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From Tragedy To Triumph: An Interview With Author Patrice M. Foster

The Journey Home, Memoir By Patrice M. Foster

Like most people, I have always been a fan of stories where the protagonist turns tragedy into personal triumph. It is through these stories that we are reminded that with perseverance and faith we can succeed over any number of hardships we may face. Jamaica-native, Patrice M. Foster, has captured one of these powerful stories in her latest book, The Journey Home.

For Patrice, as she prefers to be called, this book is more than just a story.   The Journey Home is her personal memoir. In the introduction of her book, Patrice gives the reader insight into the dramatic life experiences that took her to an emotional trough. She writes that by the time she graduated high school, she had been abandoned by both parents, molested by a preacher, gang-raped, arrested for drug distribution, and she had endured prostitution in order to feed herself and her sister. To add to her life’s tragedies, Patrice also had to maneuver through these difficulties while dealing with depression.

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to interview with Ms. Foster about some of the experiences she shares in her book. In her own words, Patrice states, “it takes a gutsy woman to make it through abusive relationships and experiences.” After conversing with this talented, resilient woman, I knew she was definitely “gutsy.” Her book was truly a great read, and it can be found on her website . It was very exciting and encouraging to get inside the mind of this talented author. Check out our Question and Answer session below. What made you decide to finally write your story?

Patrice M. Foster : I actually started many years ago. It was my journal. When I would go through spells of depression, I would sometimes, videotape myself so I could have it to look back on. Writing this book was something I always knew I wanted to do.


IAK: In your book you go into details about life with your family, and not all of it was pleasant. Has your family read your book and were you worried about what they may feel about this memoir?

PMF: No, they haven’t read it. But they kept asking me about it. What’s interesting is that very few people know me. I never tell anyone about my life or my childhood. Because of what I went through I never let anyone get close to me. So this book gives a very open look into my life-and people  to know more about me. {Laughs} But that not what I wrote it for. I felt like this story needed to be told.


IAK: At what point do you think you began suffering from depression? Was treatment helpful?

PMF: I felt like I had probably been dealing with depression since I was a teen. However by the time I was twenty-one, it had gotten so bad that I was questioning why I was “here,” (living).  My sister took me to a facility and I was given medication there. The medication made me feel like a zombie and I stopped taking it.


IAK: Do you take any medication now? If not then how are you coping?

PMF: No. My first experience with medication left me somewhat skeptical. Lately my depression hasn’t been so severe that I required medication. But I cope by laughing. When things happen that may cause me to get depressed, I really try to laugh it off, or make light of it and it helps.


IAM: You mentioned that you work in with at-risk youth and provide “harm reduction teaching.” How does it feel to work with homesless and troubled teens as a person who has suffered from years of abuse, tragedy, and depression?

PMF: Well, at work sometimes there are triggers. When I go to a place on my job like a psyche facility or “lock-up,” it triggers my memories and reminds me that I was once there and it takes me back to my childhood. I really have a heart for these kids and teens. I want to just tell them that I really understand where they are and how they feel.


IAK: Can you offer any advice to parents who may have adolescents who are dealing with depression? Are there any signs to look for?

PMF: Listen to your kids. Talk to them and pay close attention to changes in their behavior. I see a lot of “cutters,” children who self-mutilate to ease their emotional pain. So when you see a child in long sleeves in the summer- that could be a sign. Or when a child has a possession that he really cherishes and all of a sudden he gives it away- that’s a big sign that he is planning to commit suicide and he needs help immediately.


IAK: What do you do now in your spare time?

PMF: I volunteer here In Atlanta with “Stand Up for Kids.” Each Wednesday we have “Caserole Day” and we serve casserole to homeless individuals in Atlanta. The CNN Center’s Mr. Turner was gracious to allow volunteers from “Stand-Up for Kids” to feed the kids there. I was told he did not want anyone (homeless of not) to be turned away or treated with disrespect while at the center.


IAK: That is really amazing, that you stay so connected and with all you’ve been through you are able to give back so much to your local community. One final question: It’s not really a spoiler alert since it states in the introduction that you are a nurse, but also a convicted felon, would you go into a little more detail for my readers as to how you were able to pull that off?

PMK: {Long pause} They will just have to read the book!


You can find The Journey Home at:

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