Peggy’s Recovery Story
Recovery, Life, Beautiful, Stigma, Education, Individuals, Clients, Families, Treatment, Healthcare, People, Experiences, Recovery is Beautiful, Treatment Works, People Recover, Blueprint, Recovery Vision, Recovery-Oriented System of Care, ROSC
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Peggy’s Recovery Story

Peggy Kiikka final


My name is Peggy, and I grew up the youngest of six siblings in northeast Ohio. About a year after my birth, my father passed away, so my mother raised us while she also worked and went to school to become a nurse. My mother worked a lot to provide for our family and I was very close to her, she was my best friend. As early as the age of three, I can remember feeling different and expressing that I felt a little off, but folks always chalked it up to me missing my father whom I never really got the opportunity to be with. It wasn’t until a little later that I learned more about this feeling, understanding that it was depression. Although I really began to struggle with heavy depression early in my teens, I graduated high school and got a job that paid well. Sometimes I would go through periods where I was completely functional. Other times, I would go weeks without really saying a word. When I was 27, I left my mom’s home, bought a mobile home, and coincidentally enough, moved in right next to my future husband – a Christian man who I knew I was going to marry once our eyes met for the first time, his name was Scott.

After both of us worked incredibly hard, Scott and I bought our first home together a few miles away from where we first met. The home was also very close to my mother’s house, which made me feel safe. Things for me weren’t perfect, my bouts with depression continued, but Scott and my mother provided me with a lot of support and really helped me get through the tough times. Sadly, Scott found out he had cancer and was told he didn’t have long to live. I thought things were bad, but they got worse when my mother passed away shortly after Scott was diagnosed. After five years, three months, and two days together, Scott passed away. Within months of each other I had lost my two best friends in life, I was more depressed than ever, and could not return to work. A woman who was part of Scott’s hospice team recommended that I go to a support group for young widows, and that’s when I began going to Neighboring/Beacon Health over 21 years ago. It was there that I found the support system that really helped start the process of getting me back on my feet and filled that hole that I had felt since the passing of my mother and husband. After being in the group for a while, as well as seeing a Christian therapist, it was recommended that I see a psychiatrist to help with my crippling depression.

After years of sessions with my therapist, ECT and other methods that didn’t work to reduce my symptoms, my psychiatrist asked for me to be a part of a new procedure that was used for individuals with epilepsy as well as depression, called a Vagus Nerve Simulator. Shortly after my second Vagus Nerve Simulator was implanted, the happiness that had been missing in my life for many years had finally began to return.

I am most thankful for the support that my family provided, the one-on-one mentorship that I received from a peer, the dedication of my psychiatrist to work with me to get better, my animals past and present – Tuffy, Queen Abbey, and King Albert the Great. I know I would not be able to make it through this without the love from God. I have been working my dream job as a cashier at Wal-Mart for three years now, and I am able to handle and cope with high-stress situations. Working a job makes me feel like an independent person, I am proud that I can work. I recently was honored with the Lake County ADAMHS Board Consumer Achievement Award from the Board that really helped me along my recovery journal. A lot of stuff has happened in my life, and I have been through a lot, but I feel that it has strengthened me and strengthened my trust in the great healer Jesus Christ. My life is not perfect and I do still have down days, but that’s okay. It took a lot of hard work to get me where I am today, and a lot of prayers, but I genuinely feel and believe now that it is a joy to be alive.

To God be the glory –

Peggy Kiikka