The holidays can be a tough time for people who suffer from mental health issues like depression but a Riverside County woman is hoping her journey will inspire people to get the help they need.
She went from being homeless to a successful business owner thanks to her family and therapy.
Crystal Smith is doing what she loves to do. She is coloring, cutting and styling people’s hair.
“Blessed, I would say blessed is the word,” Smith said.
In November 2020 Smith fell into deep depression and it’s something she has dealt with at times ever since she was a teenager.
Smith says her depression got worse after giving birth to her last two children.
“I just wanted to stay in bed all day and everyday,” Smith said. “I would do bare minimum to take care of the kids, I would feed them but I just wanted to be in bed.”
Her depression got so bad Smith had to give up her job. She needed therapy which included staying at a special home for intensive care.
“They would always tell me at the house ‘you have to find a great support system and people who are going to uplift you, people who are going to be there for you whether you are at your lowest but who can be vulnerable with,’” Smith said.
That support system would include her church and her husband Dillon, who left his job so he could focus on Crystal’s recovery while taking care of their six children ages three to 11.
“I didn’t want to leave on the road because I was a truck driver and come home to find my wife was dead,” Dillion said.
With minimal income the family was forced to live in a motel for a short time before eventually saving up enough money to buy a camper.
For more than a year and a half they stayed at campgrounds all over Riverside County.
During that time Dillon says therapy and medications started making her feel better and she even began cutting hair for campers.
“Then one of her friends reached out and was like ‘I’m not working three days a week if you want to jump into my salon suite during these three days, you’re more than welcome to,’” Dillon said.
In June, Crystal and Dillon saved enough money to open Smith Hair Salon in Temecula.
They also started a non-profit organization called “Crown of Glory Ministries.”
“Helping people that are in the same situation that we were in two years ago,” Dillon said.
By giving them advice on how to deal with a mental health crisis and most importantly, giving them hope that things ca get better with a good support system and good therapy.
“Therapy is not fast so go in no matter how long it takes and just don’t give up,” Crystal said.
Source: NBC Los Angeles