Today I will talk about a sensitive topic that some of you brought up either on the comments or by contacting me directly. The question that I get a lot is “what is really what you have, health-wise?”. In this post, I will address this, as this is the reason why I want to retire early.
OK, so before 2012 I was a super healthy dude. I use to feel great, energetic and fully functional. I was a dedicated (yet drug-free or “natural” as we call it) bodybuilder – to be point of considering competition! Use to run for miles day in day out and go to the gym every other day. I also had highly efficient brain activity, good performance at my work, and success with girls if that accounts for health 🙂 I am not a geek BTW. Many of you asked me whether I am a geek as I read a lot and I have a PhD and the answer is absolutely not. 🙂
Fast forward to 2012, I started a new job in Germany. I don’t really like Germany, I must confess (please consider be as valid as me saying “ohh I love Germany everything is so cool about it, etc”). People are weird over here. At least very different from the US, Canada, Italy and Portugal, the countries I know the best. I started to get depressed. One day, I wake up exhausted, and with intense muscle pain. I felt hit by a truck. Called the office sick and rested a lot for the day. A flu, I thought. The following day I was even worse. I payed my GP a visit. She agreed, maybe a virus. Gave me a ton of pills, “go home and rest for 2 weeks”, she said.
More symptoms and finally diagnosed with CFS, the reason why I want to retire early
The 2 weeks went by and I start to have more and more symptoms.
I was even more depressed. I could not think of getting better, I wanted to die. Eventually, the GP admitted she had no idea what was going on. The blood-work was absolutely normal (low white cell count, but not too low). She sent me to a variety of doctors, until, a year later, I am finally diagnosed “you’re chronically depressed and the depression is causing these symptoms”. Your Type A personality doesn’t help either (see more about me). I wasn’t content with the diagnosis, so I went on to visit more specialists. At the same time, I graduated in medicine from Google. In particular, I found that I had most symptoms of ME/CFS (Myalgic encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), while ruling out other possibilities. I decided to visit a specialist on CFS and she diagnosed with a mild version of CFS officially. Sadly, this is the most common CFS suffers are diagnosed, as this disease is not really known by the medical community and they suffer without answers for years.
So here’s some symptoms I have on a daily basis:
- Extreme fatigue.
- Chronic muscle tension (primarily in my neck).
- Brain fog.
- Feeling weak.
- Low mood.
Over the years, I have learned to manage the symptoms (some better than others).
Doing something about it – financial freedom and early retirement
In late 2014 / early 2015 I decided to do something more drastic with my life; Not knowing I could work for much longer, I started to think of ways to create a passive salary. This was the beginning of my journey towards early retirement, as my health issues are really the reason why I want to retire early. I started to educate myself on finances, reading many books from the lists on. I started to follow legendary blogs like Mr. Money Mustache and ERE. A blog I liked particularly was Jay’s www.fifighter.com;
I was (and still am) an ambitious dude, but I never dreamed of being rich. Early retirement, for me, came up out of necessity. I believe that after I knew I had CFS, the disease triggered a survival instinct in my body: essentially I realized that maybe I couldn’t work for much longer and I needed to create a salary to live off (aka to survive). Although harmful for my health, this stress response also made me fight for something and have something to look forward. I want to achieve my financial independence, financial freedom and early retirement more than anything.
The plans are still the same. I hope I am able to retire by 33-36. Next year, as I posted before, I will be working on my health. I need to keep my stress levels to a minimum. You’re lucky: I will add tons of unique and interesting content to this blog. 🙂
Follow me on my journey, I will pull this shit off.
As Jay says, Fight on!