photo by Simon Claessen (

Until 2014 I considered myself the incredible hulk. I would work as if I was driving with my foot pushed all the way on the accelerator. There was no limit. I worked hard and played hard, but then family happened and my “me time” got divided and divided. So I worked harder and harder to achieve financial freedom.

Error number 1. I put money before my passion.

I did and I admit to it, not many people are willing to admit to this first issue. As money became the driver my focus changed from my passion to money. Money became the objective and not the result of the work I did. Of course, the project mattered and of course, I loved it, and it was my baby, but I am honest enough to admit that my bigger motif was earning lots of money.

As I changed my passion stress started to kick in. I had to finish off tasks, and jobs, search, and speak to investors. Soon I was running on autopilot, ticking off tasks and doing them because they had to be done. Before I knew it I had fallen out of love with what was my passion.

I would push myself after working hours to finish off what I had not done during the day. I would sacrifice my very little me-time and family-time, in order to get these jobs done. This is what led to my error number 2.

Error number 2. Ignoring the signals from melatonin (The sleeping hormone).

For me, this was the start of my insomnia. I was always a light sleeper but never suffered from insomnia. However, once I started ignoring this hormone and message from my body, it was the beginning of a disastrous cycle.

Our body (our amazing biological vehicle) is controlled by these hormones. They are the signals that help us drive. If you keep driving past a red light every time you see it, the inevitable result is a CRASH. It is that simple. You will escape for some time, but you will pay the price.

The first fines and problem for me were that once I had started ignoring the melatonin, my body had learned not to respond to low levels of melatonin. I would need much higher amounts. I was now able to go passed my normal bedtime and usual tiredness. I was the incredible hulk working in the middle of the night and finishing off more tasks and work than anyone else. An Achiever, a go-getter. YES. I prided myself on that.

Only when I had finished those tasks would I then retire like a zombie into my bed and of course at this point I was pumped up with adrenaline and energy. It would take me some time to calm down and eventually fall asleep.

However, this would not last long. At some point around 2 or 3 AM, I would wake up. Regardless of the reason, whether noise, the need to go to the bathroom, or whatever. We all might wake up during the night, now you can go back to bed and fall asleep if you are still tired, your body produces some more melatonin and off you go to Lala Land. BUT NOT FOR ME. I had taught my body to ignore those tiny amounts of melatonin and my faithful body had acknowledged my desire.

THE RESULT: I would be wide awake, watching the ceiling. I would fight with the bed until 5 or 6 AM, only to fall asleep for 1 hour or so, by which time I had to wake up and get ready for work.

THE RESULT: It took me more effort to start my day, push through the day, and feel happy, and this finally led to Error Number 3.

Error Number 3. Ignoring the signs of Anxiety and Depression

One day, just like all the other days, I went to work before everyone else. I was a leader, I led by example and I would arrive early before my employees. Yet this particular I had forgotten my keys. Yet that was not going to stop me from working. I took out my laptop and started to work, but before I knew it, I fell asleep, my body had had enough and had decided to shut down. Nothing wrong with a short nap.

I slept in my car in front of the office for two hours. I woke up around 10:30 wondering what had happened. I walk in and have a go at my PA for not waking me up. I walked into my room and after a few minutes decided that I cannot really work. I lay on the floor and stayed there until 13:00. At this point my PA calls my family for a decision. They want to call a doctor, I don’t but my body is not responding. I can’t get up. I can’t move.

Against my will, the paramedics are called and my wife signs the paper for them to take my body to the hospital.

After a long checkup, the doctor comes in to see me. Physically you are fine. There is nothing wrong with your blood, heart, or anything. You are suffering from fatigue, stress, and anxiety. You should see a psychiatrist.

“PSYCHIATRIST?” I exclaimed in my head. “GET REAL. That’s the biggest insult I have ever heard. You can’t fix me and anyway there is nothing wrong with me. I was just tired and I was brought here against my will”. Those were my thoughts. Since there was nothing wrong with me physically, I asked to be discharged.

I walked out of the hospital only to start throwing up and collapsing again. YET I refused his advice. I was not depressed. I was not willing to accept such a low-life diagnosis. Depression and Anxiety was not my problem. I was an Achiever. I was the Incredible Hulk.

So I ignored the third and last signal from the body.

I was officially classed as a zombie, insomniac, and depressed (medically) but I was not willing to accept it.

— — To be continued. In the next blog session, I will talk about the changes I made in my life and the decisions I took that changed my path.