Bertie Stroup Marah offered this insert from her book synopsis as her introduction. In her words, “Rusty Spoon to Silver is the story of artist, Bertie Stroup Marah who, along with her four siblings, spent her childhood in abject poverty moving from sawmill shacks, tents, dilapidated outbuildings, trailers and even an abandoned railroad car in the isolated desert and mountainous hard scrabble areas of New Mexico. Bertie tells the story through the innocent eyes of her childhood while being raised by neglectful alcoholic parents. Bertie survives deprivation, prejudice, domestic abuse; and, later in life, depression, a suicide attempt, and breast cancer to become a nationally recognized, award-winning artist. Ultimately, this is an inspiring story about family, love, and resiliency told with humor and heart.”
She talked about her darkest hours, “I did not recognize the warning signs of danger and death that severe depression presented. Depression caused me to wrongly believe I had failed everyone - most of all myself. In reality this was not true, but this mentally and physically debilitating illness led me to believe that I was a helpless and hopeless failure and everyone would be better off if I weren't around. Finally I decided to take action.”
Bertie shot herself in the chest in an attempted suicide.
Her words for others, “My advice to anyone with severe depression is to fear it like any
other deadly illness. They should seek help, get the proper treatment and medication if there is a chemical imbalance. Surviving my suicide attempt made me realize that my survival depended on a complete change in my life by ridding myself of the things that brought about my depression including bad thoughts.”
Her inspiration, “God's intervention in my suicide attempt and the proper medication and the determination to keep trying to fulfill my desire to become a good artist. My Grandmother Bertie Counts told me as far back as I can remember that I could rise above the hardships of my upbringing and make something of myself. She said I had been given a gift from God and should work to prefect it regardless of what was happening at home.”