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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Department of Health and Human Services
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

Last Updated: 7/7/2008

SAMHSA’s Resource Center to Promote Acceptance,
Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with
Mental Health (ADS Center)


Rosita's Story

My depression started during my marriage. One day, my husband took everything and left. He took $9000 from our savings. I didn't have any financial support or means to support myself. Then my depression became much worse. I was a nurse, and when I'd help my patients up, I'd start dropping them. I didn't feel like I had any strength in my legs. This was a good job, and I had done it for twelve years, but people started saying my mind was not on my work. I eventually lost my job.

All I could think was "What happened? How could my husband abandon me and leave me basically homeless?" And I was homeless. I ended up sleeping in a flower shop, because flowers were a mood lifter for me. I was isolated-I didn't tell my friends what was going on. Every morning I'd try to get up but couldn't. It was like being in a dark hole. I had lost my concentration. I couldn't think anymore-what was in my head was just so overwhelming.

I was isolated for six to seven months. I started calling up different mental health places to see if I could get a therapist. I was told there were none available, and that I either had to be hospitalized or referred to get one. Eventually I was referred to Victim' Services in Miami and started doing therapy there.

During this time I was talking like a child. This was one of my symptoms. Wherever I went, everyone recognized me as a little girl ... a 35-year old talking like a little girl. The minute I spoke one word, everyone looked at me. So at that point I never felt comfortable going out into society.

I was basically moving from shelter to shelter. Broward Partnership for the Homeless staff and case management helped me a great deal. For six months, I was in Henderson, a mental health facility for homeless and dually diagnosed people. During that time I was still talking like a child. I was really following the people that were around me, because I couldn't make any decision for myself. I left it up to my case manager. Luckily, every decision she made for me was the right one.

I started creating my own recovery network, which still helps me to this day. I created all different forms of therapy. I love to work with flowers-the color brings me joy. I do a lot of artwork, which keeps my mind busy. I go to all kinds of lectures and workshops, whether they're related to me or not. I do fundraising, walkathons, Reiki, and advocacy work.

And I volunteer a lot. Talking to other people and helping them also helps me. I had done childcare, but was afraid I couldn't do it again, so instead I volunteered at my church. There, I was able to work with children. And they offered me a paid position there for a few hours a week.

I went back to work in a flower shop full-time, against the advice of my therapist. The stress got to me, and I had a heart attack last March. I had to have open-heart surgery.

My life was put on hold again. I had to take it easy and I didn't like it. But you have to have patience in recovery.

I am really doing well in my physical and mental recovery. It's been two years I haven't had anxiety problems, and a year since I stopped taking medications for depression. And I'm planning to keep it like that! After my surgery, I thought I would be more depressed than ever... but I'm not!


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This Web site was developed under contract with the Office of Consumer Affairs in SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services. The views, opinions, and content provided on this Web site do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of SAMHSA or HHS. The resources listed in this Web site are not all-inclusive and inclusion on this Web site does not constitute an endorsement by SAMHSA or HHS.