"You Can't Save Everyone..."

I KNOW I can't save everyone.

If I could, I wouldn't have had to hear about a fourth person that I'm connected to committing suicide today.

If I could, a friend of mine who is making a terrible mistake by revisiting the same living situation that ruined her life wouldn't be doing that right now.

If I could, I wouldn't have had to get a divorce and cut off someone I was best friends with for fourteen years and married to for ten.

I can't save everyone. Shit, I can't save anyone.

But you know what else I heard today, after hearing about a fourth person I am connected to committing suicide? That I've permanently changed a guy's perspective on life and fitness with my posts and testimonials on fitness and CrossFit and my weight loss. His brother has started it too and it's changed his life. That was 25 minutes ago. Just a few minutes after hearing that I can't save everyone.

You know what else I've heard this week? That my article about reaching out to people who are depressed and on the brink of doing something drastic encouraged a woman to reach out to her best friend and that friend broke down crying, admitting she needs help. And that two people I know have lost nearly 20 pounds in a month by eating right and exercising based on my posts. And that a guy I worked with nearly 15 years ago found my writing on Huffington Post because he's going through a divorce and needed some help and there I was, a guy he's not seen in a decade and  a half. And my Open Letter To Pessimists article was used by an 11th grade class in Ontario, Canada as a study in the power of open journalism. They tweeted me their questions and I was blown away.

You know what I've heard almost every day since I started writing again in earnest?

That my postings about my experience with my divorce and my downfall with my career and my depression have made literally hundreds of people know they're not alone. That if I can make it, they know they can too.

That my publishing a new book on my own is encouraging two authors to do it themselves.

That a ninth couple who met via my old website's forums are getting married, and one of those couples is having their third child.

That in the five years since I wrote the "How To Actually Win A Fist Fight" Aricle there have been literally thousands of kids and parents who have written me and said yet another bully got taught a lesson, and yet another abused kid grew a spine - because they finally knew how.

That kids in suburban high schools across the nation got comfort from my telling a kid at my gym that he's gonna be just fine and the kids that pick on him will regret it one day (or worse, won't ever know they should).

That at least fifteen women have unfortunately had to use my self defense guide for women and it saved them.

That hundreds of mothers have sent my diatribe about natural beauty to their daughters and it helped.

That I make a fucking difference. That's what I heard.

And you know what? I wouldn't be here on this Earth to make that difference if not for the helping hands and direct involvement of some absolutely amazing people who gave a shit. Despite knowing they couldn't save me or anyone else, they gave me the power and support to save myself.

I know I can't save everyone. Shit, I can't save anyone. But I can sure as hell try to show them that if I can save myself, they can too. And I couldn't have if I didn't have the support of my friends. So I can try to give others strength and courage and let them know they're not alone.

And they won't be. Not on my watch.