Artist, Author, Teacher of Greek, Adjunct Latin Professor
Living with paranoid schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and alcoholism

A gifted writer, artist and leader with degrees from Stanford, UCLA, Harvard and the University of Denver, Roberta has coped with mental conditions since the onset of depression as an undergraduate in college. Twice hospitalized, she says that her illness has “tried, but failed, to define” her. Today, she is 35 years sober and her life is what she would have chosen: “work and love.” A successful author, she shares her skills and wisdom teaching creative writing to youth at The Mental Health Center of Denver.

Roberta’s Story

What was your most difficult time?

At 38, I stopped drinking and was hospitalized for the second time for schizophrenia.

What helped you get well and move to stability?

Medication. Psychiatric psychotherapy. Friends. And my mother – once she accepted it all. (It took her a long time to accept the new me.)

How do you manage your condition and stay healthy?

Medication. Work. Friendship.

What words of encouragement would you give to someone struggling with a condition similar to yours?

Stick to your meds! Have patience with life!

If you could go back and do something over, what would it be?

I would have joined AA years earlier than I did.

How has stigma affected you? How do you cope with it?

It has affected every aspect of my life. I see it now as separating the good guys from the bad guys, although some of the latter are capable of being educated. Mostly, I just say what’s on my mind to those harming me with stigma.