I’m Nicholas Hundley, a nutritionist and a biochemist. I help people with problems like depression, anxiety, autism, ADD, etc. My focus is on improving brain health for a happy mood and optimal mental function. In this video I’ll tell you my personal story of anxiety, depression, and attention problems, and how I overcame it.
In grade school, I was a super shy and timid kid. I also didn’t do math very quickly. I remember my intense embarrassment when my teacher required my mother come to my class to “help me” with my homework. Throughout my childhood and teen years, I would experience intermittent brain fog and fatigue. Looking back, I strongly believe I must have had a mild learning disability that went undiagnosed.
When I hit my teenage years, I developed extreme social anxiety and depression. Just saying anything to my peers (or anyone for that matter) was almost impossible, let alone carrying on a conversation. In fact, looking back not only did I have issues with *fear* of talking, but I couldn’t even pay attention enough to follow a conversation. My *attention* abilities were lacking.
I still remember the dread I felt about walking into the lunchroom at school. Going home for lunch was much less stressful, so I often did that (while kicking myself for not sitting next to that cute girl who always ate alone). I wanted connection so badly but I couldn’t seem to get myself to open my mouth.
In high school, my friends set me up on a blind date. I was so excited I had a date, because I sure wouldn’t have been able to make that happen on my own. Unfortunately, for all intents and purposes I completely ignored her the whole time. I still remember her sobbing in the corner with her friends gathered around her to console her. Poor girl. She thought I didn’t like her. Little did she know I was completely mortified and vapor locked while trying to maintain stoic calm so as not to betray my inner turmoil. I had no idea what to say to a girl. Am I crazy for recording this for all the world to see? Oh well. Let’s keep going.
Because of my social difficulties, I feared I was just a loser and there was nothing I could do about it.
Let me be really raw here. Sometimes I woud sit in my living room just *thinking* about going over to my old friend’s house next door or across the street, but I was completely unable to bring up the courage. Now, these were nice, good kids I had grown up with from childhood. It seems stupid to say it. Why was I so afraid? I felt so awkward I thought I was broken. I couldn’t understand why I felt so different from others, so separated, and in such pain.
But that wasn’t the worst of it. Unfortunately I was among the ever-growing number of kids with deep depression…to the point of contemplating suicide. Luckily, I never actually attempted it, but I often thought it was the only way out. I understand what it’s like to hurt so badly you’ll do anything to stop the pain.
At one point I remember hitting “rock bottom”. I was crying in my bed, feeling so much emotional pain that I prayed, telling God that if he got me out of this horrible place, I’d lead others out as well. And to this day, it’s the memory of that excruciating pain as a child and teenager that propels me to get people’s brains healthy so they don’t have to suffer what I did!
Despite my prayer, transformation didn’t happen overnight. In fact, for about a decade and a half, I coasted along, gradually collecting what I call “coping strategies” that allowed me to function minimally, but I certainly didn’t thrive. I did really really well in school, though, getting a graduate degree in biochemistry.
In my late twenties I had what I now call my second rock bottom experience. I was under constant stress and anxiety, my relationships weren’t working, and for the life of me I couldn’t get my career off the ground. I was working hard, doing everything I thought I should do to be successful, but it felt like I was drowning in molasses.
Contemplating my struggles as I watched my oldest son ride the bus to elementary school, I realized that my failure wasn’t just in my career. I was also not able to provide my son with the emotional strength he needed. I had a profound “aha” moment. I realized that my emotions were at the core of my life’s problems. Simply “trying harder” or “working harder” or “being patient” or “learning new skills” wasn’t going to change anything. I realized I had to face the hard truth that I needed to fix my own head. Whatever was wrong with my life, its root was between my ears and THAT is what I needed to focus on. So from that moment I decided to stop flailing around blindly in life and I dedicated as much time as I possibly could to simply figuring myself out.
The process of figuring myself out was a long one, but IT WORKED. It took some time, but I figured out what had been plaguing me my whole life and I turned it around. Now, ten years later, I’m incredibly happy, motivated, clear-headed, successful, talkative and able to hold and follow conversations… I’m even able to get in front of large groups of people or a camera and feel excited about it!