My story is a unique one and will definitely not be easy to read, especially for my mom.
I went through a lot but so did she and I thank God she’s a part of my life.
Throughout my life, I experienced a lot of anxiety, depression and addiction.
I want to share my story so that you don’t feel alone in this everyday battle.
I’ll try to be as brief as I can in this post.
First off I would like to write about one of the most important aspects of life, family. Throughout my life I consider myself to have been very lucky with my family situation.
My parents have always supported me and have been by my side at all costs. If I wasn’t doing well in school and needed help they would provide me with a tutor or they would help me with my homework and projects even though their jobs were pretty time consuming, that didn’t matter.
If I wasn’t happy about something they would set time aside to listen to my and try to help fix the problem.
My point is that I felt like I was never alone in any way and that’s what every kid needs.
My Childhood: Growing Up
Growing up as a kid I was pretty shy and sensitive. I was always scared of authority like teachers, parents and especially police and would behave well around them.
When authority wasn’t around I would act out with my friends, do trouble and quite frankly misbehave.
Later on in my life I would do the same, be a great guy around authority but cause trouble without them watching which is not a great quality I must admit.
As a student I would accel at mathematics but was not such a great all around student. I managed to have quite a bit of friends even though my shyness was a big problem for me at times.
I played sports like hockey and soccer and really enjoyed myself and was a great athlete. Overall I would say that I had a really good childhood and was a pretty average kid.
Looking back I can say that I definitely experienced a lot of anxiety during my childhood but I just didn’t know what that feeling was at that age.
My Teens, Where My Addiction Problems Began
In high school I think I handled my anxiety, depression and negative thoughts by being an athlete. The sports helped me a great deal during those years because it was a great way to channel my emotions and express myself.
When I was 15, in the summer of grade 9 my addiction problems began. I started using marijuana as a way to deal with my anxiety and excessive energy.
Unfortunately, I continued to use and it got worse. The worse it got the less I played sports and the less I was spending time with my family.
My behaviour at school got worse and my grades were going down as well. This lead to more anxiety and negative thinking about myself and constant mental torture.
I would have racing thoughts all day, had trouble sleeping and the only way I knew how to deal with it was to smoke marijuana, and smoke more.
At the age of 16 I began drinking socially and going out downtown to clubs and bars. The calming effect of marijuana wasn’t enough, I wanted more.
Drinking gave me confidence which made me feel so good about myself. Without drinking I would be shy and even scared to dance, when I was drunk it was the complete opposite.
When drinking alcohol I felt invincible and like the life of the party, on the dance floor I felt like Michael Jackson.
I would talk to girls, flirt with them and my confidence was so high and it just made me feel amazing. I that point I began to envy alcohol.
Unfortunately it was a false sense of confidence, it just wasn’t real but in my head I thought it was real.
I was having the time of my life I made so many friends in the bar and club scene and it felt so good. For once I “thought” I was truly happy but eventually it caught up to me.
When I was 19 I began to drink more and more. I was going out to bars and clubs 5 to 7 nights a week. The morning were rough but by night I felt good enough to go out again.
Just a couple of drinks and I was back, or so I thought I was. The night started with a couple but it continued to 5 .. 6.. 10 drinks, at the end of the night I could not recall how many I had.
I couldn’t walk straight my speech was slurred and it wasn’t so fun anymore when you wake up in the morning and can’t remember what you said or did the night before. It was just a horrible feeling.
In my 20’s my addiction got worse
I was in University and my situation was not improving the least bit.
The drinking got even worse, I would wake up in the morning and start off with a drink just to get me going.
If I met a woman the night before I would have to drink before even talking to her on the phone.
Life wasn’t the way I wanted it to be but I felt stuck.
I continued going out to bars and clubs and not focusing on school at all. The drinking just wasn’t cutting it for me anymore.
Around that time I was introduced to cocaine. That drug eventually became the devil to me. When I started I just couldn’t stop.
It made me feel superior, it made me feel like I was the best and most interesting person in that club.
The crazy amount of endorphins it released in my brain made me feel so happy in that moment.
But after all the partying and great time I would have at the club I would wake up in the morning feeling like total crap.
Everything I had the night before, the friends, the beautiful ladies, the bottles of alcohol were all gone in the morning.
