Stigma Fighters: Ryan B.

Depression and Alcoholism Part 1

Well, I guess it’s time to start this essay on my own battles with alcoholism and depression.

I’m no writer and there is probably a shitload of grammar errors here.
I was gonna have it edited, but I want this to be mine.

A couple of rules here.
1. I’m obviously not a Dr. and I am only speaking about my condition. Maybe you will be able to relate. I make no claims that this is what anybody else suffers from.

2. I’m writing this in hopes of helping others to understand others who suffer, and for the hopes that those who suffer will know:
A: They are not alone.
B: There is help if they want it.

3. Nobody needs to send me messages asking if I’m ok. I really don’t want sympathy or any of that bullshit. After 9 years clean and sober, I’m still in love with recovery and sobriety, and because of recovery, I don’t have a fraction of the daily drama and problems that I see most people allowing into their lives. Life is pretty awesome for me.

4. I don’t need anybody telling me how proud of me they are. That’s seriously one of the most annoying things you can tell this specific alcoholic. Relapse is real, and although I have no intentions of a relapse, where will all of your pride in me be then? I ran out of a burning building when I sought recovery. I don’t deserve a pat on the back for doing the right thing by getting sober.

5. I am attempting this with as much humility as possible. I’m not looking for compliments, respect , special treatment, an ego boost, etc. Yes, I am an entertainer for a living and that’s how I make a living, But Anybody who really knows me, knows then how ridiculous I think giving any entertainer “The Star Treatment” is, how much I loath it, and how much I believe it contributes to the self-centered ness of the disease. If there is any talent in me, I believe it was there before I knew anything about it, therefore, it is a blessing from beyond and I had very little to do with it.

6. If you feel you have depression or alcoholism and want help, I will help just the same as others helped me.

Depression and Alcoholism

The record is skipping….The record is skipping …… The record is skipping….The record is skipping…..will somebody please kick the fucking record player!!!!!!
Kick!!!!!

Great…..Now I got another skip in this record that was once a beautiful life without any damage!!!

This beautiful life will never be the same again!!

I have 3 older brothers, parents still married after 55 years, but as a child starting around age 5, I had a reoccurring dream of traveling on a boat with them to a dock on a desert shore in a far away land. I am left on the shore all alone while they sail away, and no matter how much I cry for them to come back, I can’t do anything about it, and the feeling of loneliness won’t leave. I don’t know why I ever had this dream at such a young age, especially with parents and brothers who loved me, but abandonment and rejection issues would plague my life.

When I was young, my brain would grab an idea, and that would be my only thought for great lengths of time. I could not get the idea or thought out of my head no matter what I did. You could call it obsession I guess. As a child, these obsessions were mostly about toys that I wanted, or coloring a picture, Planning the perfect battle with my toy soldiers, but no matter what I did, it was never perfect, and I felt unfulfilled.

Although I didn’t know it at the time what was going on inside of me, I was constantly looking for something to take me out of the thoughts in my brain that were stacking themselves on to each other. The insanity was definitely there at an early age.

What I would call normal childhood experiences continued as I got older, school, sports, friendships, girlfriends, hazing by other kids, hazing by teachers…life experiences…and with these…resentments…lowered self esteem.

I was always told to walk away from a fight, but when you’re young, this does’t help…and I would be left hating myself.

Now remember, I have a brain that’s in business for itself. I can’t control what it wants to think about. Add a resentment, some self hate, low self esteem to that brain that has a skipping record , and you start to become dark and depressed. At that time in the 1980’s, there were not a lot of outlets for me to talk about my feelings, so they were kept inside.

Now I’ve got all of this rattling around my brain with nowhere to go. I was given the gift of music lessons, and I dug in deep and would practice for hours, but when it came time to go to bed, I could not got to sleep, because my head was still going round and round.

If my parents would say, “Just stop thinking about it and go to sleep.”…well that’s the problem…I can’t stop thinking about it and I can’t stop feeling like this…I can’t just change or kick the record player and move past this…my brain is in business for itself…and if I close my eyes…it only gets louder…

I can’t sleep…
I hate those kids…
I can’t sleep…
I hate that teacher…
Why can’t I just sleep?
I’m not as good as the other kids at sports…
I can’t sleep…
I’m not as cool as the other kids…
Why can’t I just sleep?
That girl i like doesn’t like me…
Why I can’t I be as cool as the other kids?
I have to get up at 6am for school, but my head has kept me up all night…
Now I’m falling behind in school…bad grades…shame…guilt…
I’m not like my brothers…
I can’t sleep…
I don’t wanna be me…I wanna be something else…
But the me I’ve been is what everybody says I’m supposed to be….But that’s not who I am inside…
I feel bad for being what’s truly inside of me…

I’ll make it easy and just be way everyone else likes…my happiness isn’t important apparently.

