Robert: My Story

A path can be a place where you are geographically oriented; it can also be a place where you become more oriented to mental health. Learning why you made certain choices in the past can help you understand the choices you make in the present and how you can steer your path for optimal mental health.

Choice #1
When my father left my family for the first time I was 4 years old. He sat me down and told me I was the man of the house now. I made the choice to accept that burden. Soon after Dad left, Mom sent us kids off to live with her parents. We hated it at the time, but it provided a safe and stable environment for us. That is while we were at home.

Choice #2
Due to an abusive teacher I chose to skip school twice in second grade because I was afraid of him.  The teacher was not the only one I had to fear. I was also chased home regularly by different gangs.

Choice #3
was not my choice but instead a choice made by public officials. During a neighborhood house fire the smoldering tenant’s body was pulled out into the street and hosed down in front of all us kids. A second such occurrence happened in the E.R. I was waiting on a gurney and a dead classmate was wheeled in and put next to me. He had been killed by a car and the hospital folks brought his parents in to ID the body in front of me.

Choice #4
was also not mine to make. My mother allowed my father to return to the home. Very soon it returned to severe beatings and my having to witness my sister’s rape by him.

Because of all this past baggage I was never sure which path to follow. There were many paths that could have been very bad. With help I have been able to respect my past but not allow it to control my present.