‘I Was Homeless, B-roke. I Walked Into Hell And Found An Angel. Her Name Is Sharon.’: Woman Thanks Strangers For Saving Her Life.


“November: I have secretly stopped taking all my medication for the Bip-olar issue because I believe I no longer need it. January: I have driven off nearly everyone who loves me (including my doctors and therapists). No one can keep up with me at that time. I’m not even speaking with my own sister, who correctly suspects I am using do-pe to reduce my appetite, so as to keep slimming down.

I never believe it’s enough, you see. My eating habit won’t ever let me believe it’s enough. I reached 90 pounds, I thought that would be low enough. It’s not low enough. I reached 82 pounds. It’s still not low enough. There’s no magic number, just less eating and more doing substances. I stopped speaking to all my friends. They began to disappear, one by one.

February 1: Everything’s a mess. It’s just me and the Voice. Not MY Voice, but THE VOICE. It’s silent. The Voice commands, ‘IT’S TIME TO say goodbye to this world. NO MORE DELAYS, NO MORE MISTAKES, OR I’LL START TO THINK YOU DON’T EVEN WANT TO say goodbye to this world.’ ‘I don’t want to say bye to this world anymore!’ ‘NONSENSE, YOU MUST say goodbye to this world,’ the Voice encircles my neck and simultaneously sq-ueezes everything out of my bedroom. ‘THIS IS IT, THE REAL DEAL. YOU ARE GOING TO L-eave this world AND THERE IS NO GOING BACK.

‘IT’S NOT YOUR CHOICE. THIS IS HAPPENING NOW. SAY GOODBYE TO CINDY.’ I had held my four-month-old puppy, Cindy Crawford, all night long, i was praying to not say goodbye her I didn’t want to l-eave her, that I was so sorry I was no longer going to watch her grow up. I sob as I hear the Voice ‘DO IT NOW,’ the Voice says, ‘Do it now,’ I say out loud, echoing the voice. ‘I love you, Cindy, I’ll always love you. Please forgive me.’ I kiss her head and tuck her in on the bed, near the kitties, we all are safe in my room.

I walk into the bathroom. It is time. I’ve been here before.

And so we try to outrun everything and everyone. Straight through Silverlake, through Echo Park, and into Downtown Los Angeles. Where you can be part of a club you never wanted to join. For thirteen days, Cindy and I are on the street. We sleep at the corner of Flower and Fifth in a stairwell holding each other for warmth without blankets. When it gets too cold, we sneak into the Westin Bonaventure Hotel and find an unlocked conference room where we wrap ourselves in a table cloth and sleep under a conference table until a security guard came in and chases us out.

‘We are trailblazers, Cindy, we are trailblazing fugitives.’ But soon all we are is hungry and thirsty and h-ot and sweaty and dirty by day and holding each other through the night, shivering and chattering our way toward dawn.

Soon Cindy is so hungry that she lunges against her leash toward every store and every passerby begging, straining for something, anything to eat. Soon my hands are so dirty from digging through garbage looking for something safe to feed her that I don’t know if they will ever be clean again. Soon we are standing at the corner of San Pedro and 5th Street.
‘Excuse me,’ I stop a grizzled and weary looking man. ‘What do you want?’

‘Do you know of a place around here that gives out food, water and blankets?’ ‘Yeah, you looking at it.’ ‘What?’ I cry out. “Right here?’ We are standing in front of a massive gate. ‘Look Cindy, we’re here!’ I hug her. ‘We made it, girl.’ I eagerly push on the gate.

Nothing, no movement. I pull on the gate. Still nothing. My heart falls fast. ‘What’s wrong? Why is it locked?’ I ask the stranger. ‘They closed today. Today Sunday.’ ‘Closed today? Closed on Sundays?!?’ I asked him. ‘But, but … people need things on Sundays! Needy people need things! WE need things!’ I gesture toward Cindy and myself.
‘We need to eat, we need water, we need a blanket.

