Turning to the Pros

I’ve always resisted asking for help. I tend to try and do things my own way for far too long before seeking support. I don’t learn from others mistakes and I experiment irresponsibly, it is a wonder that I’m alive. I’m trying to change that this year, though. I’m trying to reach out and get support in order to reach my potential. There are a few key areas of my life where I am now seeking help.

First, my physical fitness. I can work out and get in generally good shape, but it is unlikely that I’ll reach my potential in a timely manner without help. So, I’ve joined a gym, hired a personal trainer, and started attending group classes. I will be able to receive guidance from people who specialize in building my body and increasing my health, and they will provide me with motivation as well. I’ve often heard something like “you know your body best”, and that is true to an extent, but I don’t know human physiology or what bodies are generally capable of. My mind is my own worst limit and having someone there who can structure a plan around my desires and has a larger pool of experience to pull from is beneficial.

Second, my mental health. For far, far, far too fucking long I’ve put off my mental health. I need a therapist (and so do you). I’ve neglected it by saying that my PTSD isn’t that bad or that others are worse off or that I can’t afford it (more on that below), but I was just scared. I didn’t want to know if I was broken completely. I didn’t want to tell my feelings to someone. I wanted to stay bottled up and angry or frustrated behind a stoic mask. I thought I could handle it, but I can’t (and I don’t need to).

Third, my career. I’ve read self-help books and I’ve implemented new routines and habits, but that can only get me so far. I want to be a writer, a  creator, and a healer but I lack the drive to do it on my own right now. I need an objective third party to help move me in that direction. I’m sure some people have the internal strength to reach their potential without help, but I am not that person and I think it is wise for me to admit that. If I try to become a writer alone then I am going to have decades of blank pages ahead of me. So, I’ve set up my first phone call with a potential coach tomorrow.

Lastly, I’m considering going back to school for something more healing. Massage therapy (with a focus on sports massage) is incredibly appealing to me, but I have a few reservations about it. I am also interested in becoming a therapist but the programs are so expensive and my student loans are still high. It is easy to say “the internet exists, why do we need schools?”, but I guess I don’t work that way. I’ve tried to self-educate myself to learn foreign languages and other skills, but it just hasn’t worked. Maybe I could have been an “unschool” kid but the time and energy it would take to become an “unschool” adult seems much higher than the time and energy it would take to just go back to school.

Yes, these mostly cost money but in each case, I’ve made a cost-benefit analysis. In some cases that analysis was fairly straightforward. If I pay a life coach X amount of dollars but I think it is reasonable that I’ll earn X+100 each month working with them, then it is a good deal.

With my physical health, it is a little bit more difficult to calculate but can still be done. Using random numbers, if I pay my trainer $100 a week and he gets me to my training goals in 3 months instead of 6 then I’m living the life I want for longer. I also feel like there is a mental health boost to physical fitness (the brain is part of the body, after all) and, though difficult to measure, there is a possibility that physical health actually will pay off financially through more creativity, greater confidence, and reduced health problems in the future. How much money will I save if I can prevent myself from getting heart disease or diabetes or face cognitive decline a decade or two earlier (or ever)? I don’t know, but an “expensive” trainer may end up being cheap in the long run.

The most difficult cost-benefit analysis is seeing a therapist. I think there are some potential work-related benefits, but again, they are hard to measure. If my therapist is able to help me work on my (increasingly bad) inability to focus, concentrate, or stick with a task, then I’ll be able to log more work hours and earn more money. I’ll also be able to build a greater skill set in school if my mind is in a good place. Dealing with PTSD won’t really provide a financial payoff that I can think of, but life isn’t about a financial payoff for everything. If dealing with my mental health issues allows me to have a life filled with more love, patience, and peace, then it is worth it. It is a service I’m paying for, not an investment. And isn’t that the point of earning money, to pay for experiences? To help other people? To make the most out of this life? Time is our most scarce resource (until technology advances more) and it is worth spending on getting guidance.

Wanna stay in touch? Got a question for me? Want to tell me why I’m wrong and are curious how I got everything so backward? Have an idea for a blog post? Drunk and wanna send me a snapchat? Wanna become penpals and send each other letters in the mail?

Feel free to reach out at any of the ways below while I take a Facebook break!

Email address: pjneiger@gmail.com
Instagram: @peterneiger
Questions:  pneiger.sarahah.com or www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYRDXHH
Snapchat: @pneiger
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/user/show/5292148
Also, I wrote a book about a cross-country bicycle ride I did!
“Wandering Oak: A Rite of Passage”


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