For my second interview, I had the amazing opportunity of interviewing Byron, one of our speakers at One Heart One Soul. Byron, like many other individuals, had a fairly stable home life before his season of homelessness. He had a wife, children, and a job in insurance. But sometimes life just happens to you.
Unbeknownst to Byron, he was suffering from anxiety, depression, and PTSD. His job, along with several other personal issues factored into his anxiety and depression. He was not happy or healthy within his insurance job. Thus he decided to pursue another method of income. Byron invested in a company after leaving his job. At the same time, he had also been handling his divorce. Now without his home, job or a person to financially support him, Byron turned to family. He first stayed with his sister, though she was adamant that he should find a job. But Byron was determined that his investment would be successful, that he would not have to go back to suffering the way he was. She didn’t understand, and it wasn’t long until he found himself back on the streets. Byron then moved to Kansa City, where he would live with his other sister for three months. After leaving his sister’s house, Byron came back to Chicago, but he had nowhere to go. He was back on the streets from there, with no choice but to sleep on trains and work under the table. It wasn’t until July of 2018 that he would get his own apartment.
Within his struggles to survive, Byron found his own methods of coping. What helped him the most was meditation. He read two books that would forever change his view on life. They were “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success” by Deepak Chopra, and “the Fifth Agreement” by Don Jose Ruiz, Don Miguel Ruiz, and Janet Mills. At the start, he struggled with his meditation, but now he does it up to three hours per day. In addition to meditation, another coping mechanism for Byron was acting. Of the many things that we talked about, nothing lit up his face quite like talking about his passion for acting. His goals are to become an actor in television shows. These days, Byron is in the works of collaborating to create a documentary that takes place in Chicago.
After interviewing Byron, I find myself wondering about just how many homeless individuals had stable lives, how old they were, whether they had family to turn to, or if they struggled with their mental health. After all, according to Byron, “It’s all about seasons, but as long as you keep fighting you never know what might happen.”