Can You See It?

In this photo you see a 20-something Cam with a popped collar at his cousin’s wedding. He’s smiling.

It looks like he’s having a great time amongst friends and family.

But there’s something you don’t see.

A few minutes after this photo was taken, I heard a song that reminded me of an ex-girlfriend who had just broken up with me.

What you don’t see is that this smile quickly turned into one of the worst panic attacks I have ever experienced in my life.

And I have experienced A LOT of them!

What you don’t see is that this panic attack led me to be completely hysterical. This morning I asked my mom if she remembered this night, and she just looked at me and said, “Oh, I remember. It was one of the worst nights of my life.”

I don’t remember much from the night, but I do remember my parents bringing me into our family SUV, and offering to drive me back home — over 3 hours away — to help me feel better, while I sat there balling uncontrollably.

I share this because it’s easy to forget that we don’t see the whole picture. Here you have a snapshot of my night, and a really bad popped collar, but you don’t see the panic attack that came moments later.

Last week you see the 25 media interviews I had, with newspaper spreads, and appearances on BBC, CTV, CBC, Global News, Metro, SiriusXM, and many others.

But what you don’t see is that the week before I barely paid rent.

(Some of you may have seen that, because I was sharing about it publicly…)

In life, and especially on social media, you only see a snapshot of someone’s life. And usually, that’s a snapshot that’s being very carefully positioned to influence the perception you have.

So first, just remember that. Everyone has their shit. We all have ups, and downs, wins, and failures.

If there’s anything that unites us all, it’s the emotional experience we have on this planet. All of it.

And if there’s anything I’d like to encourage you to do as you go forward in your life, it’s to share more about the experience you’re really having. Be vulnerable. Open up. Let people in.

Because it’s through our collective efforts to share the full spectrum of emotional experiences we’re having that we’ll be able to connect more deeply with ourselves, and with each other.

And don’t pop your collar.

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Cam Adair is a speaker, writer and player of chess. A prominent thought leader on gaming addiction, he shares weekly videos on YouTube.

Game Quitters is the largest support community for video game addiction, serving 20,000 members/month in 77 countries.

Follow Cam: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | TEDx

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