'Martha'

She sits down quietly with her hands folded over her beige purse in her lap. Her spine is straight and there is dignity in her eyes.

Martha left Mississippi when she was eight years old to live in Amsterdam, New York as a result of her father’s new job.  Her mother died just two years later and, as the years marched on, she has lost every family member save for her father. “After my mom died, it was hard for me to catch my boundaries,” Martha said.

Martha is mentally ill; she struggled to keep her mental illness in check for many years. She was successful in college finding passion in exploring and embracing education. Martha lived a fairly successful life as an accountant for over 20 years. However, like so many, when her company moved locations, she was unable to afford to transfer to another state and was left unemployed. At 50 years old, the prospect of a new job was hopeless. Losing her job, health insurance, and her savings, Martha started her spiral downward to the darkness of uncertainty and homelessness.

Martha relapsed into her mental illness. After she was laid off she fell into depression. She was tormented by the voices in her head and it was feared that she would never find her way back.

With the incredible support of Bethesda House’s team, Martha was housed and remained in our program. Each night staff heard her fight her tormentors; the pain of her demons etched in lines on her face and in the darkness of her eyes. The agency’s teams worked with Martha until a comprehensive treatment team was created. Martha agreed to mental health treatment and proper medicine. She is mindful of what she needs to do to remain stable and free from darkness. She says, “I’m able to focus on my own life for once, instead of figuring out everyone else’s.”

She is currently stable and feels at home at Bethesda where she spends her time reading Norah Roberts novels and deepening her faith. She attends church every Sunday where she finds peace even after all she has lost. Martha has the most beautiful smile and is a gentle soul. She is held within the collective arms of many.