I was alone and felt alone. I felt more depressed than I have ever felt in my entire life. I was so ashamed of myself at that point but I just couldn’t stop living like that and couldn’t explain why.
I knew I needed help but was too afraid to ask for it. This was a battle I could not win on my own. I stayed in my addiction and went in deeper and deeper. I started using harder drugs, because what I was using just wasn’t enough for me anymore. I was seeking that feeling of euphoria that I got the first time using but I was just chasing the devil at that point.
Life was hard, I stopped showing up to classes and eventually dropped out of school. I would tell my parents I was just going out for a few minutes and the next thing you know they wouldn’t hear from me for weeks at a time. Years later I know now that my dear mom would cry every night not knowing where I was or who I was with and what kind of trouble I was getting myself into.
My life was coming to the point of no return stuck in my addiction, depression and anxiety. The worst was yet to come. I ended up overdosing 3 times within a period of one year all of which were very near death experiences. I ended up in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) each of those 3 times intubated and pretty much on life support. I remember one of the times waking up with my whole family around me, my 2 brothers, sister, parents and the doctor. They were all crying in despair not knowing whether I was going to live or die at that point. Even the young doctor had tears in his eyes and he told me I was 10 minutes away from dying if someone hadn’t called the police I would have been dead.
The night of the third overdose I remember getting home and looking at the full moon and promising to never use drugs or alcohol again. 2 weeks later I was back in that vicious cycle of addiction it was terrifying. The reason why I was so scared is because I knew I wanted to stop but I just couldn’t do it. At least not on my own. I knew I needed to ask for help but I had to build of the courage to do it.
In My Early 30’s Life Got Much Better
Over a year ago I finally had the courage to ask for help. So I went to my parents and told them I did not want to live like that anymore. The loving and caring parents that I have immediately got me help. On July 8th 2017 I checked in to an amazing rehab facility. The first week was hell for me, I was experiencing withdrawal and I just wanted to leave. But I made the right decision and stayed. Every day after the first week I felt better and better. I couldn’t believe how great I started to feel mentally and physically. I ended staying at the rehab for 5 week and it was the best decision I made in my whole life.
This year has been great for me, I have my life back. I feel so good to have my family back in my life and we have a great relationship. During my addiction when my mom would call I would not even answer my phone, now I answer it with pleasure and a smile on my face. Everyday is a gift and I take it one day at a time. Now I look and feel healthier than I’ve ever been, a couple of years ago my skin colour was greyish greenish. I’m currently back in school studying web design and social media and it’s going better than I ever expected.
One of the biggest things I learned is to love myself for who I am, I never had that before. Before I hated myself, now I truly LOVE myself and I appreciate every minute of the day.
I’m not saying that it’s always easy please don’t get me wrong. I do still struggle with anxiety and depression but I learned to live with it and use to my advantage by trying to help other people.
All I can share is my experience and my story. Everyone’s story is different but I just hope you could relate to the feelings. If I could just help ONE person by writing my story then it is worth every minute of my time exponentially.
I’m just trying to share what I’ve been through and I could not be happier with myself in this moment. I plan on living sober for the rest of my life because it’s the only way that I’ll be happy.
I see my anxiety, depression and addiction as a gift because the only cure for them is happiness. I’m not saying it was an easy path and no one ever said it would be easy.
What I shared today was just a small part of my story and I plan on sharing even more in the future. I want to share what worked for me so that I could give hope to someone else.
I would like to say something that’s entirely true: if I could do it ANYONE could do it.
In conclusion, the first thing I would like to say is thank you for reading my story. It wasn’t easy for me to re-live some of these stories and my feelings but I did it to help someone out there that needs help.
My dream is to start a social network entirely devoted to helping people deal with anxiety, depression and addiction. These 3 things are very closely related in my opinion. I believe in this world today there is not enough support for people with these problems. Unfortunately there is still a huge stigma attached to these mental illnesses. I want there to be an online platform available where people could help each other throughout the day and at anytime. The most important thing to do in these situations is to talk. When you hold it in the turmoil just worsens inside and so does the illness. This project of creating a global social network for anxiety, depression and addiction will require a lot of resources and funding. If you could just help a little bit that would mean the world to me.