I was born in Laguna Beach and now live in Seattle. Although I've struggled with mental illness and depression almost all my life, until very recently I never saw it for the crippling problem it was. I'd been conditioned to believe my trauma wasn't an issue and my only problem was my bad attitude. I was called lazy.
Believing that I was just a bad seed, I thought I was fated to a life of substance abuse, lost jobs, homelessness and jail. It didn't occur to me that my unresolved trauma from 1980 was still affecting me, that I was still deeply wounded by an event I'd tried desperately to forget and the plain refusal of anybody to help me.
In 2010 I began to explore the community of male survivors of sexual abuse and realized that I was not alone in my dysfunction. There were hundreds like me out there, experiencing the same tumult and trouble. But still, mine was a very private recovery. One that I did not discuss. Then on my last visit to Laguna all the bad feelings I'd spent a lifetime trying to escape from came flooding back to me. All at once I felt rage and shame and frustration and hurt and confusion and jealousy and betrayal. Finally I just went numb.
That's when I decided the silence had to stop. I'd never be free of these demons unless I spoke my truth.
At the time I had at last accepted treatment for my mood disorders. After 35 years of crippling depression I was able to experience what a normal brain feels like. I'd never been able to hold down a job or make friends or participate in life's little basics. With a clear mind I could finally focus. I wrote Song of Highway 1 South, my first memoir, in six months. I am now working on my second book, The Arcata Confidential.