From a very young age I could always remember my parents being alcoholics and drug addicts. I remember being 3 years old running away from cops, and watching my parents fight, scream, and yell at each other. This caused me to have many problems through my life. At 3 years old I was diagnosed with PTSD. I remember being ripped from my dad’s arms, screaming and crying by what used to be called CPS, and being taken to a new home. I was scared and didn’t know what was going on. When I got to the  new house, there was an elderly woman and man standing in the house looking at us (me and my two younger brothers) confused. My youngest brother was only 18 months old, and my other brother was only a year older. Even though I was more nervous and shy,  I was the only one who could speak and have an understanding and memory of things. It makes sense now that I reflect on it.

My parents couldn’t stop doing drugs and couldn’t fight the temptations, so after many months of having visits with them while staying at the new house, and even visiting them in jail, we had a final visit just before my fourth birthday. I remember my mom couldn’t stop crying and being put in the car to go back to this new house. Little did I know that I was being adopted by a family far worse than my previous situation. It was hard adapting because I was mistreated and abused every day for little inconveniences and things that I had not learned being 4 years old and neglected in my previous home. I remember having my pants pulled down and my hands pushed against the wall and being repeatedly hit with the metal end of a large paintbrush for everything I did wrong. This happened for many years by my so- called “Mom”. I was never allowed to see my previous parents again, and eventually they were forced to leave the state of Arizona. My brothers had the same punishments. We were all abused every day and asked to do things that were impossible, especially for their age. We were all so scared. I began developing more problems with my mental health on top of my PTSD and trauma that I had from before. I became depressed and angry. My self-esteem has always been low because I was told that everything I did was wrong or not good enough. My punishments were always extreme, even when it wasn’t physical abuse. For example, I’d have my privileges restricted for months and sometimes a year. Other kids at that age only had restrictions for maybe a week or two at most. I felt helpless and useless, and after making an effort to show my dad after having an RC car broken over my back many times, with blood and cuts on my back, he did nothing, I became more depressed and sad and upset than I ever was. I never had any freedom, and I was in trouble for things such as not saying “I love you” every night, even after all the abuse.

As I grew older, my brothers and I began to recognize what was going on in the house. Being so young I had never thought they did anything wrong, almost as if it was right and that that’s what you were supposed to do as a parent and that’s what every parent did, but I discovered I was so wrong. After making and talking to friends about what their families were like, I learned that what my parents did was wrong and that I needed help. The only problem was that no one would ever believe us because we were just “young and troubled” from all the stuff that had happened to us. My brothers began to get in trouble in school, but I never did because I made a promise to myself that I would never be like them or like my previous parents,and that I wanted to be a good person. My brother started getting heavy into drugs in 6th grade after, all of the abuse and neglect became too much to handle. I stayed away from that stuff and refused to do any of it. It was hard, but I chose to try and be quiet and just do what I was told so that I wouldn’t get hurt. At the age of 12, my brother got into a fight with my Mom because she asked him to give her his skateboard. He said no and went outside in our driveway with it. My Mom flipped, and as I watched from the window, she started reaching and trying to grab the skateboard. He held it out away from her just out of reach so that she couldn’t get to it. My brother was standing still, asking why she wanted it or needed it; not that my brother had done anything wrong or deserved for it to be taken away.    When she had enough, she began punching him and hitting him in the face over and over again. In self-defense he pushed her away, and my “Mom” being 60 at the time, fell backwards, collapsed, and hit her head and elbow on the ground. Her phone fell onto the cement next to her. What ignited a fire in me was when she instead of being sad or angry, she instead picked up her phone, sat up, and said “Just what I was waiting for”. She called the cops on my brother. At that moment I knew there was something wrong with her and that I needed to do something about it. I called an adult friend being 12 years old and asked what I should do. He insisted I stand up for my brother when the police arroved and that I should tell them what happened. In total, 6 police cars and 2 ambulances showed up, which I only guessed meant she made it sound like a big deal. When they arrived, and she was whailing and crying and faking what was going on, blaming my brother for everything. She told them that he had grabbed her and threw her against the garage, and claimed that she was the victim. When I went outside and tried to be brave and explain what had happened, they yelled at me. I remember one cop telling me it was my fault, and that I’m a bad role model to my brother, even though I had always been the good one who remained quiet and silent to avoid getting into trouble. That night my brother was taken to jail, and my parents both came in yelling and screaming at me, and my dad saying, “way to stick up for your mom Robert”. I was angry, scared, and very upset. I didn’t know what to do, but from that day on my Mom made it her mission to call the police on me and my brother for arguments or whatever she could dig up on us. My little brother was always silent. He played the middle-man and never said a word in order to spare himself. Soon I began to have huge arguments with my parents. and they began calling the police on me every single time. She would purposely and intently start arguments and make up lies to get me in trouble. She succeeded many times, because of the same cop would show up every time and tell me I was no good, and that I was bad and horrible for what I did (standing up for my brother). I was put on diversion and then probation and began running away and telling everyone I didn’t want to live there anymore because of how horrible it was. I never turned to drugs, but I feel like it started eating every single piece of me, and I was doing nothing to cope with it. Freshman year of high school came and I was so hurt. My only get away was school. I worked hard and dedicated myself to my education because I felt it was the only way I could be successful. I worried about myself and not anyone else, so that I could get things done and live the life I wanted to live. I fell in love that year and it really took a lot off my plate. I began to make my goal of reaching 18 so that I could get out of there, be with my girlfriend, and my freedom. The Juice music was the only thing I could relate to, and I felt so much appreciation for it. His music helped numb the pain of going through all of these struggles by myself. I remember being so sad when he passed. He Tweeted “This life is yours do what tf you want do great things and change the world don’t let no one tell you s*** and you’ll be bigger than Juice WRLD will ever be”. He tweeted that on my 15th birthday when I was all alone. I remember being so happy and having that support. He died 7 days later, and I felt I had my support ripped from my hands and heart. I began to fall into a depressing state again and I still feel this way. I’m graduating high school in just less than two weeks, and 18 is only 6 months away, so and I’m still trying to cling on to something. I don’t know what to do anymore and I guess that’s why I’ve found myself here writing this out to anyone who cares, and to anyone who can help, because I desperately need it. Thanks for listening.

-Robert