I’m depressed….and my incredible fucking awesome brain…
that can’t let go of a feeling…no matter what I do…holds onto being depressed…

I’m empty…
The world is a dark place…
I’m too young to know anything in the real world…
But this is all I know…

I’ve had a silver platter given to me. I was given more than any child truly needs. We grew up in a golden golf club neighborhood. I had clothes, food, exotic family vacations, overly generous holidays….but it was never enough….not that I needed more…nothing could fix what was going on inside me…and although today, I am grateful for all that I had as a child that my parents worked incredibly hard for…it just wasn’t me inside…while most kids in the neighborhood went to the golf course …I went out the back door and wandered around the surrounding woods for hours…I was alone there…no one else…this feels good…no one else to bother me or hurt me.

But back to civilization…where the world creates joy and pain…I had a relationship…joy…it ended on her terms…pain.

I had felt some acceptance, comfort, what I thought was love…then gone.

My heart was broken, and now the darkness comes back in a way I have never felt.

My brain will not let go of the rejection, the resentment…
Round and round and round and round and round it goes in my head…
The record is skipping , the record is skipping, the record is skipping, the record is skipping, the record is skipping…

Nothing is good anymore…

What is wrong with you Ryan?
I’m tired…
I have no self esteem…
I hate everything…
I can’t relate to anyone…
I no longer believe this world is for me…
I’m scared of everything…

The record is skipping, the record is skipping, the record is skipping, the record is skipping, the record is skipping…
can anyone else hear my silent screams?
I don’t know how to help myself…
I don’t feel like anyone else knows how to help me…
I’m too young to truly understand life…
The record is skipping, The record is skipping, The record is skipping, the record is skipping…
I’m a bad kid…
I’m a burden to others…
The music isn’t working anymore…

I’m scared of everything…..and the record is skipping

Remember…I can’t change what I’m feeling or thinking even if I try…my Brain is in business for itself…

The record is skipping…

I hate everything…
I don’t belong…
This isn’t fair…I deserve to feel happy and joyful…but I can’t
My head won’t shut up…

I’m scared of everything…

everything that is….except…except…

Dying…

So at 14 years old, I started cutting myself…
I did not want to live anymore…
But I did not want to die either…mostly because I couldn’t do that to my parents.

It truly was not my parents fault that I was so depressed. They did all they knew how to do. They had been parents to my 3 older brothers, but this was their first time being parents to Ryan. There was no manual.

As angry as I had been with decisions they made and things that were said, it was all typical parenting, and actually great parenting as I have learned over the years just how lucky I am to have had them then and now.

Remember…I have a head that won’t keep quiet, won’t shut down, and I have no control over it.

My Parents were not responsible for this. I believe I was born with this condition.
I did not know it then what was going on with me, but I understand it now…I have better control over it these days because of recovery, but it does still show it’s ugly head on occasion and that’s why I stay practiced in my recovery.

The repetition of thought, the record skipping, the inability to change thoughts…
That is what I believe is “The Root Problem”.
That mixed with the anxiety, depression, the character defects and shortcomings it leaves me with the inability to let got of a resentment, fear, emotion or situation…depression.

My brain having this uncontrolled ability to be in business for itself…
That is “my alcoholism”…my brain behaving alcoholically…alcoholic behavior.
Not the drinking, drugging, sex, retail therapy, or gambling (I don’t personally like gambling though)

Those are the treatments…poor choice treatments.

It’s my head recycling thoughts without my permission that is my alcoholism.
I don’t know what yours is, but that’s mine. And it makes me very depressed when not addressed properly as you have read.

I think alcoholism is a misnomer for the root problem, but probably the best name since many choose to silence the monster with alcohol, but alcohol like cocaine (fuck ya) changes the way we feel in certain amounts, and we take drugs to change the way we feel, so therefore, alcohol to me is a drug.

I often refer to it as “Thinking Cancer”.
This is not meant to disrespect those with physical cancer.
Only to describe as my thinking or thoughts have become corrupt and I have to battle to get them healthy…and sometimes the battle is lost.

Back to the drama…

I can’t commit suicide because I can’t do that to my parents, but here I am 14-16 years old, and I’m very suicidal. I can’t go on living with the noise in my head, but I can’t make the final cut either.

Enter mari-fuckin-juana!!!!

I didn’t even know I was self medicating….all I knew was that I was feeling a lot better…and If I was high, I didn’t have to feel anything at all…and what did anybody else know….everybody just needed to be cool, mellow out, smoke some pot.

I was feeling better, I didn’t want to die anymore, and that’s all that mattered.
The drugs became suicide prevention and I didn’t even know it.

What I didn’t know was the noise would get louder….

To be continued….these days, I can generally sleep when I want to, and it’s time for a little shut eye.

YOU ARE LOVED!!!

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To contact Ryan, visit his Facebook page here