Mary Beth: Life Times Three (Now Four)


I knew something wasn’t right because all I did was cry day and night. I was engaged to be married, had a house, a job and reliable transportation. Money wasn’t an issue; I had enough to more than get by. So why then, was I crying continuously?

I made an appointment at mental health to see if they could “fix” my problems of crying. I went to see an intake worker who said I didn’t meet criteria for services because my primary diagnosis was substance abuse.

Two weeks later to the day I made my first suicide attempt. Nine state cops and three hours later, I was getting a free ride in the back seat of a trooper’s car to be involuntarily admitted to a psychiatric hospital. I was mandated by the court system to not only be admitted to the hospital, but to receive mental health counseling for no less than six months.

Upon discharge, I found myself single, homeless, and jobless.  I went to mental health for the mandated six months, and then stopped. I didn’t think I needed them because I was healed from the crying spells. I started to become depressed again, re-thought about my life in general, then decided I needed the counseling and called my case manager and began treatment at mental health again. . . on my own.

February 1, 2002, I gave birth to twin daughters who were born at just barely 28 weeks gestation. Born in Saginaw, they were 3 lb., 2 oz. and 4 lb., 10 oz. and in the hospital for quite some time. I learned a lot from watching them struggle to breathe.  Most importantly I learned that life wasn’t all that bad.

Today I am a very successful person who advocates for the needs and well being of adults with mental illness as a Certified Peer Support Specialist at the place that saved my life. . . Northern Lakes Community Mental Health. Two years into this job, I was offered a full-time position working with not only Northern Lakes but with the Michigan Department of Community Health as the Statewide Coordinator for the Michigan Peer Support Specialist Certification Training Program. I am honored to say that I now hold the position of Recovery Coordinator for all six counties for Northern Lakes. Once looked down upon, I am looked up to now as a hero, mentor, sponsor, and friend. Along with this important job comes the most rewarding and honorable job ever – – being a mom. My journey of recovery has given me the gift of life times THREE and soon FOUR.

My hopes and dreams for the future include obtaining my bachelor’s degree in social work to continue in the mental health field, but more importantly, to continue to better myself for the lives of my daughters. Throughout my journey of recovery and for the rest of my life, the one thing I want people to know about me that they didn’t or don’t know is that I have problems too. I am stronger from the experiences but continue to learn how to grow. I WON’T GIVE UP!