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Stories of Recovery

Karla Gutzman's Story
​Karla Gutzman
Name: Karla Gutzman
I'm sure the word hope has different meanings to all of us as individuals. ...One day when I was about 10 years old, my dad and I were driving on the freeway on our way back home from Tucson. All of a sudden, out of the blue came a huge storm. All I could hear was the thunder, the strong wind, and the sound of the water hitting our car. My dad said he couldn't see at all, and that he wasn't even sure if it was safe to stop, since he couldn't even tell if there were cars ahead of us and how close they were to our car.
 
At that point, I was afraid we wouldn't get to our destination safely, and for the first time, I sensed that my dad was scared. It was dark, and I seriously thought there was no way out of that darkness and that I would never get back home. It was a fear I had never experienced before.  After a few seconds of silence, the overwhelming noise started to gradually tum into a peaceful quietude, and my dad said he could see some sunlight. At that moment, I knew we would come out of it okay, and that we would get home safely. To me, that is hope, the belief and conviction that something will change for the better, no matter what.
I was diagnosed with a serious mental illness a little over 9 years ago, and I now realize that in all these years, I've felt hope very few times. I have been in that car where all I can see is darkness so many times, almost constantly. I have seen that small ray of sun, and I had never really acted on it. In fact, I wonder if the feeling of hope only counts when you act on it, and if you don't its false hope. Is there such a thing? I began to train in the RSS institute one week ago, and I feel that it is safe to say that in this short time, I've actually felt hope and have acted on it.  I'm a human being, therefore, I have rights and I want respect.  Yes, I believe I will always be on the road of recovery, and in that path I will continue to make mistakes and to struggle, and I will also continue to have successes and accomplishments. I believe it is part of being human! I'm still working on all this and have a long way to go, but I have the rest of my life to keep getting better at it. Finally, I have learned over time that no matter how long it takes, I always end up seeing that small ray of sun that leads me to my destination, and that in the end, despite the thunder and darkness, I will be okay.
 
Karla Guzman was born in Nogales, Mexico. In 1991 she moved to Tucson to attend high school at the Arizona State School for the Deaf and the Blind.  Karla is a person living with a visual impairment.  She stated that she “wanted to know what it was like to be around other people who have the same disability as me. “  Karla graduated high school in 1995 and attended the University of Arizona for a few years.  Karla became a United States citizen in 2000, “after a long and successful struggle.“  Karla is a Graduate of the Recovery Support Specialist Institute #30 (Fall 2012), and is currently a volunteer at Camp Wellness.
 
Reprinted with permission from the Recovery Support Specialist Newsletter, Family & Community Medicine, University of Arizona.
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