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A Lifesaver

August 07, 1988

Last July I faced a serious crisis in my life. I became seriously depressed. My daughter had been injured, and her family came to live with me so I could take care of them. I had a stroke and was afraid I'd never be able to function like I did. I had lost my husband 14 years ago, but had never accepted his loss. Finally, I went to pieces.

I lost my sense of humor. I felt angry and didn't know why. I just wanted to cover up my head, crawl in a hole and forget it.

My depression came out in anger and in nagging. I felt nobody understood me. I didn't know what to do. But I realized that, if I didn't get help, I was going to end it.

Finally, I called my family doctor, who referred me to the former Clairemont Community Hospital's crisis center. I talked to a young lady who helped me get through the first few hours. Then I was admitted to the hospital and put in a room with four ladies, depressed just like me.

I cried for three days. Then, with a lot of love and a lot of caring from the nurses and therapists, I began to get better. I saw the psychiatrist, and I went through the therapy--all the therapy. I thought some of it was kind of silly. Art therapy? I can't even draw a straight line.

But I found out a lot of things about myself that I had been harboring for years.

After 67 years, I finally now know more about who I really am. And it's great.

If there's anybody out there who has fear about going into a mental hospital, don't. You just work on finding out who you are, getting rid of all your fears, understanding why you do the things you do and why you do not want to see people. For me, it was the greatest thing that ever happened.

I feel so bad because of the cutbacks the county will be making in mental health programs. It's really sad. The programs are really important. If I hadn't had someplace to go, I would have killed myself.

ANNIE CAPLE

San Diego

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