Cindy: My Story


I don’t remember just when it was that I found out I had a mental health problem, but I know at first I thought it meant I was nuts. I worried that I might leave the house one day and just forget to return or that I would start to walk around and act scary to others. It made me afraid.

I started to think about what led up to the moment I found myself checking in to my first hospital. I remember running a restaurant and my own business training dogs for the disabled and being very busy. I also remember thinking how nice it would be to not have to make any decisions on anything and just live a simple life. I used to say I’d give my right arm for a chance to be one of those women that just have to worry about a house and that’s all, besides what to make for dinner.

I remember being very tired and hurting all the time. My legs would get very weak and they would start to hurt a lot until I would have to sit down. If I sat for just a minute I would fall asleep and had no choice in it; it would just happen. One day in February of 2003 I found out I had Lupus (SLE) and to add to that I had Fibromyalgia. Alone, each one is a painful experience, but put them together and I have not known such pain at times since my daughter’s birth. The only difference was, it was pain all over instead of localized in one small area. In time I lost my ability to work full time and then my home; I became homeless. I lived in my van through the winter of 2005 in Florida. I have been in the “Red Tape Line” for my disability for going over four years – and I’m not to have stress.

I have major Depression and other things but I think I am better off than many, because I know what is wrong with me and many don’t. I can go to my mental health center and talk to my counselor and feel better. I go to my group sessions now also. At first I thought group sessions would be stupid, but I said I would go to three sessions. After that I was hooked.

My family thought it was stupid that I go to these things. They say everyone is depressed, I should just keep it to myself, I should figure out what I should do by myself. I agree to a point. But what if something so terrible in your life happened and you felt like you had just fallen into a very large hole and was unable to get out! After a while you start to give up trying and then you start to forget what it was like before you fell in. All you know is you are here and there is nothing you can think of to get yourself out!

Then it happens that a group of people come by and tell you if you want help they will help you learn to help yourself and then you may be able to get yourself out. They won’t do the work for you, but they will be there to help you do the work yourself. You slowly start to remember how to smile, how to enjoy life’s small joys, and then you start to climb one step at a time.

With many steps to go, I am still climbing. I am starting to see some of the old me and with my mental health care group there to help me if I slip, I will climb out!