Over coffee, Martha explains how severe depression left her wanting to end her life and unable to have normal conversations with people.
"I woke up every day with suicide on my mind, and I went to bed with suicide on my mind," Martha says.
Nearly broke, and without health insurance, her life became a "dark maze of mental illness," she says.
She went into the hospital for treatment at least a dozen times, and she needed to get county assistance to help pay for her medicines. "I realized what it meant to be on the margins of society," she says.
Now recovered, Martha directs an agency that advocates for people who have mental illnesses. Her work allows her to be an "edgy voice" for those like her who need help to recover.
"People do get better," she says.
Martha's story reflects her experiences as told in an interview. The photograph is not of Martha, to protect her privacy.
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Lisa S. Weinstock MD - Psychiatry