Hi My Name is Justin
I thought I'd take a minute to share my story with you all, as well as post a little introductory video: (the video is really more for identity verification, if not interested you can skip to the article below.)
My name is Justin Baker and I am 19 years old living in Montgomery, Texas.
First, I'll start off with the disclaimer that my intent in sharing my story is to tell all of you that anything can be overcome and is not to feel sorry for myself because I don't believe in that! So here goes!
Growing up, I never really fit in with the rest of the kids. I had a pretty moderate speech impediment which made it difficult for me to make friends as well as made me quite an easy target for bullying. Although from an early age, I showed a great interest in art and literature. While the other kids were out playing at recess, I was probably reading a book or writing a little comic book.
I quickly fell in love with storytelling. I would spend hours on in writing comics, making up superheroes, as well as writing intricate backstories for them. My love for art started to slowly bring me out of my shell. By the time I was 12, I had learned to play the guitar and I found my confidence had grew enough to enter the school talent show. Here's a clip: (Don't judge our singing and the guitar, we were only 13 ;))
That was the day I truly fell in love with performing. I joined my junior high's theatre program and quickly decided that I had found my place in life. When I joined the program, I also met my best friend, Michael, whom I've shared many adventures with I'm sure will be featured on this blog.
Slowly but surely I got to High School which was an exponentially better experience than Junior High. I auditioned for the Montgomery High School "Theatre Productions" team which welcomed me with open arms. Then my sophomore year, my theatre group was invited to perform our play "Rabbit Hole" at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the largest performing arts festival in the world! (shootout to anyone from Scotland or that's performed at the festival.)
That trip completely changed my life, as well as made me realize that I wanted to be an Actor and Filmmaker as a career.
Although my love for literature and art had gotten me out of my shell, like many teens when I was around 16, I had my first anxiety attack. I remember it like it happened yesterday. Then two days later, I had another attack right before a speech and then the attacks starting happening daily. Every morning I would wake up feeling as if i were unable to breathe and that I was going to throw up.
I became somewhat Agoraphobic for the next couple months, having a vomit-inducing anxiety attack almost every time I left my house. There was even an entire week that I missed school because my anxiety had gotten to the point to where I would throw up anytime I got on the school bus, so I just decided to skip. Of course, I wanted to keep all this hidden from my family. This was because like a lot of parents, they didn't believe in mental health issues, and would never allow me to take an anti-deppresant. So I basically suppressed all my feelings and didn't talk to anyone about it until the attacks started going away (of course they didn't go away permanently, but more on that later).
Then my whole life changed when I met Lorissa. I was working as a host at a little Italian restaurant when she walked in and introduced herself as a new cashier. Not to sound corny, but it really was like love at first sight. She was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen with her vibrant red hair and blue eyes. Although up until that point in my life, I had never really had a serious girlfriend so I was super awkward but for some reason she liked that and we started to date. So far, we've had such an amazing and healthy relationship, and at the time of me writing this, our 2 year anniversary is in just a couple weeks! It really is true what they say: surround yourself with people you love and that care about you, and it really will make a difference in your life. We've certainly made a difference in each others.
Although just like any other time, you deal with a mental health issue improperly, after I graduated High School my anxiety returned with a vengeance. Although this time it was much easier to cope with because I signed myself up for therapy to deal with my issues, I started taking an SSRI called "Sertraline" which has helped me immensely, as well as having Lorissa in my life to be my rock. Things have gotten so much better now (I'll make an entire post just about my experience with anxiety later).
So since high school I've been working on getting my Bachelor of Arts in Film, as well as working full time at Starbucks, which has been an absolutely amazing experience and is probably the best company I've ever worked for.
And that leads us to right now! In my life, if there's anything I've learned it's that happiness is a choice that you have to make everyday, even though sometimes it may be hard, it'll be worth it when you look back.
So that's about it! I'm excited to be a part of such an awesome community as being a part of such an awesome opportunity that is Steemit.