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MY STRUGGLE WITH MENTAL HEALTH – PART 2

THE MAJOR INCIDENT

First and foremost, I would like to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all the messages of support I received after releasing the first Mental Health blog post a few weeks back. I was hoping for a reaction. But could have never imagined the major support and feedback I had received. I was skeptical about releasing such personal and sensitive information, however your support has confirmed my belief that it is the right thing to do. That it can help with my own development and journey, while at the same time perhaps give others the courage to take on their own journey. So, really and truly, thank you.

Now, previously I had discussed with you the fact that my childhood was no fun at all. That it was filled with uncertainty, problems at home and a constant state of fear and anxiety. I attribute these days as the early beginnings of my struggle with mental health. However, there was one particular incident that when I think back really was the turning point in my life. A moment that would change my life forever.

Looking back with clarity, it was clearly the trigger point for my mental struggles to come. And it was a specific incident that I will never ever forget. Even now, 30 odd years later I can remember it as clearly as if it were yesterday.

It was a sunny Saturday afternoon in the suburb of Five Dock, Sydney Australia. My mother wanted to visit the local social club as she often liked to do and as always asked me to walk her there. Of course I said no problem. I was a good boy you know. It was about a ten minute walk away and I was fourteen years old at the time. I remember it was a really hot day too, as I had forgotten my sunglasses at home and the sun was just pelting down on my face. It was really uncomfortable. I walked Mum to her event, and turned to walk back home.

I was away for a total of twenty minutes maximum. Upon my return home I noticed that the glass of our front door was broken. With bits all over the front porch. I was young, and didn’t know what to make of it. The reality of the situation hit me like a brick to the face though once I put the key in the lock, turned it and opened the front door. There stood a man, at the other end of the hallway, staring me down with our VCR * in his hand. It could have very well been a scene from one of those old Western movies where the two cowboys are standing at opposite ends of the town waiting to quick draw. I was absolutely terrified.

* for you youngsters, this is a VCR or Video Cassette Recorder. It was the medium of choice for video watching prior to DVD’s and the Internet. 

For a moment I froze on the spot. I could see in his eyes that he was in a state of panic also. I’ll never forget those eyes. He was like a cornered animal and I could see he was willing to do anything to get himself out of the situation. A couple of times he told me to remain calm, but that just made things worse.

Ultimately my fight or flight response kicked in and I charged at him. A scuffle ensued. Punches were thrown, I remember having bruising to my ribs and the side of my face afterwards, but I gave back as good as I got. Even though I was pretty big for my age, it wasn’t long before he overpowered me and made his escape. I was fourteen, and even though I had already had many bad days in my life, this was without doubt the worst. My life would never be the same again after that.

I remember the state of panic that quickly followed. I was alone. What should I do? Who should I call? It felt like I had a knot in my stomach the size of a cannonball. But I did not cry. I called the social club where my mother was so she would come home immediately. Then I called the police. I was in a total state of shock. Sick to my stomach. I could hardly speak. The police arrived about an hour later. I tried to give them the best description of the perpetrator as I could, but it was all a bit blurry.

They asked me if I needed medical assistance, but I did not want it. Physically I was ok. Mentally, I was in serious trouble. For the next three weeks I hardly slept a wink. This incessant fear that the same guy was going to come back again was constantly with me. And it would remain for several years after that. For weeks I could hardly speak, each time I tried to talk, I thought I would vomit. I put on a brave face, and tried not to express the anguish I was suffering. I thought I needed to be strong and show no fear. Thinking back, this was absolutely the wrong thing to do. I wish I had proper guidance back then, but unfortunately I did not. So eventually it blew over. Or so I thought. Later down the line it would come back to haunt me.

Some fifteen plus years later, around the age of thirty, I was diagnosed with PTSD.

To be continued…

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Discussion

  1. Abraham

    I understand the trauma such an experience leaves on you. I was held up at gun point by 5 armed men in broad daylight. All because I was a passenger in a security services car.
    I’m 6’4, sitting in the back of a tiny Citroen Saxo which is already a task to fit in let alone getting dragged out while a gun is pointed at my temple.
    The next 3 months all I could think of was to arm myself with a firearm as I was convinced the robbers knew me personally.
    To top it off it was 09.30am, right in front of Vivaldi hotel in Paceville and I could see people having breakfast not giving a crap of what was going on!

    1. davidoziborg

      That is a harrowing story you tell. I am sorry you had to go through that. It is the kind of thing that will probably never leave you, but I truly hope you manage to have a good quality of life these days….

  2. Sarah

    Thank you once again for sharing with us. I look forward to reading and understanding more.

    What you’re doing here is of big, big value.

    1. davidoziborg

      Thank you Sarah. Your comments are greatly appreciated.

  3. Jamie Mercieca

    Thank you!

    1. davidoziborg

      My Pleasure…

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