Person First Project is a photo blog that seeks to give those currently or formerly experiencing homelessness in D.C. the chance to share their stories. In doing this, we hope to reduce the barriers that separate people in D.C. and spark a dialogue. The Person First Project aims to connect us – and to make us all feel a bit more human.
“My father raised me my whole life. He was a very smart man and very responsible, he just had a bad drinking problem. It’s what got him sick and broke down his immune system. He had sepsis. It’s an inner infection – it starts in your bloodstream and starts killing your nerve endings in your limbs, it starts deteriorating your inner organs… the first time, he was in a coma for about three months. When he woke up he could only lift one finger.
My father passed away when I was twenty-nine. He was fifty-three. We were best friends. It was pretty hard to make the decision I did, giving the doctor permission to take the respirator out of his mouth. That kinda hurt.
I like cooking, man. My ex fiancé, she would see commercials for Applebee’s or something and want to go out to eat. I’d say, ‘Tell me what you like, anything you see, I can cook it.’
I kept going into deep depressions after my father’s death and she wasn’t supportive. My drinking went from a couple beers with dinner to getting a fifth every other day. She gave me a choice. She said, ‘Either it’s the bottle or it’s me.’ It didn’t help when I asked her, ‘Don’t the bills get paid? I’m functional.’ But I guess she got tired of it. I think it was the drinking, but that’s just my guess. I just lost my mental stability after my father died and then I lost her. She changed her Facebook, her e-mail address. It messed me up. We were together for eight and a half years before we got engaged.
My depression and anxiety’s been bad lately. I’ve been up all night walking, just walking, walking, walking. My anxiety attacks will sometimes have me stuck. It’ll be like a hole in the top of my head and I’ll look around all lost, and sometimes it’s a lot of racing thoughts. It’s crazy.
[Right now], I’m staying at Central Union Mission. I need counseling. I dwell on the past too much– it holds me back.”
Author’s Note: We met Nick on North Capitol Street, Northeast. He is currently experiencing homelessness.