My name is Hayden Mears. I’m a diagnosed Aspie and a chronically depressed 22 year old man. In the paragraphs below, you’ll find things that are both sad and true. But you will also find triumph in my resolve to do and be better. I’m still struggling to find a good starting point, but I guess I’ll just have to fire away and hope it all makes sense to you.
I’ve been suffering for a while now. Hell, I’ve been suffering so much that my eyes burn with tears just thinking about the past few months. But it’s difficult to tell just by looking at me. You’ll almost always find me with a smile on my face, and I will continue to smile until the day I die. Without a smile, without that tiny muscle movement that lifts my face(and my heart) upward, I don’t think I could continue. Even my proudest moments are tainted by an unhappiness that threatens to overcome me every day, and my happiest ones are soiled by my own feelings of inadequacy. Sometimes I just want to succumb, to give in, because how great would it be to not feel this incredibly devastating pain?
There was a week in November where I wished, even prayed, that I would be taken from this world. I thought to myself, “People don’t need me. I don’t even need me.” Tears would spring into my eyes for seemingly no reason, and everywhere I looked, I would see people happy, content, and free. I desperately wanted a piece of that happiness, that freedom, that elation that comes with a strong heart and a driven soul. I’ve figured out what must be done, but it will take work, and lots of it.
At this point, however, I cannot be selfish. I have a family, friends, and thousands of people who look to me for answers. I can’t quit. Ever. The business I co-run and co-own with Danny Raede, Asperger Experts, has given me purpose but also reminded me of how badly I think of myself. Everything we’ve accomplished, everything we’ve worked for, I instantly shoot it all down with a simple phrase: “I am worthless.”
It took me until now, until tonight, to realize just how wrong I was. I thought I had it before. I was certain that I had figured out the secret to happiness. But it was time to stop kidding myself. I was suffering, screaming inside, and the longer I denied that, the heavier my heart would become.
Little did I know, the answer was right in front of me the entire time. I had to live each day not without worry, but without shackles. For years I was a slave to my own anxiety and unhappiness, refusing to admit that those two things were not helping me. They were harming me, and something needed to be done. I’m still figuring out how to achieve this, but I will embark on this journey with an open heart.
Today, I take my first steps into a life without shackles like a baby takes his first steps toward the encouraging embrace of his mother. No longer will anxiety and self-loathing have any control over my life. No longer will I fall victim to my own doubt. It will be a long journey, but I’m ready. Hit me with your best shot.