William G

Hey, my name is William Griffin, and I suffer from depression, anxiety, and Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a form of autism.
I was born and raised in Georgia. I was a pretty quiet kid growing up, I never did anything bad and I always listened to my Mom. When I was around 2, my biological father stepped out of my life and my mother met my previous step-father. As I was entering the first grade, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s. It’s a mild case, but that didn’t prevent doctors and teachers from telling my Mom hurtful things like “your son won’t graduate, have any friends, or live a normal life”. I went to special one on one classes for the next 6 years which led to some kids bullying me. Luckily, I had my Mother and my best friend at the time to help push me through it. In seventh grade I was able to get out of the one on one classes.
Around the same time, the relationship between my step-father and I became extremely toxic. He told me to never talk about my feelings and bury them deep inside, and so I did. I never told anyone about the sadness or anger I was feeling. I mastered the art of keeping a smile on my face. Around my sophomore year of high school, I rediscovered some of the old bands I used to listen to, like Slipknot and Korn, which helped me channel these emotions.
Fast forward to my graduation… Despite the doctors and teachers telling me I would not graduate or be successful, I proved them wrong and graduated. I never failed a class. That was a very proud day for me, but my life would soon be flipped around. My step father became very emotionally abusive. My family and I did not know what I was going to do with my life.
I decided to go with my original plan, which was to join the United States Air Force. Through this, I would be able to take care of my soon-to-be divorced mother, get a good education, fight for my country, and be successful like the teachers and doctors told me I couldn’t be. I left for basic training on June 4th, 2016 and was home August 4th of that same year. I was sent home because of some hearing loss I had in my left ear. I was able to pass every test, every physical evaluation, but not a stupid hearing test.
After I got home, I was able to get a job through a friend and fell into the deepest depression I’ve ever experienced. I felt so humiliated and ashamed. I know it’s something I couldn’t control, but my plans of being successful and helping my mother seemed to have disappeared and for some time I thought the doctors and teachers were right.
With the help of music, both playing and listening, I realized there’s so much more to life. I realized it’s ok to be sad and down, but you must hang on to hope and that hope is always there no matter what. I realized that the things I went through are the things I can now fight for, Autism Awareness, depression, etc. I know I’m only 21, but I also know I’ve experienced a lot, good and bad. I know some of the bad things have knocked me down, but I’m still in this fight with life and I don’t plan on leaving the ring. I want to be able to show others that it can be done.
For those who have read all of this, thank you so much for taking the time to read this and any of the other stories on this website that support an amazing cause. Don’t ever think that your actions define you or make you who you are. I used to hold every mistake I made over my head until I realized I am human, I am worth an “I Love You”, and I will make mistakes. I must learn from my mistakes. Don’t ever feel like you can’t cry for help, even if you think someone won’t listen. Whether you are depressed, anxious, or having troubles with your sexuality, someone will ALWAYS listen. I know for a fact that I will listen.
Last but not least, don’t ever lose sight of H.O.P.E. – “Hold On Pain Ends”!!!

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