First of all – millionaire – Yuk. I don’t like the use of the word, I think its punted around as a wishy washy dream used on TV shows and in songs, to make people dream……however I guess by the definition of the word, this is what I now am, so I guess I need to deal with it (first world problems)
However it wasn’t always this way……..I don’t think I saw a sliver spoon until my late 20’s, let alone be born with one in my mouth, and we certainly weren’t financially “privileged” growing up. I have a decent memory of what being relatively poor felt like (I remember my feet touching the fridge door as my bed was in a space in the kitchen – (handy for an eater though) – when I moved into a 1 bedroom flat with my mum that her then boss rented to her above the office she worked in, when she divorced from my dad. Anyway I digress, but its relevant.
I am writing this post, as I have been mulling it over for a week. Whilst I am pretty obviously a content sharer in property and business, I am not an emotional guy, and this isn’t a subject that I like to talk about. But it is my story, and it was mental health awareness week the week just passed, which is always a time I reflect and consider sharing. So I am sorry that I am a week later to the party, I had shared an insta post (dannyinmanproperty) and felt that was enough. I had a few messages, and one in particular struck a chord. From a mother, who’s son age 22 (relevance) to follow was struggling hugely with depression, and that she was going to direct him towards my social media posts for inspiration. So, I though that he, and in fact anyone who reached out or anyone even slightly struggling, deserved more detail.
So this is it, the raw uncut version of how I went from the police rocking up at my sisters flat for my own safety (not sure she knows that) to being married, sat in a 5* hotel in Dubai with my wife, negotiating multi-million pound deals just a number of years later. I know I am not going to enjoy the writing process – but its necessary I feel. If its not for you then I get it – I am sorry.
This blog isn’t to talk about how I got there, the “trigger” as they call it is different for everyone, and if I am honest I don’t really know what mine was to this day.
I know I cruised through life as a youngster, being good at most of everything I tried (including modesty) but at the age of 22, having firstly bailed out of a career in rugby to go University, and then despite acing my degree and picking up an esteemed graduate scholarship with a major engineering company, I bailed out of University.
At the age of 22 I felt like I was NEVER going to find something I actually enjoyed, and that my life was over (ridiculous in hindsight, but not the point.)
So having bailed out of Uni, I found myself delivering chinese take aways to have some money and comparing myself to everyone else getting on (mistake number 1). Then shit got real. My head, for want of a better term, completely fell off.
Whatever triggered my illness, it created a foreign feeling for me, DOUBT. I doubted my ability for a set of exams, I now know I would have aced, and started to panic. I didn’t face it, I ran. Then I “took a year out” and never went back. Then I started to doubt any career I could have. I considered the forces, but because of the diagnosis (depression), I would have to wait – I think it was two years. That was too long – I needed a solution now. Police force, I got declined. I spent some of my take away delivery on an accounting course, and then couldn’t even look at the content. Basically I was trying to find a way out, over trying to make myself better. Then things just kept getting worse and worse…….
Fast forward about 6 months, largely of sleeping on my sisters sofa in her 1 bed flat getting absolutely abused by her cat, and I had reached my tipping point.
- SHIT MINDSET ALERT – I couldn’t tolerate doctors. I felt that I was quite academic and that just because someone had spent some time at Uni didnt mean they could tell me how I felt and what I needed to do. I was prescribed anti-depressants, but made the mistake of reading the pamphlet that came with it, that suggested “you may get worse before you get better.”, so I binned them. Please read this as the worst advice in the world, I rate our NHS and the work around mental illness is getting better every day, but this is to show you where I was at.
- I felt huge guilt feeling like I was around the people I loved. I separated with a then GF, which wasn’t great for the self doubt. I could see people genuinely scared of my emotions, treading on eggshells and felt like I was making them miserable as well. Personally I think (again in hindsight) I would have benefitted from tough love, but that’s very tough and risky to deliver to someone at that time.
- I could see genuinely no way out of the hole I had convinced I was in. I would be angry in the morning because I had woken up and I had to face another day of misery. My future was that day, and that day alone.
- I stopped exercising, because what’s the point?
A much skinnier unkept, depressed me.
