MHSA Coordinator/Grant Writer, Colusa County Behavioral Health
Faith, hope, and love were the three words that resonated in my ear when meeting with Diana. She is a woman of strength and compassion.
A woman filled with hope and love. A woman who is grateful for the journey that life has given her including the most difficult times. Times that many of us would rather hide from the rest of the world and not speak of. Diana candidly shared her struggle with mental health.
Diana did not realize at the time severity of her illness and did her best to cope.
She recognizes now, that her challenges began when she a child growing up in a not so ideal
environment. She was afraid of the shame and guilt that is linked with reaching out for help. After losing weight, sleepless nights, becoming homeless, and losing an overall interest in life, she hit a breaking point that would change her life.
She wandered in an airport for two days, confused and unable to express her needs. When someone finally noticed her, security became involved. Rather than comforting her, they bombarded her with questions and took pictures, ignoring her obvious mental state. She was placed in handcuffs and put in jail for 11days where she continued to not eat, sleep, and was unable to verbalize her needs.
Her family was franticly looking for her, unaware that she was in jail and not even thinking to look in such a place. Her family eventually came to find her and took her home, but was unable to understand or know how to help her. Diana was then encouraged to seek services at Behavioral Health.
Through services and the healing forces of her family, Diana is now doing well. Although her parents are now deceased, she believes they would be proud of her. She is not angry about the past, but rather acknowledges the lack of training and education around mental health.
She has become empowered and hopes that her story can empower others.
She encourages families, caregivers, those in health care professions, all people to become educated about mental health so that people receive the appropriate treatment. So that situations like hers do not happen to anyone else and people are treated like people.
Diana continues to move forward, recognizing that she is just an “hour” away from falling. She takes on the good and bad and allows herself to be human. Diana wants us all to remember, “What happens to us, does not define us.”
Diana’s story is inspiring and exhibits true resilience in regard to recovery. The truth is we can all relate to her story in some way.
Come raise awareness around mental health and reduce stigma in our community through Stamp Out Stigma and Moving Miles for Minds. Stamp Out Stigma will be held at the Department of Behavioral Health (162 E. Carson Street) on Thursday, May 14th from 2:00pm-5:00pm. Moving Miles for Minds will occur on Saturday, May 16th with registration beginning at 8:30am and the race starting at 10:00am. Our featured speaker, Kevin Briggs, will be speaking at 12:30pm. The event will be at the Colusa Boy Scout Cabin. Please contact Senaida Rangel at (530)458-0520 for more information.