My entire life, I always referred to myself as a “stressball.” I could never relax and was always worried about things that would likely never happen.
My parents were very religious and forced me and my siblings to go to church every Sunday. Even though we have a history of depression in our family, mental health issues were still viewed as shameful and a sign that your faith isn’t strong enough.
When I got to college, I went from a very sheltered life and thrust into the real world. I started partying early, nearly got kicked out of college, and hopped around to different schools. My freshman year, my RA roommate caught me carving into my leg with a razor blade and I ended up in the psych ward for the weekend, where I told the psychiatrists what they wanted to hear, just so I could get out. By my sophomore year, I was diagnosed with depression and put on anti-depressants. Even though those around me said they noticed a difference, I didn’t feel like they were helping, so I stopped taking them and continued to party.
In my early 20s, I was at a point where I could not go into a bar without drinking and I wouldn’t just have one or two, I was drinking to get drunk. My first DWI, I was put in a holding cell overnight and lost the temp job I had been working. I also lost my license for 3 months. The day I got my license back, I went out to celebrate (because “nobody’s going to tell me I can’t drink”) and got a second DWI. This time, I was booked in and released right away. I got an attorney who told me that I had 2 choices: 1. I could wait until the court ordered me to go to treatment and I would have to pay for it, or 2. I could go to treatment voluntarily and my insurance would pay for it. So to treatment I went.
I successfully completed outpatient treatment and aftercare and started going to AA meetings. I had stopped drinking and started working on a 90×90 (90 meetings in 90 days), which meant I went to 8 AA meetings a week in case there was a day I couldn’t go. Because of my commitment, the judge went easy on me and I didn’t have to serve any jail time.
Through all this, I continued to be a “stressball” and didn’t know there was anything I could do about it. A couple of years ago, I saw something online about anxiety and asked my doctor about it. After doing some testing, he gave me some medication, which has been working well for me. I feel more even and motivated. I am now chasing my dream of being an actor, I’ve started to get into voiceover, and I’m starting up a production company.