Anxiety and Substance Abuse

There’s a relationship between the two?  Really?  You think?  It is a good thing that they’re studying all of this, I guess, but isn’t it common sense?  That forever and ever, people have used something to help them relax and feel comfortable around others?  Anyway, there is a new study and here is the link to the news show on CTV that I watched.

http://healthblog.ctv.ca/post/Anxiety-and-substance-abuse-are-a-risky-mix.aspx

I know that Ryan was a socially anxious person.  He was the awkward, angry teen and so very shy and uncomfortable around the opposite sex.  He had crushes on girls and told me about a couple of them, even asking my opinions and advice.  He seemed to like girls that didn’t like him back in that way or were not interested and saw him as more of a “friend”. 

When he became a teen, he was also very self conscious about his appearance and stopped wearing shorts and going to the beach.  He always wore a hat and even went through a period where he wore a jacket all the time, even on hot summer days.

It always leads me to wonder if he started using drugs some time during this teen period, throughout his High School years because by the end of school, he seemed to change and be more comfortable with himself.  I attributed this to working, having friends and feeling more a part of the world.  After all, High School is a hell of a time for all of us.  Having, watched my other three sons grow and enter their teen years, I definitely see a difference in their behaviours and Ryan’s.  Ben is a lot like Ryan in that he is the shy one, but so far, he is generally happy and content and aware of his shyness and trying to make advances in that area. 

Ryan was my first child and actually like an only child for the first seven years of his life, so I never had anyone to compare his behaviours with until now.  I watch the younger three teen-aged boys, finding it fascinating.  I can see how different Ryan really was.  However, it is still puzzling to me because Ryan never went to any parties that I know of during the school years and other parents told me how lucky I was that my son didn’t “hang out”.  He was always home, in the bush, or working.  His buddies were all non-drinkers (the ones that I knew about).

He was a late bloomer in that way.  It wasn’t until he started working that he started hanging out with friends at parties.  He moved out on his own too early as well.  He was still only 18, I believe, when he moved into his own apartment.  He was still a kid, working and living in the big ol’ adult world where a man has to be a man.  That couldn’t have been easy.  He was so easily influenced by people that he wanted to be friends with.

Ryan was probably like Amy Winehouse in some ways.  He was a talented musician but had anxiety and social challenges.  His legacy, however, to us, is the note that he left behind stating that he wanted the world to know how bad drugs are.  That has been left to me to do.

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