‘SOMEONE NEEDS TO HELP US!’ I am practically screeching now. After days of holding it together (whatever that means to me), I am coming undone. It must be quite a sight: A petite, filthy Caucasian girl s-creaming her blonde head off, trying to hold onto a very manic puppy. The only response I get from the man is a withering glare so grating it could wilt flowers … if flowers grew on Skid Row.

Instead, there are only r-otting things here — only trash gardens and trash bouquets perfuming the air with the scent of trashed dreams. I breathe in through my nose, trying to calm down. It smells of hopelessness. ‘I’m going to say goodbye to this world. But I can’t L-eave this world. I have to take care of Cindy.’ Mr. Grizzled sneers and walks aside.

‘We’re NEW here, by the way!’ I exclaim at his back. ‘That’s why we don’t know anything! Ok…well, thanks anyway!’ ‘Thanks for nothing,’ I mutter to myself, looking down at Cindy. ‘It’s ok, baby, don’t worry. We’re going to be ok. Your momma is going to figure this out.’ Soon the afternoon sun beats down on us and my ripe smell is a quiet giveaway that I haven’t showered in days. Tents are everywhere, covering the sidewalks. Trash and rotting food litters the streets. This is how we live now, this is our life, this is all there is.

Cindy and I carefully navigate our way through this gauntlet, as people stop me repeatedly — both to jeer and to say how pretty Cindy is and ask to pet her. She is such a sensitive soul. I can see it’s making her nervous. It’s making me uncomfortable too. Mainly because, though most people are being very sweet to Cindy, others are eyeing her in a different way. For the first time since being on the streets, I begin to worry not just about Cindy.

‘Girl with the dog, girl with the dog!’ I jump as someone howl in our direction. ‘Girl with the dog!’ I’m t-orn between running and standing guard over Cindy. ‘Girl with the dog!’ A woman steps from the crowd, waving a flier wildly in my face. ‘I’ve got info on free dog food and vet care for you!’ This woman wants to help us? I walked into h-ell and found an angel.

The angel’s name is Sharon, but I don’t know that yet. She works for LAMP Village, an amazing homeless resource center, but I don’t know that yet. She will help Cindy and me get out of Skid Row and onto the safe and warm couch of another angel, Vera, in South Central Los Angeles. And, ultimately, both these women will help Cindy and me reunite with my family, but I don’t know that yet, either. All I know is that after months of helplessness, I suddenly feel HOPE.

February, one year later: I am back on my medications and they’re working. No more Voice. As far as my living situation, I’m staying close to my family for the time being. After being happily reunited with my parents and siblings last year, I was attended and treated at UCLA Medical Center for Bi-polar issue with Psychotic Features.

Following that treatment, I spent many months in residential, then outpatient programs. I am working hard at staying healthy and using MY Voice to struggle with m-ental health stigma. For me right now, that means using my social media channels to speak out and let others know they are NOT ALONE.

There is help available! I’m also volunteering with NAMI (the National Alliance of M-ental Illness) to speak up about ‘E-nding the Silence’ when it comes to mental health and sui-cide. Cindy Crawford is working hard at playing, eating well, and still being the love of my life. We wish to thank every single person who helped us on the streets, but especially Rhonda, Sharon, and Vera, as well as Dr. Z, the doctors at UCLA and Balance Treatment Center and every therapist I had at Balance, especially Liz.

Thank you.”

This is how people reacted to this post:

Amy Nicole – Thank you for sharing your story. You are so brave to face your demons. God bless you.

Traci Sanders – I’m so so glad that you and Cindy are home safe and doing well. You’re right. These people are God’s angels.

Judy Tillis – WOW. What a story. Brought me to tears. So very glad you found your angels and are doing well.

Ami – A story of survival and hope. I do hope the kitties were rescued and rehomed.

Sharon – I feel this I was horribly sad a while back my huskies are the only reason I am still here today.

This Article Was First Published on lovewhatmatters.com