Easing Depression with Connection

Shane | 26:12

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"There's people who are going to love you for who you are."

Depression Anxiety Therapy Acid Reflux Suicidal Ideation Self-Harm Friendship

Story Transcript

So when, when I was first diagnosed with depression, I was diagnosed when I was 17. That wasn't really, I think the start of my depression was definitely not around 17. That's when I came to the realization. I think a lot of it started, when I was around 9 to 10 years old and before, I think depression was kind of a more common thing. At that point, people just kind of called it just like, oh, anxiety or panic, because at the time I was 9 to 10 years old and I had a lot of issues with my dad. He was kind of that controlling father, but like, he wasn't really active in my life at that point because they, my mom and my father, divorced when I was about nine months old. But he kinda set the precursor for a lot of my emotional issues later, just because his way of doing things was under, was threats and control. Never really like love and support, and I think a lot of this stemmed up towards anxiety and panic, when I was about 9 or 10 years old. I remember. I don't know. I don't really remember what it was that caused it. I think it was some kind of morbid movie or something I saw that fired it off at first. But any time a sort of feeling like I was, like, I couldn't breathe. I felt like I was choking. I had something in my throat that was lodged.

All this obviously took a psychological toll on my body and it got to the point where I couldn't even go to school, because it was so bad. And I was taken out of school for about a month and not only did I have that on my shoulders, my dad decided to tell my school that it was me faking it, thus causing a lot more stress and anxiety for me because the court, because the school district got involved and the courts, turned to the courts... you know, the courts around here, the judge and stuff getting involved too about it, having to send my mom to a parenting class, which was unnecessary, and it caused me more and more stress. But eventually, I got over it, talking to a psychiatrist and talking about my problems. Eventually I was able to beat back that depression, or I guess not depression, but panic and anxiety, for at least a while. And it wasn't until I was 15, it started it up again. But this time it was very, it wasn't just a couple of months it lasted. This was about a year I had anxiety, just from, I'm not sure what exactly caused this one. But I was feeling very anxious a lot, and eventually it stressed my body out to the point, where it gave me acid reflux problems, and I don't know like how that was possible. I guess, the body, you know, whenever it’s under so much duress, it causes it to become very unbalanced, you know, about like the chemicals in your body and everything. So it caused a lot of problems for my throat and just my tract and my body just caused a lot of issues with acid reflux. Eventually, though, I took medication and eventually that went away.

And for a long time, I didn't have any problems with anxiety, up until I was about 17 because I felt like that was a time where I kind of came into this realization about life and what's going on because I think that when certain people, or when certain teenagers hit an age, they start thinking about the bigger picture in life, like once you go through school, once you go through friends, that getting older and things are becoming more and more terrifying. And when I was 17, I hit that emo stage in my life, where I didn't really care about anything. And this is where, I started realizing like life is really scary in a lot of ways. I wasn't really mentally prepared for, because my dad really didn't teach me much about how I should be with life and my mom, she was very, very vague about a lot of stuff on life to about, you know, what basic teenagers need to know about, you know, love, death, sex, every type of thing. So she was very vague about a lot of that.

And I think when I came to the realization on my own, it was a very terrifying moment, and this is where a lot of my depression was starting and suicide thoughts were coming in, or suicidal tendencies were coming very fast from every direction. This was during a time when I got my first, when I had my really, I guess my first relationship, that one that felt kind of real, wasn't like just some little fling, spark or anything like that. And I think I felt pressured to be like, well, I want to find a perfect relationship. But I put too much emphasis into this one, my very first one. And when it ended very badly, it got me to a point where I was ... This is where my depression hit very, very badly to the point where, I did a suicide attempt. And of course, the police showed up to my house and it was not a good thing. That was when my mom figured out that I was very depressed. I had suicidal tendencies. I had an attempt under my belt already, and I was also cutting myself quite a bit at this time. But she didn't really want to accept it that, you know, I guess that her kid was having these problems. So she didn't really, I don't think she wanted to accept that. So we never really got anything, anywhere besides the diagnosis. I didn't get treatment at all at that point. And I spent a couple of years of my life with a lot of very bad social anxieties. I had a lot of anger problems. I had a lot of you know issues with people and how I talk to them. Like I'm very like, any time that someone talks to me, I would end up replying very, very snarky, very sarcastic, like I wasn't very nice to people, and I really just didn't want to, I didn't really want anything to do with anybody, especially my dad. After I turned 18, I didn't even want anything to do with my dad at that point, because he couldn't control me anymore. But he already did the damage.

