Erik's Column

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Erik’s Corner

Robert was chosen as a candidate for this interview, because of his incredible resilience, and dedication to recovery from mental illness. Hopefully, his journey will be an inspiration to others dealing with mental health issues. The interview was tape recorded and then transcribed to paper. What follows is a brief synopsis of the actual interview, which took place on July 27th, 2008:

Robert comes from a large family of ten kids, with five brothers, and four sisters. Both his parents had problems with alcohol. At age five Robert’s father assaulted him in a drunken rage and broke his jaw. This incident was the reason Robert was taken away from his family and placed in foster care. Robert started abusing alcohol and illicit drugs at age twelve. He was kicked out of high school in the ninth grade, but managed to get his GED while living in Virginia, the same year he would have graduated high school. He attempted suicide in 1991. For the next twelve years he worked on and off as a nurse’s aid. In 1998 he assaulted a police officer which led to some serious charges. He was charged with assault with a deadly weapon. In a separate incident he was charged with unarmed robbery. This led to a year in jail at Billerica House of Correction, and subsequently a year at Westboro State Hospital. In 2001 he interviewed with Advocates and then returned to the community. While he lived with Advocates he also attended Gibbs College and earned an Associates Degree in Business Management. He went to Cambridge College part-time working on a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. His psychiatrist prescribed a myriad of different psychotropic medicines, and even shock treatments in 2003. He stopped using alcohol and eventually his prescribed medicine. He worked for hospitals for 8-9 months. His formal diagnosis was major depression with P.T.S.D and homicidal and suicidal tendencies. He also has a dual-diagnosis because of alcohol and drug addiction. He describes himself as an isolated person because he likes to be alone a lot. He is involved in both AA and NA. He now works full time for hotels and no longer needs SSI or SSDI. Now, he is completely free of psychiatric medication and lives in supported housing run by Advocates. Robert thanks Advocates for helping him become stabilized and reach his full potential.

Click here for the Interview (PDF)
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