I have a lot of old friends strewn across the interwebs, and a lot of new ones. Some know my journey, most dont. So this post for all who desire to know the pain and struggle, as well as the happiness, of a life steeped in depression and anxiety.
I grew up in a world populated by fictional heroes and real-life villains. I was not well received in most aspects of my childhood concerning the eyes and beliefs of others. My life has mostly been an uphill battle, with a few glorious campsites along the way. Parents who were both there and not there, in the most terrific (and sometimes tragic) ways possible. Ten years away from my closest sibling, and lightyears away from my peers I so desperately desired to be close too, I felt alone a lot of the time. Childhood is supposed to be full of happiness, carefree fun, mistakes, and discipline. Learning about life, trying to grasp and hold on to whatever wonder the world holds for us in those formidable years. Truth be told, I had a lot of that, but in my heart and soul, I knew I was losing my grip on such normalities as I grew.
I first recognized my mentality and emotional struggles for what they were when I was in my teens. The cruelty of children who think they are adults knows no bounds. It took my first suicide attempt for me to realize when something was desperately wrong with me, and that I needed some form of help. I turned to the only people I knew: my Latin teacher (the only one in my “chosen-for-me” hell who cared), my parents (who, despite normal parental mistakes, loved me and only wanted the absolute best for me, and still do! PROPS MOM AND DAD!!), and the only girl to ever show affection and care for me in the entirety of my existence (until that point. Thanks *name withheld*!). They succeeded in halting what would have been the biggest mistake of my life, for a time. It was, as Trent Reznor put it in the mid-90’s, a “Downward Spiral”.
I left that “institution of hell” and entered into one that, ironically, ushered in one of the most simultaneously peaceful and hellish experiences I have ever had: Public School (as a boy raised in supposed ‘christian’ institutions his whole life, this makes sense /s). I achieved a level in young-adulthood I had never before dreamed of: ‘Friendships’. Unfortunately, the friends I had made were of mixed morality. Some held true to the goodness I had been raised with, minus the “Jesus” factor, some were on the far opposite end of the religious scale I grew up in, some were somewhere in the middle (skateboarding and an ironic sense of Jesus prevailed in this ‘pastor’s kid/worship musician’ community). I found myself in a hodgepodge of people. On one side I had Wiccans, Pagans, Atheists, and Agnostics; they performed rituals for which I was present, but not complied with, patiently waiting for our next turns on the lone PS2 and copy of Final Fantasy, or the next round of root beer floats and Happy Tree Friends/FullMetal Alchemist bootlegs. The other side was the group I had wanted to be a part of my entire life: the ‘Popular Kids’. Skinny, well-dressed, well-to-do, and with an abundance of cash for gas, and food. I gravitated more towards them than my typical group of friends I could actually relate with.
Through the combination of the two, I gained a dangerous knowledge of drugs, alcohol, and pagan rituals; those combined with my own self-loathing, ‘cycle of toxic shame’, increasing addiction to self-injury/suicide, my disregard for the faith I had been taught from a young age, and my studies of different religious groups and customs, made for a pretty dangerous cocktail that escalated until I was almost 20 years of age.
After many suicide attempts, and numerous scars due to self-inflicted wounds, I found myself at the bottom of the proverbial barrel. I, quite literally, had nowhere to turn. At this point in my life I had given up on everything, including the one thing I thought held meaning in this world: Love (albeit the poetic kind). Through a series of life, and soul, altering circumstances, I ended up in a position to either move forward within the light of the only Love that matters, or continue on my path of death and destruction (You can ask me more if you wish…). I, quite obviously, chose life, and here I sit, almost a decade later, writing this.
The last nine (almost ten) years has culminated in a lot of mistakes, a lot of ‘regression’, but also the most happiness I could ever imagined. The point of this post was not to show you a glimpse into one of the darkest places a human being could venture, but to show you the light at the end of, and beyond, the tunnel. I have a gorgeous wife and a beautiful daughter, neither of which I thought I would have ten years ago.
To those, like the recently deceased Robin Williams, who struggle with depression and suicide, or any of the branches that come with that tree: you are NOT alone. There are those who have “made it to the other side” who support you, love you, and would like nothing more than to hear your pain and help you move beyond that. Below you’ll find some links for resources to assist in just that: finding health and some glimmer of light in the darkness of your light.
If you find this, just know (regardless of who you are) I love you, and I wish nothing but the best for you. I don’t care if you smoke pot, cut yourself, are in love with your girlfriend/boyfriend, worship Buddha, or think I’m an effing psycho for believing in Jesus, I still love you, and want nothing more than health and prosperity for you. If you ever need something, hit me up, and I’ll do my best to point you where you can best find someone to care and give you the devotion you’re so desperately searching for.
(a documentary on bullying in which I was featured)