And I carried that through a lot of my early, a lot of my early twenties, trying to figure out a place in the world, and my depression was just up and down, up and down, and I didn't really know how to escape it, except I started to play this game. It was a MMO, and I escaped into this game for a very long time, talking to other people, making friends online because I didn't have to deal with them in person so I can easily maintain them online. And this is kind of how I was able to kind of keep my depression on a stasis for at least a short time, even though I am still having it, but I was able to at least curb it with this for a very short time. But that all came crashing down around when I was about 24 when I started getting involved in this ... I guess this different type of community. In a game like that, there's a lot of different things to do. But there's also communities where you can actually do like role playing with other characters, other people in the game. I got involved in this community with people like that. And I met some girl who like my character had a relationship with her character, and I put too much emphasis into this as well because I was talking to her every day, every single day, doing stuff in that game with her, doing stuff outside that game with her, like watching movies together, all that kind of stuff.

And I think I put way too much emphasis into this, because this is how I felt like, this is the closest thing I would ever get to something real, in terms of the relationship, which is what I always wanted, is something very nice and loving and everything. But I put way too much emphasis into this, because she was a married woman outside this game, which didn't make sense to me because I would think that would be considered cheating in a lot of ways. But when I was putting too much of my time and energy and just too much of my emotions and feelings into this because, my grandmother passed away that year when I met her, and I think I used a lot of that as an escape for things, cause I was already in another relationship at that point. I was in a long-distance relationship and it was, that was very difficult to deal with because the girl that I was dating long distance had a very emotional, abusive trait to her and I got to the point where I was focusing so much time on this other girl, which I figured it wasn't like, really a relationship, because it's just a relationship with the characters we were playing. Not really a relationship in general. Because I was putting so much emphasis on this other girl, I started forgetting about my current long-distance relationship because it was so bad at that point where I didn't want to even deal with it anymore. And eventually that ended, which I was actually happy because I didn't have to, because it was like, well, I didn't have to deal with her anymore. I could focus all my time with this other person.

But things started getting real rocky. I got very, I got very jealous about other people she was talking and playing with. Eventually, it hit a very bad breaking point where she decided to end everything, basically blocking me on things and then eventually ceased talking to me. And that was kind of a very bad, very big turning point in my life. I was about, I was 25 at the time, and I was already in my mid-twenties, and I felt like I really have achieved nothing. You know, like, I put way too much time into this false and fake persona, and it really caused a lot of depth, like really a lot of turmoil going on in my mind. I was very heartbroken, and I was trying to find a way to cope with it, and I couldn't. So in 2016 it was a couple of weeks before my birthday. I went to my doctor and she put me on a medication. It was for depression, but it was also for appetite. It was also for appetite controls. It was a suppressant. So she put me on this medication for a month, and when I'm on the first couple of weeks taking it, it causes me to have this extremely violent and manic episode to the point where I couldn't calm myself down. It was to the point where I had to get a hold of my mom and she had to start taking me all of these long nightly drives places because any time that one of these episodes hit, I couldn't calm down, and she was the only one that was able to calm me down by taking me around and driving me around for a little while. Because I couldn't drive because I was so manic. I had to be calmed with other types of methods. And eventually, I tried to kill myself again for the second time. I tried to overdose and it didn't work.

