Life Without Shackles

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.

29 thoughts on “Life Without Shackles

  1. Thank you Hayden for your striking honesty. You are indeed needed…and appreciated. My 8 yr old son will live a better life because of you and your friend Danny. Hoping you are doing better most days with this struggle. Praying for you!

  2. Hayden you touched my heart because I feel alot of the same things. The useless feeling, not feeling important, worthless…even though I have a husband and children I still feel useless. My counselor says it is the low self-esteem that make me feel that way…but because of the worthless useless feeling I get angry at the slightest thing and then the person I am angry/ yelling at then takes it out on me, which causes more useless worthless feelings, a vicious cycle. Lots of feelings of wishing I wasn’t here…nothing to live for since I am so angry and family gets angry at me. 🙁 🙁

  3. It pains me to see this, but I understand, and am in awe at how much courage it must have taken you. I am on my own path to a shackle free life, and you and Danny have helped me out immensely with that already. You DO have worth, and you’re part of a community that cares about you more than you could ever know. Not many Aspies are dedicating their life to help their fellows out, and it is a very commendable life choice! I wish I were a fraction as brave as you. Maybe I’ll get there, someday. Thank you for showing me the person I can be. Don’t lose site of who YOU can possibly be in the process, please! We are all behind you in this!

  4. My son is going through the very same thing Gd bless you, Hayden, for your courage Sharing your story helps so many people! Your life matters more than you can possibly know!

  5. Hayden: You are amazing! I know the pain you are feeling… and I am not an aspie! You are serving a much higher purpose in this life than you will ever know… I can just tell after one day on your site… that you are saving literally HUNDREDS of people a day! God has blessed you… and now has blessed us with you! Keep up the good work!

  6. I have a 15 year old who has asp and I just found your site today. I know God has answered my prayers because this week I really locked down in prayer as to an answer of how to help him. He’s a great kid but so different from my other four and we’ve know for a while that he has asp. but haven’t had any kind of clue as to how to direct him. NO clue – because everything else we’ve read…everything the doctors say doesn’t seem to pertain to him. Until I found your site. He is homeschooled and does have one good friend, but SO much of what I’ve read makes so much sense now, on your site. I really never had a clue that hygiene issues were a trait of asp?? Until today. Nor his anxious behavior. I cannot wait to see the entire webinar and all the videos. Carry on -God bless you – I don’t know what your beliefs are, but I believe God put you here for a hugely important purpose-you’re changing lives, in changing lives, never think that you haven’t changed the world too! Thank you!

  7. Hey Haden you are truly a light in my eyes, what you write about is what myself and 2 sons struggle with every day. You have been given a special gift to help the rest of us who suffer and are not understood. Continue to do the things you love and do so well. You and Danny have the answers.Just listen and believe in yourself as we believe in YOU. May God continue to bless you. Chris


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