“I grew up in a very broken home,” Jebidiah said. 

Jebidiah, equal parts humble and friendly, is certainly not exaggerating. His mother was a drug addict and his father spent most of his youth and teen years in prison or completely out of touch. 

“I suffered some pretty horrible abuse at the hands of my junkie mother,” he remembered. “Among the worst was her attempt to strangle me with an extension cord at the age of 8.”

Some of the hardest times for Jebidiah were witnessing his mom's suicide attempts. One of her attempts happened on Christmas – a moment he’ll never forget. 

“I remember being woken up in the middle of the night by the man she was married to at the time,” he said. “She had a breakdown and took a bunch of Xanax and took off in her car. We lived in a small town and there wasn't much of a police force, so we went driving around at 2 a.m. looking for her and we found her with her car wrapped around a telephone pole. She was hanging out of her door, bleeding and broken. There were police and EMS on scene shortly after and she was eventually sent to rehab. These types of events happened the entire time I was a kid and because of it being a small town, everyone knew. I was constantly picked on and beat up by other kids my age. It was nothing short of horrible.”

By the time Jebidiah was in 8th grade, he was mentally broken. His aunt and uncle took custody of him which was a big turning point in his life. 

“I got involved in sports and began some form of healing,” he said. “Once I graduated high school and entered adulthood I began going backwards mentally and I quickly realized I was screwed up and learned how to hate myself. When I met my wife and we started having kids, I began healing again, but not quite enough. I still battled addiction and had no idea how to love myself. Through all of this, I shut down emotionally and into adulthood had a very difficult time establishing meaningful relationships.”

Jebidiah struggled with alcoholism and drug abuse, but when he became a father, he put the drugs away but still battled other various addictions: hard liquor, smoking, food. 

“Five years ago, I watched my dad die without any friends and a heart full of hate,” he said. “I knew I needed a change. I literally saw my future. So I began the journey of healing through a therapist, the weight room, and the martial arts. There was no way in hell I was going out like that. My kids and wife deserved better. I deserved better.” 

He immediately felt like he was destined for something great because he accepted that the difficult fact that he needed to heal. Initially, he believed he was destined to leave a legacy of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu championships behind for his four kids. But he eventually came to understand that because he is proud of his SCARS, the greatest legacy he can leave his children is the breaking of a generational cycle. 

“I've set my children on a path that nobody has been on in my family for generations,” he said proudly. “A path of a healthy mind and heart. I am proud of my children and I am the first father in generations of my family to have children that are proud of him!”

Jebidiah says the most important piece of advice he could offer anybody going through these types of struggles is to seek help if you need it. Getting into powerlifting gave him the inner strength to accept he needed help. 

“Through that process of seeing a counselor on a regular basis, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and lifting heavy I learned how to do the most important thing that was robbed from me at a very young age – I learned to love myself,” he said. “I can assure anybody reading this that until you've learned to love yourself you won't be able to truly love another person. The APEMAN STRONG community has inspired me to tell my story and be a light to those that feel trapped in the dark. Together we can, and will, persevere!”