So at this point, like after all this was over, I stopped taking the medicine because I didn't want to keep taking it, because I figured that if I kept taking it, it's gonna lead to more and more problems essentially. And I didn't want to, I definitely did not want to keep dealing with these issues anymore. And I was like, I need to really look into finding people close by. So this is where a lot of stuff was turning. But the bad thing about all this was while I was looking for friends, I found a few that, but they weren't really that good. I started using Tinder because I thought, well, maybe I can meet someone there and believe it or not, I met one of my best friends on there at the time, and we talked vaguely for a little while. But I'll get back to that in a minute. We were talking a little bit here and there, but not like, very like a ton. So that was kind of a hit and miss, going back and forth. The bad thing was that at the time when this was going on, I fell into another one of those role play relationships on that game again. This time it didn't feel the same, even though I tried to make it like the same way. But it didn't really feel that way. And she was kind of one of those people that was kind of came and gone once, you know every now and then, like she would play along for a long period, but then she would disappear for about a month or so. So it was very difficult to deal with that kind of thing. It was a back and forth, back and forth type of thing, talked all the time, but it was, she had a lot of health issues. So a lot of it, I just kinda, it was back and forth, back and forth, and then eventually she took this really long break from the game for about nine months. And I was very depressed about that because I was putting so much time into another one of these relationships that not being able to do anything with her was, kind of took a mental toll on me, and started making me feel like, you know, are we doing this? Am I gonna start feeling like this again? So I decided to reverse course and try to meet other people. So I got onto our, I got onto my city's Reddit page, and they had these meet ups every other week. So, I met up with these people at a local Mexican restaurant and I met my other best friend, Nathan.

Now, this man, honestly, I can say this is, this is one of the biggest turning points in my life at this point. Meeting this person. I met him, but I didn't really talk too much, and I was still going through a lot of problems with my last roleplay relationship with that woman and it was still plaguing on my mind for a while, and I felt like I couldn't really shake that off. And then when I started talking about it with other people, it started helping me get over it, because it's like, well, it's just, you know, it wasn't really a real thing that I guess at that point I couldn't really clue myself into it that it wasn't really real at all. So by this point, like my best friend Christy, or Christine, we started talking a little bit more at the end of 2017. Eventually, I got to meet her in person, and then I got to meet her daughter a little bit later, and her daughter absolutely loves me. And this is also a bigger turning point as well. Now she’s a very, she can have a very calm persona. She comes off as a very calm individual, tomboyish, but she has her heart in the right place even though she’s kind of a pain in the butt sometimes. But like we started hanging out a lot, like a ton during 2018. By this time, my other roleplay relationship failed because, some miscommunication happened where she thought I was trying to get someone to spy on her, which wasn't the case, and she took it as I was, and she freaked out and eventually just blocked me. And I was at the point where I really didn’t care anymore about that woman because she was always kind of coming and going, so it didn't feel like the connection like my last one did. So I eventually I just said forget it, you know, I’m not doing this anymore. And I quit the game. I was done with it.

So I was putting in a lot of time with Christine during 2018, we would go see movies, we would go on a lot of lunch dates, dinner dates, so I kind of figured, well, is this going to turn into a relationship? But she kept saying over and over again that no, she doesn't feel that way. I’m more of her best friend and stuff than anything because, you know, she doesn't want to mess up the friendship with the relationship. And it also played into the fact that I you know was a virgin, that she didn't want to date me because she doesn't like dating people, that I guess are virgins. So I didn't really think too much, like, to me that wasn't a big deal, but going out and doing stuff during this time, was very important because I felt like, well, then now there's more life outside, to just a game, because at this point at that time, like when I was going through a lot of stuff in my early twenties, I didn't have a lot of friends at the time, especially local friends. So when I had my first local friend and a best friend on top of that, it was different because I was doing something all the time now, whether it be going to eat, whether it be going to the movies or just going here and seeing her daughter, which was actually really nice because her daughter is a really sweet kid. And, it helped me a lot during that first half of 2018.

Now the other friend, Nathan, like we wouldn’t talk too much between the time we met and this time. But we started going out to bars every other night, him and I, because Christine and I had a little bit of a falling out with each other after we got back from a vacation, and we didn't really want to talk or see each other for a little bit. So Nathan and I started doing stuff all the time. And this is where I felt, this was the biggest turning point in my life because he didn’t treat me like a best friend. He treated me like I was his brother and he still treats me like I'm his brother, and I feel the same way too. I feel like he's more my brother than my best friend now. And he put a lot of time and care into our friendship to the point where it’s like, it really made me see that there are some people out there, because I always thought to myself, there's really nobody out there that's gonna be good to you, or nice to me, but it finally changed my perspective about that. It’s not the fact that there's, you keep meeting the wrong people, but eventually you will meet the right people. They will come along.

