As I was reading the text regarding adolescent problems and disorders, it brought back to memory many of the issues that I dealt with at the age of 16.
Between my sophomore and junior years, I celebrated my sixteenth birthday. This celebration brought about a total change in not only my attitude but also my personality.
The entire year before, I was a fairly soft-spoken, kind individual, who allowed everyone to walk all over me. I was doing what I thought I was supposed to be doing as a Christian and witnessing to everyone I knew and met. Then all of a sudden, it was like night and day, I snapped.
I was a different person, becoming very bitter and angry; I hated everyone and didn’t care about anything. My worst enemies were my parents. I was internalizing many of my problems and the remaining issues I had were being externalized.
Everyday was a challenge for me to get up and attend school. I was always being bombarded with questions like, “Michael? Are you okay?” Or “Is everything alright, Michael?” I hated being given what I deemed as the third degree and would then go off and tell everyone, “Fuck you! You don’t give a shit about me! You never have before, so why are you starting to act like you are now? So fuck off!”
As the weeks progressed, it seemed that life was getting worse. I was listening to the “nasty” rap, the beginnings of the parental guidance labels of music, all the time. One day while I had been listening to this music, one of my friends, who happened to become a Christian over the summer, picked up my headphones and started a listen to the music I had been listening to. He was appalled, and at that time I didn’t care. He responded to me, “Michael, you shouldn’t be listening to that. I thought you were a Christian? What is up man?” I turned to him and said, “It’s none of your fucking business what I listen to and what is going on with me. Leave my shit alone and don’t bother me anymore.”
Looking back on this period of my life, and these situations, I can easily say that I was suffering from major depressive disorder. I was depressed about everything most of the time; I had no interest in anything, except my music; I always felt worthless; I constantly had problems concentrating and thinking; and was constantly thinking of suicide and that I would be better off dead than to live the hell I was living. More often than not, if it wasn’t suicide that I was thinking of, it was running away. I just didn’t want to be me anymore and didn’t want to be around anyone that I knew any longer.
Within a few months, I had begun smoking, drinking and doing drugs. Not only was I abusing my body with drugs, but I was also being sexually active as often as I possibly could. I would do everything I could to find someone to have sex with and didn’t care about it. At that time, I thought that sex was definitely better than what life was treating me. Because of the constant depression and drug abuse, I was also having school-related problems; ditching classes on an average of three times a week, late to many of my classes, and poor grades. Then, there was also the deviance of exhibitionism, that at that age I found very thrilling. I only had this behavioral problem with certain people that I found attractive and wanted to have sexual relations with.
I realize now that much of what I was dealing with was related with my sexuality and the fact that being gay at the time was not acceptable along with the fact that my first boyfriend and his family had moved to the same school district that I attended. The fear of being outed at that time was constantly hanging over my head.
Had I realized then, what I know now, I would have started seeing my high school and peer counselor’s long before I had. These two people were very good to help me with all that I was dealing with. I just wish that I would have sought them out sooner.