I remember that night well. I had been considering what we will call “my exit”, and had two very woolly attempts (which for someone who felt like a failure, not being able to do that properly was a bitter pill, but one I am blessed with). I was messaging a very good friend from University, I can’t even remember what I was writing, but I know it was negative and it was strong. About 45 minutes later the door bell rings and its the police, they want to take me in under the mental health act as they had received multiple calls from concerned people.
I managed to convince them that I was OK ( I became quite good at what I called “lying with a smile” – I knew I was in trouble, but I could hide it to make others feel OK around me, or to avoid help (Stupid mistake again)
This event shook me, I remember crying and shaking as the police left the flat. It was the top of the mountain, and I now had to choose whether I would jump off or climb down, I still wasn’t sure..
**************************GETTING BETTER IS A SLOW PROCESS**********************
So, property saved my life, literally.
Not because its property, but because it gave me something to focus on day to day. I could see learning, I could take action, I could move forward. But it very nearly never happened.
Literally a week after the above event I was the plus 1 on a 2 for 1 ticket to a 3 day property event. A couple of angels sent me, along with their son, to a 3 day training that they had previously attended themselves. The son was going anyway, they saw I was struggling and tagged me on. I was to travel down on the Thursday and spend the weekend with the son going in and out of London to the 3 day event. Thursday afternoon I told a lie. I said I was “sick” and may not make it. Then I decided to go. Then I stopped at every services on the M6 southbound deciding whether or not to turn around. Somehow I got there and listened intently for 3 days, not forgetting what was going on, but getting distracted positively. The training was based around the book Rich Dad Poor Dad, that at the time I had never even heard of, but I liked the principle of being poor and nothing special (thats where I was at mentally) but listening to the right people (rich dad) you can do anything you want.
Who would have thought just a few years later I would be presenting the Rich Dad Poor Dad learnings all over the world from the front of the room……..
So I immersed myself in property. We won’t talk too much about strategy, but each little success made me feel a little better about myself. When I didn’t have to deliver take aways anymore, I had a win. When I could afford to rent my own place, win. When I bought my first investment property, employed my first part time staff member, sold my first deal – win, win, win. I felt I had a worth, I was proving my worth TO MYSELF.
So if you are struggling, or dealing with someone who is in your life, there are a few things to remember. This IS NOT medical advice, and I do recommend you seek it, it works for so many people:
- You are not alone. Sadly it is common, but take that as a positive too, because many people like me are getting or have got better. I believe depression never really leaves you, but allow it to fuel you rather than drain you. It is my fuel. I have my days, but I know I will never let myself go back to where I was.
- Time is a healer, and you have time. I wanted to get better in a day, it doesn’t work like that. Find something to focus your energies on, whether it’s a career or a hobby. Life is both long and short, if you don’t like something then change it, like me your life shouldn’t be mapped out for you at 22. Scrape your knees and get up.
- If people tell you “its going to be OK” appreciate its coming from a position of love, as much as you want to shove their words where the sun doesn’t shine. They just don’t know what to say. If you are watching someone suffer, don’t say this, it doesn’t feel like that to them. Reassure them that they are not weird, that they are loved and that you will get through it together. Get them to focus energies somewhere, and catch any negative self talk early.
- You deserve better. Getting better is also your responsibility. We all want it, but own it. Put in the effort. You don’t feel like it, but go to the doctors, go to the gym, smile when you can and cry when you need too. Visit friends, but not to escape. Take pleasure in the little things in life. Don’t rush your recovery.
- Believe it is possible for you – I was as severely depressed as it can get. I was as low as it gets and I got back up. You are worth it, your life is worth it and you deserve it.
You all know where I am now, I am a successful property developer and investor, a former public speaker, a coach and a mentor, a husband, son, brother and Uncle. I am a normal Northern bloke who has been severely depressed and got better. Not fully, I still have panic attacks and moments of doubt, but they pass quickly and are less frequent, because I know what I am capable of – and I know that you are too.
So that is my story, raw and uncut, and extremely uncomfortable. If I can talk then so can you. Don’t suffer alone. If this can help anyone then please feel free to share it. It is the first time and last time I will ever post about this in this detail – it felt right to do now after some discussions last week, and this is the reference point moving forward. I am not ashamed of my depression, and I am proud of my recovery, but I am not a preacher and I know everyone has their own to write.
Now back to more positive property investment posting activities…..
Love you all!!! x