And Nathan's one of those people that helped me change the way I see that, because it's like, okay, there's not, everybody in the world is not bad. There's some really good people out there that will care about you. And at the end of 2018, my depression was starting to actually take a very big turn in the opposite direction. I had two best friends, so it was nice to have these people that cared about you, and I was starting to get out of my shell. I was starting to conquer my social anxieties and my fears about stuff, and I was actually trying to talk to people, trying to maintain communication with family that I didn't talk to much and other distant family. In early 2019, I got really sick. I got to the point where I was very close to dying. And I went to the hospital and I stayed in the hospital for 10 days, and at this point, being that close to death, like almost on the verge of passing away, I felt like this is the third time I could have died. But I didn’t. So I felt, well, something obviously wants me to stay on this earth or something. Because I've never really been a very religious person. I'm still not. But I felt like, Well, maybe there is a fate or something I need to finish on this earth before I pass on in some way, like it will be an accident or just natural causes.

And this is where my depression started to kind of stop, because I was also seeing a psychiatrist at the same time. I was talking to a therapist online because I couldn't afford, at the time, one in person. And she was very nice. And it helped me get an idea about relationships and people and how I should be and how I should act and how I should really think about relationships and friendships and stuff as a whole. How I shouldn't be putting my effort in the people that don't care and how I should put more effort into the people that do care, because those are the people that matter the most. And you should always try to maintain yourself with those people more than people that don't care. Because I spent a lot of time worrying about people, how people thought of me, of the people that don’t care thought about me. And I shouldn't have even thought about how people that don't care about me, think about me. So I stopped doing that and instantly I started feeling much better. Because I put a lot of time into trying to impress the individuals and family members that I don't see that often, trying to always get involved in stuff and trying always be included. To the point where I'm like I don't care. These people were, were I always put too much emphasis into wanting to do stuff with them, spending so much of my time and hope into them that it made me more depressed. But when I stopped, it changed. My depression ended at that point. While I still have tendencies to have depression once in a while, you know, because I don't think I'll ever fully get rid of it. I still have a little bit of flashes of it, once in a while, if I'm by myself. When I'm reminded of something in the past, like it won't be there. It'll get me sad, but I know it's not going to get me to the point where I want to hurt myself again or feel like I'm not worth it. Because I know I am worth it, that I am a very good person in this world, because I want to be the good person in the world, that it's very dark. And, just not worry about whether or not people care or not, because the ones that care will show it, and the ones that don't will never show it, and those people don't matter and shouldn’t matter. And for people that feel like they have to impress others, they have to do certain things in order to gain love, you shouldn't put yourself out there, because there's people that are gonna love you for who you are, not for what you can do or offer them. And I have learned that very, very well these past few years that you have to be patient.

You have to, whether all the stuff that comes in your life, whether it be relationships, friendships, depression, sadness, love, hate, that eventually you will be able to beat it. It's just, it takes time. It takes patience. It takes the right people to help you excel to those moments. And when you do finally get rid of it and you finally feel like I don't have to worry anymore, I don't have to do certain things anymore, to impress people, it's a really good feeling, and you feel so much better about yourself and your confidence, like it's taken such a big boost because you know like, you have a lot more worth than what people put on you. You should never let people put worth on you that don't matter. You should always take in the advice of people that do care about you more into consideration and let those opinions matter the most.

Because I did. You know I've got a wonderful family. I got wonderful friends that actually do care about me, you know, and I never have to worry about whether or not I’m not doing things that they disapprove of or approve of. Because no matter what I do, they're always gonna support me for my decisions and my choices, even if they disagree with them. And it makes me … This is where a lot of my depression ended, was when I figured it out. And finally was able to clue into that people's opinions should not matter. That you don’t know. Because really how are they able to judge someone they don't even know. And depression for me it's a long battle that ended, but it didn't kill me. I finally put it to rest. I embraced what it was and now, as I go forward, I don't ever see it having a problem with me again. I'm able to figure out and finally able to figure out, what I want to do in my life, now that I don't have to worry and feel sad about things anymore.