“Jesse, what’s wrong?” asked my mom.
“I see myself… hanging from my ceiling fan, motionless. Mom, I see my dead body hanging in my room.”
I was 16 years old.
It all started with a very simple question, “are you happy?” when I was in 6th grade. The next year I started seeing a therapist who put me on medication to reduce the frequency of “going down the rabbit hole.”
The medication made it so that I felt emotionless and neutral about 99% of the time, and extremely sad the rest. I never used alcohol or non-prescription drugs because, frankly, I wasn’t cool enough to be invited to the parties.
Shortly after my darkest moment when I saw my dead body hanging in my room, my parents helped me enroll in the NEXT training.
NEXT is not a solution to every problem you will face. It is a toolkit to help you recognize what your brain is doing that you don’t want, stop it, and make an active decision about what you want to feel, think, and do instead.
I found this different from therapy and CBT because it was much more focused on long-term brain patterns compared to just trying to stop you from going off the deep end.
NEXT has been an invaluable tool for me. After I completed the training program, I went on to college and then to work in Washington, D.C, where I am currently a data analyst for a political organization.
I am still on medication, but feel much less reliant on it to ensure my safety. The difference in the way I behave and who I am has a person has changed tremendously since grade 12, allowing me to move much closer to who I want to be.
A great example of this is the relationship I have with my mother. Growing up, I developed a pattern of relating to her like there was something wrong with her. I would often make snarky comments that led to a strong tension between us. When I told her how angry she made me at times, she always said she would try to do better, but nothing really changed.
One of the things you’ll learn about using the NEXT System is how to resolve resentments and regrets. We learn to actively recognize the brain patterns that underlie the resentment, the damage the resentment has done to you, to the other person, and to your relationship, and how to rewire the brain patterns and resolve the resentment. I was skeptical about this, but I used NEXT tools the way they are designed, and it worked better than I could have hoped. The relationship I now have with my mother is strong and wonderful. This is just one example of the practical effects the skills and techniques learned in the NEXT program can have.
Jesse Freedman (Age 25)