Today, you’ll get to read an unusual article, sort of an outing. Only very few people can claim that a website has changed their life. I’m one of them. And the site that I’m talking about is Dr. Web. It has changed my entire life and turned it upside down. What was left is my destiny.
The Prolog: Webdesign, WordPress Themes, and WP Security
In early 2011, I went freelance again, after a long time in a day job. My company at that point, “HechtMediaArts”, offered custom web design, mostly based on WordPress, premium WordPress themes and, as a unique feature, WordPress security, mainly because as a result of my own stupidity one of my WordPress websites got hacked in 2009.
I didn’t want that ever to happen again, so I started dealing with WordPress security excessively.
All three pillars of the business started growing step by step, above all others, the security area of our beloved CMS WordPress. I’m positive that I secured about one hundred WordPress websites, and protected them from hacking. At the same time, I was working on my ebook “WordPress Security“, which is currently available in its third edition, and is still selling well, while still being very up to date at that. You will need to understand German should you want to read it, however.
The company was constantly growing, as well as my income. In 2013, I was already able to subsist on, and look after my family with my small business as a full-time job. Everything could’ve been fine. But – basically -, nothing was fine. My health was fading, slowly, but constantly.
The End: Significant Health Issues. The Death of a Company.
The first signs already showed up in 2011. But I’m a master when it comes to ignoring things I don’t want to see. I ignored all the symptoms of my illness and went even deeper into my work, much deeper than what would’ve been good for me. Maybe everything would have been different had I taken it slower at the right time.
However, cutting a break is nothing for me. God has created me as a working animal that doesn’t know breaks, no weekends, and no holidays. I dropped deeper into the abyss, and worked increasingly harder as if it was the cure for all diseases.
Around mid-2013, I couldn’t keep ignoring the symptoms and told my doctor about my issues. He immediately redirected me to a specialist, who was able to make a diagnosis after only five minutes. I suffered from depression, which was steadily getting worse, even though I was taking medicine. It became so bad that I had to close my business in 2014.
Hospitalizations and a Light at the End of the Tunnel
In 2014, nothing worked anymore. I was finished and had to stay in specialized hospitals for about six to eight weeks per stay. It was the final visit that helped me find my way back into my life. The realization that my life had to change helped a lot with my recovery.
Additionally, I started doing sports in a nearby park. Walking in the morning in conjunction with a superb therapy helped clean out the clouds of depression very quickly.
I still remember my first day of walking. I was so weakened that I was only able to walk for one and a half kilometers. My energy increased slowly and after a while, I was able to walk for seven kilometers every morning. I quickly went back to feeling fit and vital, enjoyed life, and had the power to take it as it comes.
Why Am I Outing Myself?
If you ask yourself why I’m telling you about a part of my disease’s history, let me answer this: today, many people suffer from depression or burnout. But only a few of them have the courage to admit it in public. I have this courage because it was a part of me, and I continue to overcome it a little more with frankness.
I also don’t mind when people know that I was sick. Maybe my story encourages other people to stick through everything and work it out. There’s a life after the illness and depression can be cured.
The Email That Changed my Life
During my final hospital stay, I was thinking about my life a lot and asked myself what I should do to pay my bills. Web design was out of the question, as the constant stress with clients and my workaholism were two of the reasons why I became sick.
Then, I received an email that changed my life. The sender was Michael Dobler, the owner of the websites Dr. Web and Noupe, who asked me if I could start writing for Dr. Web more frequently again. Emails were sent back and forth, as I explained my health situation to him. Michael didn’t just show understanding; he absolutely wanted me to get back to writing. I had already written three articles for Dr. Web in 2012.
This was a real silver lining in my darkest hour. It didn’t take long until I regained the ability to care for my family by my own efforts.
Writing. My Destiny, My Passion
Writing for Dr. Web quickly turned into a business, a job that I could live from. That allowed, and still allows me to contribute to feeding my family. Of course, I had to learn to my cost and got criticized by our chief editor Dieter – for good reasons – over and over again.
But you only grow from constructive criticism. You get stronger from it. I have learned a lot from our experienced Dieter already, and I’m not done yet.
The most important thing that writing taught me is that you can make money without being exposed to extreme stress. Of course, I was under stress in the beginning. Dieter was rightly annoyed because I made certain mistakes again and again. I was annoyed because I made these mistakes repeatedly.
But the more you write, the less – stupid – mistakes you make. The quality of the delivered articles improved, and routine set in. Along with it came an increasingly deep feeling that I found my destiny. Today, I decide how much stress I want to be under.
Every new day gives me the feeling to have found my destiny. My true (professional) love. The thing I always wanted to do. Not being able to write again is something unthinkable for me. I write. Therefore I am.
A New Life Full of Vocational Joy and Health
Today, I live a life without limits, full of work-related joy. I enjoy being able to write for you. On top of that, I’ve written three ebooks this year, with a fourth one being almost finished, and a fifth one scheduled for this year. On the side, I have revived my own blog, and I started writing for myself again, utilizing everything that doesn’t seem to fit on here.
Everything is fine regarding health as well, as I can enjoy life without restrictions, and I learned that there’s a life aside from work.
Of course, I still like to work a lot and sometimes, undertake a bit too much. But when that’s the case, I feel it and apply the brake in time.
No matter what’s to come, Dr. Web is and will always be an important part of my life.
By the way, I follow these ten steps very carefully: