considering I busted my ass consistently and overcame what I consider a pretty ectomorphic build. So I went from ethiopian to metrosexual. Hopefully in the next 3 years I can gain more than 15 lbs and go from metrosexual to beefy. It should be a fun ride :wink:

Awesome post! Well worth the read.

You get five stars.

Nothing but respect and Love, Brother…

Thank you for sharing with us.

You can believe that none of us will ever look at that avatar of Barney “tappin’ that ass” the same from now on…

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall.”

Confucius

Mufasa

Wow, quite the rollercoaster. Glad you held on and are kicking ass, the alternatives are not so great! :wink:

Welcome back, Randman. I sure missed that gyrating hippo, dude!

I’d post more, but I don’t want to challenge your record as Longest Post in T-Nation History.

Take care!

:slight_smile:

Thanks AgentOrange! Mufasa, I’m always a fan of yours. Yours too, Vroom. I missed you guys. I would read a post here or there but just had nothing to add as you can now understand…

I can’t wait. Wednesday I’m flying back home to New Hampshire for 5 days, visit the relatives, and go white water river rafting for the first time on a category 5 rated river. I’m starting to crap my pants just thinking about it but I keep telling myself if my friend did it, so can I :wink:

I just hope no one quotes that whole thing… It might make the biggest thread in T-Nation history damn quickly.

And randman, you are amazing. You don’t let anything get you down! There is one small problem though… when Forbes profiles you they are gonna find that picture of you posing. And you know it’ll be the hot email everyone will be fowarding to each other in your company.

nice randman. wicked nice.
hey sox are in oakland this week.
you gonna catch a game ?

keep spankin’ bro !

Ok, first off! What the hell is summa cum laude? LOL. Very long post & will finish it some other time. Very interesting though!

You should never gotten married!
Anyways, keep enjoying the workouts. Stay postive & enjoy your life. Remember! With each tick of the clock, were all dying, so live life to the fullest.

I’m just packing and saw your post TheBige. Thanks for the kind words. All I have to do is wear dark rimmed square eye glasses and no one will recognize me…it worked for one of those super heroes; didn’t it?

;0

Absolutely awesome. I’m usually a fan of your posts, and now I feel like I got the 30 second version of your life. :slight_smile: Anyway, I’m really glad to know you’ve perservered through this all. “Keep your eyes on the prize”.

But, don’t let your ambition cloud your care for people. That’s never pretty.

Welcome back man.

You had me at “I graduated at 24 with a masters in engineering,” LOL. Im going to be 24 before I even get out with a BS in Mechanical.

My hats off to you Randman.

Nice job, ya crazy bastard. Seriously, bravo! Way to take charge of your life, pretty inspirational stuff.

Do you think that the depression/schizophrenia would have been any different if you werent smoking marijuana?

Please note, I am asking this as I am genuinely interested to hear the personal opinion of the poster.

If you want to use my post to start a marijuana war, please do so in another thread and dont fuck up this one.

I usually only post if I have a question and I usually don’t even get inspired by people getting over hardships like yours, but right time I geuss.

Ill be playing queen right now.

[quote]helga wrote:
Do you think that the depression/schizophrenia would have been any different if you werent smoking marijuana?

Please note, I am asking this as I am genuinely interested to hear the personal opinion of the poster.

If you want to use my post to start a marijuana war, please do so in another thread and dont fuck up this one.[/quote]

Let me be clear. I haven’t been smoking pot my whole life. But I’ve certainly been severely depressed for as long as I can remember. It’s the state of my depression that was partly responsible for trying every drug known to man. I’ve always done everything to the extreme. It’s not worth doing if you’re not going to give it your all :wink:

The interesting thing is…keep in mind I’m not advocating any one smoke pot…that I started smoking pot again about 2 months ago since the “shit hit the fan” and it has kept me centered, calm, and introspective. It saves me the trip to the doctor for a valium :wink:

The other interesting thing is, I created the whole presentation under this state of mind and it was the most creative experience in my life.

So it is serving a purpose for me right now…a positive one. Will I continue smoking indefinitely? Probably not. I hope that helps.

(chanting) Randman! Randman! Randman!