At the moment, there is a big rise in “diseases of despair.” These are things like substance abuse, alcohol dependency, suicidal thoughts and behaviors. As a matter of fact, according to the medical journal BMJ, diseases of despair have soared in the United States over the past decade, rising 68% between 2009 and 2018. The study also shows suicidal thoughts and behaviors were up 70%. And all of that was of course before COVID.
However, despair doesn’t have to mean defeat. Our guest today, Eric Jorgensen is an extraordinary man. His son, William was born with significant disabilities. What you’re about to hear is the extraordinary tale of how Eric’s life turned to tragedy, the horrible suffering that he endured and the painful events of Eric and William’s life. You’ll also hear how this real American hero transformed, unbearable despair into triumph.
Road to Healing
Life often throws us whirlwinds of challenges, tragedy, and sometimes even despair. Eric shares his tale of how he has withstood the hardships of having cancer and taking care of his son with significant disabilities. He shares his extraordinary story of recovery, all the while dealing with the global pandemic, Covid-19.
“When I found out it was grade IIA cancer. I guess in the scheme of things, I was somewhere in the middle. I didn’t need chemo. I didn’t need radiation. In terms of recovery, I got really lucky. It was just a matter of taking care of my wound and letting it heal…In regard to COVID, alI I could think about is holy crap. It was scary. If I get sick, on top of cancer, and I can’t help my son out on his day to day stuff, what’s going to happen. Who’s going to do that for me?” – Eric Jorgensen
Channel Your Anger
The ability to appropriately express and channel one’s anger is one of the most important things about being human. Eric discusses how his anger, while not always constructive, was the driving force for him to start his own company. Rising through all this frustration and anger, it was able to lead him into where he is now.
“I was getting frustrated because what I was being asked to do, wasn’t what I wanted to do. It wasn’t helping the people I wanted to help. It wasn’t addressing the need I thought it needed to be filled… Now that I started my company ,I get to help families who are where I was eight years ago. Not knowing what to do and I’m catching them before they get there.” – Eric Jorgensen
Know You’re Not Alone
Eric shares his big learnings as he looks back over the last eight years of his life and how he has navigated through his challenges. One of the things he wants people to remember is that don’t try and do everything alone. Everyone is strong but oftentimes, one needs someone they can lean on and trust.
“I kept it balled in and then it would shockingly blow up at the worst possible time. I would take it out on people that I had absolutely no reason for me to take it out on. So try to build a team or a tribe or whatever you call it. Try to build a group of people. I keep my circle pretty small. Get a couple of really tight people that you can really really trust.” – Eric Jorgensen
To know more how to redesign your life with Eric Jorgensen, download and listen to this episode.
Eric has been helping families with intellectual and developmental disabilities since his retirement from the Navy in 2012.
He was widowed the same year he retired.
At the time his 12 y/o autistic son, William, was completely dependent on his wife for everything.
It was his frustration with the difficulty of figuring out what to do and navigating services for his son which led him to found Special Needs Navigator.
Eric created the category of Special Needs Planning to help families, individuals and caregivers connect the dots when working with attorneys, financial advisors, and other professionals.
His specialty is helping them identify what they don’t know and provide clarity. He works with his clients around the country to develop individualized solutions best suited to their circumstances.
In addition to working with clients one on one; Special Needs Navigator has a blog, YouTube channel and podcast. Eric uses the blog to do a deep dive every week into subjects like ABLE accounts, Special Needs Trusts and other topics families frequently have questions about.
The podcast and YouTube channel focus on benefits, resources and services families may not know, or want to learn more, about.
Website: Special Needs Navigator
Podcast: ABC’s of Disability Planning