Dennis Hong is from Fremont, California where he spent most of his life and it’s mostly a diverse population that connects to other cities in the Bay Area. Growing up “On The Spectrum”, Dennis has always been isolated mostly from his family and peers. He usually got into trouble and this was due to the bullying and strict discipline he had during his childhood that affected him mentally and emotionally which it was not taken seriously until he graduated from university with a bachelor’s degree. However, it was through these challenges and events that helped shape him into the person that he is today. He also has built values around ideals that are important to him. It shows that a little understanding, perseverance, and help can go a long way.
Dennis was involved in special courses like speech classes, therapy sessions, and grew up being bullied with very few friends that he hung out with. His parents were strict and placed him in very toxic environments where it emotionally affected him. Those included were relatives and places where he was supposed to feel safe. These were traumatic experiences that affected his mental health even more because he was diagnosed with autism at a young age. It also affected his development which led him to develop anxiety, indecisiveness, and depression which got him involved in tense situations. He decided that he’d close himself off due to the overwhelming trust issues he had developed over-time. Due to his family culture, there was a harsh and strict upbringing which included his mental health development that was distraught because of the way he grew up.
Dennis overcame his own personal mental health challenges that took him a long time. It didn’t take weeks or months, but years of struggles, hardships, self-determination, and even more loss for him to finally feel at ease with his mental health. The steps that he needed to do was to seek help for his career path as well as his mental health issues. He found help with both career and guidance counselors to assist him in planning for the future career path he wanted to pave for himself. He also wanted help with his autism involving mental health issues that were unaddressed during his childhood trauma.
It took Dennis a long time, a lot of effort, and support to be successful in overcoming his mental health issues. It helped recreate a new identity with personal experiences and become someone who can relate to help others. It also shows no matter how long the road is, the journey will always continue. Dennis’ outlook on life is “You will reach your destination if you keep moving forward and be ready to accept these challenges.” Dennis is currently working at a nonprofit helping BIPOC and TAY youth overcome their challenges and find their own identity.