Hello, my name is Jon but my friends call me Odin. Why Odin? Because I have a legally blind right eye and a Chihuahua named Thor!
I am a friend, family man, entrepreneur, vlogger and gamer. I’m open about having bipolar disorder, dystonia and Parkinson’s Disease. I got diagnosed with bipolar disorder at sixteen years old back in 1987. I developed Parkinson’s Disease after taking a mental health medication for (7) years. I’m off that medication today but am stuck in Parkinson’s limbo.
I know what it is like to feel that you missed the mark early on in life. Trust me. After being sentenced to 10 years with 1 to serve as a 4-time convicted felon in 1990 and living with a lifetime of mental illness, I finally figured out a way to redesign myself into someone I could be proud to look at in the mirror. Someone who could overcome anything. By the way, the state gave me a full pardon in 2007, freeing me of my past!
My mission is to break the stigma surrounding mental health while being committed to helping others normalize their own experiences so they can move forward to living the life they deserve. It is important to learn how to conquer self-defeating thoughts and capture opportunity to become the master game designer of your own life. I am proof it can be done and that life can be yours to design as you choose. There is hope. Whether this sounds like you or someone you know; I hope to inspire you to take action for yourself or become a recruiter for a friend in need.
It does not seem that long ago that I was playing Ms. Pac-Man with my mom every weekend at a local pizza place in Akron, Ohio. I was a little kid then and we both enjoyed the competitive spirit and family bonding that gaming provided. I was skinny and geeky and she let me know that there was nothing wrong with it. She instilled a competitive nature in me at the beginning through gaming. Weekend after weekend I would come back to that pizza place to find my high score undefeated. I knew I found something that was uplifting and was my own… video games.
“I learned how to channel the spirit of gaming into all aspects of life!”
As I grew older, I learned how to channel the energy gaming gave me into other things like competitive skateboarding and bodybuilding. In business, I became the kind of person that no matter what I did, I went all the way. Even with (4) felonies and no college degree, I was able to use this energy to find myself heading a multi-million dollar construction company with a six-figure income. I proved to myself that my criminal past was exactly that… my past. I convinced employers to look at my spirit and not to judge me by my distant mistakes or lack of credentials. It worked. I became unstoppable like a JUGGERNAUT.
“Then the wheels came off… “
It has not always been easy. In 2010, I decided to quit taking my mental health medications and go natural using diet and vitamins. Unfortunately, this caused a train wreck and I almost died from a psychotic break. In that moment, gaming saved my life by ironically pulling me back into reality. The social aspects of gaming played a pivotal role allowing me to reconnect the wires in my brain at a pace I was comfortable with as I rejoined society. During my recovery, I found that geek culture had more to offer than I ever imagined. Over the years, it would prove to help me again and again. I continued to find ways to overcome an almost comical slew of problems in my life like thyroid storm, heart attack, bipolar disorder, drug addiction, incarceration, suicidal thoughts, major eye surgeries, partial blindness, psychosis, spine surgery, akathisia, and most recently, dystonia and Parkinson’s. As well-managed as my physical and mental health are today, I still have serious conditions that require monitoring. It can be extremely challenging to always have the need to ‘dig deep’ in order to survive the constant battle.
“Life Turned Around!”
I knew I needed a consistent method for tackling any situation life threw at me. That’s when I found that I had discovered a way to beat it all. Roleplaying. I dug deeper into gaming than ever before looking for that uplifting and competitive spirit that started it all as a young child. In my head, I began referring to myself as the JUGGERNAUT from Marvel Comics® and then started to say it out loud. I played all types of games old and new and became sort of a “born-again gamer”. It helped redesign me into someone who is focused and driven to conquer some of the toughest situations I had ever been through in life.
“Regen and go again! Regen and go again!!”
“THAT is the gamer spirit. To never quit, but instead to regenerate and go again!”
Join me on Twitter! I’m always looking for a new friend. I am so grateful you have joined me today and wish you all the best!