When I got out of the psych ward in 2008 I was sent to a partial rehabilitation program. For the past 2 1/2 weeks I had believed that I was the second coming of Jesus Christ. I had lost my mind and now I was in this program to learn how to keep a sound mind.
For the next 3 1/2 weeks I would spend my time at Akron General from 9 AM to 3:30 PM, Monday through Friday. It was here that I would take part in group therapy, led by psychologists, and art therapy. I would also meet with my psychiatrist once a day so that he could check in and see what kind of progress I was making.
Everyone there was dealing with a unique problem of their own. Some people had no problem opening up about their situation but others had been there for months and had not said a word. I had no problem sharing what I had been through. Taking part in group therapy really helped me to realize that I was not alone and that everyone has their struggles in life. It taught me that the best way to deal with your problems was to talk through them and be open and honest about everything.
I learned some of the most valuable lessons of my life while I was there. Most importantly it taught me about the power of your mind and how to keep a sound mind. It also really made me want to help others.
There was a guy that had been there for three months and every time they would try to get him to talk he would just break down crying and leave the room. My goal was to get him to open up about the situation. I would talk to him between sessions and explained that if he never opened up he would never get anything out of the program.
Finally, one day he was ready for it. He put everything out there and we were all there to support him. From that day forward he was a changed man and he would actively participate in group therapy. It was a turning point for him and I could not be happier.
My mind was still not at 100%. Every now and then I would think about the delusions of grandeur and wonder if there still was a chance that everything I thought was true.
The psychologist that was in charge of my case invited me to her church one night where they would be walking the ‘Labyrinth’. I got to the church and there is a giant canvus laid out on the ground. It looked like a maze but all you had to do was follow the path to the middle and follow the path out. It was impossible to get lost.
As you walk through that path you’re supposed to see your life from beginning to end as you walked towards the middle. Then once you got there you would reflect on everything and walk back out. As you walked back out you would reflect on your life from the end to the beginning.
I was not ready at all for something like this. There were a bunch of beautiful cloths laid around the outside of the ‘Labyrinth’. I started to go around the outside and pick them up and organize them as if there was a certain order that I knew. My psychologist watched me and knew that something was wrong inside my head.
There was a band there and they were playing the most beautiful music that I had ever heard. Afterwards my psychologist walked me back to the band to meet them. They showed me that the instruments that they were playing were made out of things like PVC pipe and recycled pieces of trash. I could not believe that they could make such beautiful music with these instruments.
The one man looked like Santa Claus and one man was African, one Asian, and the others basically represented all cultures of the world. I was walking out of the church with my psychologist and she told me that they were, “so happy that they finally got to meet Adam.” I once again believed that I was the second coming.
The next day I went to therapy and met with my psychiatrist. He told me that the psychologist told him about the night before and that they talked that night and considered sending me back to the psych ward. I begged him to let me stay in this program. He told me that the psychologist should never have brought me there because it was way too soon so he gave me a second chance.
Before I left his office I noticed that he had a picture of the ‘Labyrinth’ on his wall. This confused me for a minute and made me think that he was in on it but eventually the signs went away.
One of the most important lessons that I learned was the power of positive thinking. There is a book called ‘The Secret’ and we watched a video about the book that explained the history behind this lesson. Throughout history some of the most influential people would say that the secret behind their success was to think positively. The more that you would focus on your goal and believe that you could achieve it the closer you would become to achieving it.
I graduated from that program and then went on to drug rehab for three weeks. I took very little out of the drug rehab program. The counselor could not really explain to me the dangers of marijuana and mainly focused on alcohol. She was not able to scare me away from it and when I returned to Ohio State the spring I got back into smoking again. After all that I had been through I had not learned the importance of keeping a sound mind.
I did however take that lesson of the power of positive thinking and applied it to my life. I set out on the goal to turn our waterski team into a national contender. I had to believe that we could achieve this and I had to make everybody else believe it as well. I did a lot of recruiting that summer and worked hard to train our women’s team.
For the 2010 season I went through and put down all of our averages on paper and showed everybody that on paper that we were capable of being a national contender. I was driven so hard to prove that we could do this. I worked to make everyone believe in their abilities.
That year we qualified for nationals for the first time in over 30 years. After years of being seen as a team that was more interested in partying and football we came together and accomplished what years ago we would’ve thought to be impossible. It was my proudest achievement in college. For me it was five years in the making and it was well worth all of the hard work.
The reason we achieved this is because I believed that it was possible and I made others believe that it was possible. We were all in great physical shape but what mattered most was that we were mentally prepared for our competition. The mind is much more powerful than the body. If we did not believe in ourselves then it never would’ve happened.
After my accident I did not have a sound mind and physically I barely had anything left. It was not until I stopped focusing on all of the physical things in life that my mind grew stronger. I am now in a dream state and I believe that all of my dreams are possible. Previous to this dream state everything seemed out of reach and all of my hopes and dreams seemed to be over. But now as I continue to think positively I am becoming closer and closer to achieving my dreams.
Never underestimate the power of positive thinking. If you think that something is impossible to achieve then you most likely will never get there. I constantly believe every day that my book will be a success. If I did not have that belief then no one would want to even pick it up and read it.
Focus relentlessly on something until you achieve it. You must believe that that dream is possible for it to become a reality. Never underestimate the power of your mind and never underestimate yourself. Think positive… now and forever.