During my journey, I discovered a life-changing insight: I spent a lot of time trying to figure out why I felt the way I did.
Why was I so hopelessly depressed?
Why was I so anxious about my future?
What my struggle taught me was that I had to strengthen my spirit to lead my flesh back to a godly and healthy life. My rationale was simple: I believe that God created me. I believe that He sent the Holy Spirit to help me as He promised in John 14:16; therefore, I was created for a reason.
This alone convinced me that I was not going to end my life before I had served Him. He had plans for me, and if I followed those plans, I would prosper and live a healthy, happy future.
I also knew that it was up to me to find solutions to follow His plans.
My discovery: I was fighting a battle I could never win...I was fighting against myself.
Rather than align myself with what God intended I do, I was attempting to meet the expectations of society’s expectations of me. When I accepted my true nature and aligned my values with how I could best serve God, I no longer worried about making it to midnight. I had decided to live again.
Suicide is a global public health crisis. Nearly 1 million people die from suicide around the world each year. More deaths are attributed to suicide than natural disasters, war, and homicide combined.
Then there’s the effect of mental illness in the workplace. Depression is the #1 cause of work-related absence and costs U.S. employers an estimated $41 billion annually in lost productivity from just those days missed. This doesn’t even account for the cost of replacing an employee.
Here is what I discovered:
Lao Tzu said that depression is pain from the past, and anxiety is pain from the future. To live a happy life, we must learn to live in the present.
For this to happen, an understanding of the inner workings of our brains is required. The human brain is comprised of two components: a thinking brain and a feeling brain. Depression, anxiety, PTSD, and a host of other mental disorders can be traced back to a conflict between the thinking brain and the feeling brain.
When that conflict exists, that’s the life we live–-conflicted, unhappy, and discontented.
In Make it to Midnight, Learning to Live When You Want to Die, I provide an understanding of this conflict and the tools necessary to achieve a better quality of life––and ultimately, inner peace.
Jim Denning is best known as an urban survival specialist, stemming from his experience in navigating the demands of corporate life and coming to realize the expectations that he ascend the ladder of success to become a leader wasn’t aligned with who he really is.
That realization, however, almost came too late. In 2009, Jim was diagnosed with bipolar disorder II, major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, malaise, ADHD, and suicidal ideation. He was denied life insurance and was told to go on disability because his doctors labeled his symptoms as "treatment resistant."
Unwilling to accept this prognosis, Jim developed a set of tools and protocols to combat his situation. The first step was to resolve the conflict within himself. By understanding the source of his inner conflict he is able to live in harmony with himself.
It was all about changing the way he viewed his brain and himself––in essence, accepting his true nature and aligning his values and desires with what served him best in the workforce.
Author of Make It to Midnight: Learning to Live When You Want to Die, Jim Denning is a licensed professional counselor and pastor living in San Antonio. He holds Master of Arts degrees in counseling and ministry. He was formerly a senior information technology professional, member of Mensa, and a technical trainer at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
However, his greatest education in human behavior came from his years spent as a bartender and prison minister. Jim did not know it at the time, but all his education and experience that he sought to use to help others actually ended up saving his life.
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