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From national champion water skier to bipolar disorder, drug use and a life-altering accident - a story about failure and redemption.
From national champion water skier to bipolar disorder, drug use and a life-altering accident - a story about failure and redemption.
117 backers pledged $8,863 to help bring this project to life.

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$8,863

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Adam Helbling has a story to tell.  

He recently finished his memoir and this Kickstarter campaign is all about getting his story to the world.  We're raising funds to help him edit, design, market and publish his book.

Battling bipolar disorder and drug abuse, Adam Helbling was going down the wrong path in life.  Entering a psychotic state where he actually thought he was the second coming of Jesus, January 22nd, 2011 proved to be a fateful day in his life.  Adam was in a single car accident where he flipped his vehicle five times front over front.  

He died on the scene.  

Thankfully, he was resuscitated by the EMS workers. And, the first day of the rest of his life began.

The accident left him paralyzed from the chest down, with one arm still functional.  He paid the price for his mistakes, but had a choice to make after he was released from the hospital.  Wallow away in self-pity or make something of his life?  He chose to fail forward.  He chose to learn from his mistakes. 

Because of his disability, the majority of the book was written via Dragon voice recognition software.  This mind-blowing memoir is about his battle with bipolar, drugs and paralysis.  Now, with a total shift in mindset, Adam is focused on making a positive impact on the world.  He’s dedicated his life to helping other people gain the right perspective in their lives.  Over the last two years, Adam’s given over 40 inspirational talks and recently spoke on the TEDx stage at Ohio State. 

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  We greatly appreciate your backing and/or sharing this amazing project.

With extreme humility,

Team Adam

On to the backer rewards....

The great thing about Kickstarter is that backing this project gets you something in return.  Check out the graphic below and the descriptions to the right.  We have everything from a digital copy of his book ($13)  to having him give an inspirational talk at your next event.  And, many other options in between.  If you scroll to the end you'll see images of the quote cards listed in the $74 option below.

Some words from Adam...

On top of the world - that's where it all started. I was on a full ride scholarship to the Ohio State University. Not having to pay my way through school gave me the opportunity to get incredibly involved on campus. I volunteered hundreds of hours of my time through a scholars program. Waterskiing was always my greatest passion. I was part of a national champion show skiing team and my involvement at Ohio State led me to be accepted into the Sphinx Senior Class Honorary in the Spring of 2008. This is the highest honor that can be accorded a student at The Ohio State University, with only 24 seniors being inducted each year. That summer I won the State Championship for slalom skiing for Ohio which was always a dream of mine.  

My life was unfolding just the way I planned.

Little did I know, my world was about to come crashing down. I made a series of bad decisions. Smoking marijuana on a daily basis, a drug binge, excessive spending, and other things led me to end up in the psych ward in the fall of 2008. I was experiencing my first psychotic break and I truly believed that I was the second coming of Jesus Christ for two and half weeks. I suffered from the Truman effect where I thought that there were cameras set up all over the psych ward and the entire world was watching the second coming of Jesus Christ.  I know...hard to believe.

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was told that I was experiencing my first manic episode. I put my family through so much and they had no idea if I would ever get my mind back again. Eventually, the signs went away and slowly I slipped back into reality. I was ready to get my life back on track.

I returned back to Ohio State where I would religiously take my medications. I came back to finish my Civil Engineering degree and continued my work to build the Ohio State Waterski Team into the powerhouse I had always dreamed of it being. However, during that time, I fell back into my old ways and once again turned to drugs on a daily basis.

In the fall of 2010 I helped lead the team to the 2010 Division II National Title. I was on top of the world once again.  Soon enough, my world was about to come crashing down in an even bigger way than before.

In January 2011 I went off my medication for five days. On the fifth day, the signs started to come back and I once again believed that I was Jesus Christ. 

I took off on a drive that would forever change my life on January 22, 2011. 

I left Columbus and made it all the way to Rushville, Indiana, where at one point everything went black. I flipped my car five times front over front and landed upside down in a field in the  snow. I actually died at the scene of the crash but they were able to resuscitate me.  I was lucky to be alive.

