This story was submitted to us by Griffen Harbolt, an #actuallyautistic young man who wants to share his journey of finding his truth.

Hello There,

As the year 2019 moves forward, there are things that I am looking forward to, such as finishing the spring semester; Transferring to SMU; Pursuing a bachelor’s and Master’s in Sports Performance Leadership; Finding out if Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine will be in Avengers Endgame; possibly dating in the future, and so much more. Although those are some of the things that I am looking forward to, it’s been difficult to keep my head up for the future.

I’ve often have doubts if I will ever achieve my goals. Doubts that I am worth anything to anyone.

Doubts that I will ever be a father and a husband. However, despite these doubts, I am doing my best to overcome these doubts, and the challenges that I am facing. To whom is reading this, I hope that my story inspires or helps you in any way.

Despite any obstacles that you are facing, just know that you are always needed, wanted, valued, and loved, and that you will overcome these obstacles.

Here is my story of the struggles I’ve been through in the past, and my hopes for the future.

In order to have a grasp of what I’ve been through and going through, I want to let you know who I am. My name is Griffen Harbolt, and I have autism, but more particularly, Aspergers. For those reading, and are sure what Aspergers mean, it means that I am high-functioning on the Autism spectrum, or in other words I require less assistance. I still struggle reading human expression and emoting, and I pace from time to time. My favorite interests/hobbies are comic books; running; basketball; listening to music (often Alternative Rock); listening to podcasts; helping others, blogging; and last but not least, football. I LOVE THE GAME OF FOOTBALL! I’ve been involved in football since 6th grade. From flag football, to high school football and filming, to the present, in which now I watch football games, study the game through film, and even working on my own playbook and play-calling. For example, “Gun Right Out Split Z Slot H-D Rocket 90 Screen Rt.” I love this game.

However, there is something that’s hindering me from reaching my goal. Something that I have been struggling with for the past couple of years is my depression. I have been diagnosed with Clinical Depression since I was 17 years old (I was also Diagnosed With Asperger at the age of 8). This was something that I wasn’t prepared for, and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to tell my friends. I was preparing to tell some of my friends that I have Aspergers, but then I felt discouraged as soon as I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression.

When I was diagnosed, at first I was only seeing a therapist. The therapy sessions helped me tremendously as I finished my junior and senior year of high school (11th and 12th grade). Things were looking up. I was going to Texas Lutheran University for the fall of 2016, and I discovered my call of being an ordained pastor, as I finished my summer job at Lutherhill Ministries. I then finished my freshman year at TLU, and my second summer job at Lutherhill. However, as I finished my summer job, I had to make an unfortunate decision of not going back due to affordability, which lead to a shift in my life.

Shortly in the fall of 2017, I was feeling disconnected from others. I wasn’t enrolled in school at that time; I was having a difficulty staying connected with the friendships I’ve made at TLU and Lutherhill; As well as struggling to find work to cover expenses that I needed to pay for. These situations eventually brought back my depression, and it only got worse from there.

Eventually got to a point where I needed to get help, and I eventually committed to the Harris County Psychiatric Hospital. I spent five days there, in which I not only was fighting my depression, but I was also finding ways to remind myself that I am worth something. Not only to myself, but to the friends that I have, and family as well. 

It’s been a year since I committed to the hospital, and I’ve gotten better since then. However, despite seeing a new therapist, a psychiatrist, and taking medication, I am still fighting my depression. It’s going to be an everyday battle, and it will probably always be.

There are times where my depression is going to tell me that I won’t reach my goals; that no one wants to get to know me; that no one will love me for who I am, and that I am not worth anything.

However, as my therapist and my parents have consistently asked me, “What is the truth?’ Well, the truth is that the things in my mind are not true. I will eventually reach my goal of becoming a head coach of a collegiate or pro football team; that I will eventually obtain my degree’s for both coaching and pastoral-ship; That people do want to get to know me; that someone will love me for who I am; that I’ll be her partner one day; and that I am worth something.

I need to remind myself that I am not defined by what I do.
I need to remind myself that I can’t tie my entire self-worth into one thing.
I have hope that things will get better.

It just takes time and hard work. I hope that my story helped you in anyway. Thank you for reading, and know that you are always needed, wanted, valued, and loved.

Thank you Again,

Griffen Harbolt

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