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Born With a Rusty Spoon: Episode 68

Continuing her autobiography, Bertie Stroup Marah tells of reaching a crisis point in her life.

I was never happy working as a secretary it was just a means to help make a living. Although I worked with some nice people who became lifelong friends, I felt suffocated and longed to be using my creativity full time. I was forty-one in 1981 and our sons had grown up. Monty had gone to college to become an engineer and Kelly was working at a gas refinery in Fruita. His decision to make a career in the refinery business proved to be a good one; he has always made a good living.

My marriage was continuing to unravel and Larry and I eventually separated for two months after he made such serious threats that my son Monty intervened on my behalf. Although we sought counseling, nothing seemed to work.

Meanwhile, I was falling deeply into depression.

This same year, I injured my neck while moving furniture. I lived in pain for the next five months until I finally had an operation to fuse two vertebras in my neck.

The physical pain compounded by a hellish marriage and a job that smothered my creativity fueled my depression until it became unbearable. I had to take sleeping pills in order to sleep, was exhausted during the day, and had to force myself to get out of bed to go to work. I lost my appetite for food and for life. I convinced myself that I was not a good artist and I stopped painting. I took refuge from my pain in thoughts of ending my life. I blamed God for everything. My situational depression had created a chemical imbalance. I sought relief from my family physician, which was a mistake because he prescribed the wrong antidepressant in the wrong dosage. Finally, I suffered a complete breakdown.


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