"You don't have to think about doing the right thing. If you're for the right thing, then you do it without thinking."
~ Maya Angelou

March 1, 2012

Breaking Open...

by Daniel Jacob, MSW: Founder of Can You Hear Me?

Been a few since I last put down some words of hope, strength, and at the end of the day progress.  I find myself reflecting back to a period in my adult life that challenged me in a way that I had never experienced before.  Three years (to the date of this writing) have passed since I began a path that has me recovered in a manner that has changed the quality of my life in so many positive ways!  I have written and shared along the way in previous posts but today I feel its appropriate to share a part of me that has stayed mostly private, but not anymore as I have embraced the vulnerability that has moved me towards change, for the better!

The reflection takes me back to my job working away as a school social worker (you can refer to At The Crossroads posted last year to see where I was at during this period in my life) it was a typical work week, nothing too demanding other than the demands the job always provided.  I finished my week earlier than usual (on a Thursday) off to catch a plane (a red eye) to NYC for a family celebration, set to return to Los Angeles on Sunday, back to work on Monday.  New York represented some defining moments for me.  It was the place that I escaped to from an abusive period (physical and emotional) when I was a teen.  It represented a reconciliation with my father who over the years was distant and absent, and our relationship as a result wasn't much of one.  It represented getting to know a brother and sister who shared the same blood, but not much else due to distance, age differences, and my disconnect from that family system.  It also represented me traveling back in time (in my mind) reliving all that transpired up and to this point.  I wasn’t fearful or nervous about going, I was excited to go.  By this time in my life I had done some serious self work and had evolved into a healthy well adjusted man.  I was all about creating positive new memories with my family and my wife. However, when you time travel and reflect on some moments that challenged you to your knees, remembering what it took to overcome them, there is an energy that takes its own course of action, in this case it was intense and powerful!

What I didn’t see coming was 6 days of no sleep, a trip to the psych ER for a 5150 (code for a 72 hour psychiatric hold) assessment (and because of my training and insight I talked my way out of staying, not trying to be a hero, I just didn't want to stay), several days of the most extreme anxiety that I had ever experienced (the kind where you can not physically move) at my  house, a return back to the hospital for a 6 day stay followed by a discharge and then a return back 2 days later for a 24 hour stay in an emergency room bed!  This all began February of 2009 and the road back has been a path that has tested me beyond measure, but I made it through and as I have always done through out the course of my life, I fought and I moved forward!  Sometimes the unknown has its way of showing itself when it wants to, not when you do.  What happened to me happened because it needed to, and I was ready to work with it, cope, and begin to peel back the layers.  By addressing and understanding a past (that exposed me to transformative pain and suffering) in a manner that I never expected, it created a new part of me. 

The experience itself was intense and I will never forget what transpired, but by breaking open I was able to make some positive choices and decisions that have truly changed the quality of my life for the better.  One of the biggest was resigning from my job and committing to a new job, getting healthy and well.  You see, you can’t put a date or time on your wellness.  To be well you must commit to every day for the rest of your days.  The hardest work out there is changing for the better; it takes a tremendous amount effort, sacrifice, risk, discipline and much more.  However, when you commit to your well being you are able to see and feel many wonderful positive outcomes.  I am so strong, so empowered, and so aware of how to manage my well being these days, and it took this experience (and many moments prior) to show me the way.  What you have read is obviously the abbreviated version, and there is much more that can be shared.  Perhaps you can now see how my “Breaking Point” greatly influenced my decision to go out on my own (professionally) and share a part of me via my experiences, all of which are fundamental to what I bring into Can You Hear Me?

For all those that have and will fall down along the way, it’s going to be okay.  Yes, we helping professionals all have a story, something influenced our decision to help those in need.  When we suffer professionally it exacerbates the unresolved pain, trauma, and suffering that we carry within us.  We can not do justice out there if we are unable to help ourselves.  If you're willing to do the work while trusting your providers, you will see a change that will translate into opportunity that you deserve. We all fall, it's only a matter of how you get up, that’s when you learn, grow, and move forward.  So, stay strong, stand up and stay up, and as always may this find you well!

 About Author

Daniel Jacob, MSW
Founder of Can You Hear Me? External Field Instructor at University of Southern California School of Social Work MSW@USC.  Daniel has a Masters in Social Work (Families and Children Practice/School Social Work).  He is currently nearing the completion of the LCSW testing process as he continues to work towards progress!  More about the man behind the mission⇢

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