I woke up the next day in the ICU at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis surrounded by my family. I couldn't move or feel my legs and I found out that I was paralyzed. I suffered a spinal cord injury at the C6 and C7 vertebrae. 

Still stuck in the same mindset, I was convinced that I would walk again.  This thinking was fueled by the manic episode that continued to wreak havoc.  This went on for the next month or so until finally it subsided.

I spent 3 1/2 months in the hospital and only gained back use of my right hand. It was time to go home and that was when I fell into a deep depression. I was realizing that I may have to say goodbye to my greatest physical passions. 

I contemplated suicide and thought that all of my hopes and dreams were crushed.

Then, one day I came across Dragon - the voice recognition software.  It was a Godsend.  I started to share my story with the world via Facebook.  People were telling me that I completely changed their perspective on life.  

This is where it all changed for the better. 

People were responding and telling me that they would stop taking the little things in life for granted.  I finally realized my purpose in life.  That purpose was to help others gain perspective and to focus on the positive things in their life.

With my new found inspiration in place, I returned to Ohio State in January 2012 and finished my Civil Engineering degree. I took part in a therapy called locomotor training for the next year and three months for a combined 600 hours of therapy. Although I was still hopeful, I finally accepted that I would probably never walk again.  I made a conscious decision that I'd be happy despite my circumstances. I decided to take control and this is when I truly found happiness. 

I started to give inspirational talks in the Spring of 2012.  One after another, I was realizing my true calling.  Since then, I've spoken over 40 times, including a recent talk with a fourth grade class - one of my proudest yet.  I even got to speak on the TEDx stage, which was the thrill of a lifetime.  There's no doubt that speaking gives me the feeling that waterskiing used to give me.  I know I'm just getting started and can't wait to impact as many lives as I can.

In the book, I share all of the details of this roller coaster ride that has been my life. I explain what it's like to truly hit rock bottom. I explain what it takes to rise back up from the dark places that I've been in my life. I explain what it's like to lose both your mind and your body in one lifetime.

The lessons I've learned...

I have hit rock bottom twice.  Although that is not a place you want to go, those were crucial moments in my life. I've had to fight to regain control of my mind. I've learned that without your mind, you have nothing.  I know what it's like to lose your body and I've learned that the mind is much more powerful than the body. No matter what your physical limitations, you are capable of doing great things with your mind.

I've been in a state of mind where I thought that I was nothing without my body. And now, I've learned that I can use my mind to empower others.  And, to help them realize what is truly important in this life.

You should always lean on your friends and family in time of need. I have the most incredible loving family and I've learned that I truly have great friends. You need to surround yourself with great people because the type of people that you surround yourself with will be the type of person that you will become.

Sometimes it takes a tragedy for you to realize what is truly important in life. I look at myself in the mirror now and I am proud of the person that I've become. I'm truly grateful for what happened to me. For the entire first year I was angry at God for what happened to me. Now, I realize that when I woke up in the ICU, I was waking up to a new dream. I had a new life filled with more opportunity than I could ever imagine.

I was blessed with 24 years of life as an able-bodied individual. I've experienced a lot of great physical things in my life and now my accident has truly opened up my mind. I realized that passions can be replaced. The physical passions that I had before my accident have been replaced with new passions that bring more joy to my life than ever before.

I truly look forward to what God has in store for me in the future and each day I grow happier and stronger.

Who is this book for?

This book truly is for everyone. I talk about what I did right and what I did wrong. I had my party days in college so you will see into the life of what it was like to go to one of the biggest universities in the nation. I took advantage of everything my university had to offer.  

The shenanigans that I pulled in college were over-the-top and at sometimes hilarious.  I definitely was not the second coming of Jesus Christ : ) The things that I pulled in the psych ward were sometimes hilarious, but very scary for my family and friends.

Ultimately, this book is for people going through the good times and the bad. This is for people that are at rock bottom that feel like they have nowhere to go.  I am here to show you that there is nowhere to go but up.

This book is about my life.  A roller coaster ride that goes from funny to tragic to inspirational. So, there truly is something for everyone.

What I hope you will learn from reading my book...

After reading my book, I hope you will learn what it takes to go from being at rock bottom to being back on top of the world. I hope you will learn not to take the little things in life for granted. I did a lot of things right and a lot of things wrong so you will learn from both my mistakes and my successes. Mostly, I hope you will learn from the mistakes that I have made. The truth is, I am brutally honest in my book. You will learn that a lot of times it takes making mistakes to find success and happiness.

You will definitely learn that no matter how hard your situation is, life is truly worth living. It's unfortunate, but sometimes tragedies can bring out the best in us. They can bring people closer together and they will help you learn what you're made of.

You will learn how I coped with anxiety, depression, and mental health issues. You will learn a great deal about the effects of bipolar disorder, which is something that I think most people don't understand. You will learn about spinal cord injuries and how that affects the human body.

Most importantly, you will learn how to live every day with a smile on your face no matter what your situation and no matter what each day brings. I truly believe that my story has something to offer for everyone. 

I hope you enjoy it! Thank you for your support!

Sincerely,

Adam Helbling

**Check out these limited edition prints (the "NO BRAINER OPTION" in the rewards section) - these 9 x 9 quotes are some of Adam's favorites and, frankly, we think they're so inspiring and would look great in your home or office.

Limited Edition Print #1
Limited Edition Print #1
Limited Edition Print #2
Limited Edition Print #2
Limited Edition Print #3
Limited Edition Print #3

Again, we can't thank you enough for backing and/or sharing this project with the world.  It's a story worth telling and provides the ultimate lesson - life is about learning from your mistakes and making the most of your situation.  We all have a choice to make.  Which one are you making?

All the best to you,

Team Adam

**You can learn more about Adam at www.adamhelbling.com and The Catalyst Project at www.thecatalystproject.net

Risks and challenges

Due to his disability, the potential challenge with this project will be coordinating travel for Adam to speak at events. We will work through this with you, however, to ensure appropriate delivery of the reward. We're so excited to have him come speak if you back the project and choose this reward!

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $13 or more About $13

    FULL DIGITAL COPY OF ADAM'S BOOK. You'll be the first to receive a copy of Adam's forthcoming epic book, "Well, I Guess I'm not Jesus." This is a true story of Adam's near-death experience and his dedication to making an impact...and not letting this challenge keep him from inspiring the world.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $34 or more About $34

    PLUS LIMITED EDITION PRINT COPY AND PRIVATE WEBINAR. You'll receive everything above, PLUS a Limited Edition print copy of Adam's Book + Free access to a PRIVATE Webinar where you can learn more about Adam's story and what he's done to overcome adversity and make an impact on the world.

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    Pledge $48 or more About $48

    PLUS LIMITED EDITION T-SHIRT DESIGNED BY ADAM. You'll receive everything above, plus a custom designed T-Shirt. This will be a high quality T-Shirt and have Adam's personal touch.

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    Pledge $74 or more About $74

    THE NO BRAINER OPTION. In addition to receiving EVERYTHING listed above, you will receive three personally designed limited edition prints with some of Adam's most inspirational quotes and credo's. Check out the images in the project description for a look at these beautiful prints. They're perfect for your office or home.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $111 or more About $111

    PERSONAL ONE ON ONE VIDEO CALL WITH ADAM. In addition to receiving EVERYTHING listed above, you will have the opportunity to talk with Adam one on one about any project you're working on and how you want to make YOUR IMPACT IN THE WORLD.

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    Pledge $325 or more About $325

    THE TEAM REWARD. In addition to EVERYTHING above, you will receive 10 additional copies of the digital copy, 10 additional copies of the physical copy, and 10 additional limited edition prints. These will be great gifts for friends and family!

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    ADAM WILL PERSONALLY COME GIVE A TALK TO YOUR ORGANIZATION,TEAM OR GROUP. This is a perfect opportunity to have Adam share his amazing story and profound lessons with your team. He's shared the TEDx stage and given over 40 inspiring talks. Adam will tailor his message to your group. This is for those within 300 miles of Columbus, OH.

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    THE TRAVEL ANYWHERE IN THE US OPTION - Similar to Reward 8, Adam will deliver a talk to your company, team or group. Yes, Adam will travel anywhere in the continental US. This is for any location over 300 miles from Columbus, where he will have to fly.

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Funding period

- (30 days)