Luna is currently a 35-year-old woman from Morelia Mexico with three children ranging in age from nine to fifteen. She enjoys reading the Bible, playing music, and painting.
Prior to Luna’s immigration, her parents moved to the United States for work. At 16 years of age, Luna came to the United States from Mexico in September 1999 and lived with her sister. She describes the journey as a relatively smooth process. Her family had a farm in Morelia, but the cartels evoked fear in her community. The cartels impacted her former neighborhood, and as a result, she saw young children selling drugs. Luna says her brothers didn’t let her out of the house.
Listen to Luna talk about her trip to the US here:
Luna recalls a traumatizing series of events that occurred when she was around 10 years old. Despite rough river conditions, she and her siblings attempted to raft down the river, and she ended up saving two of her sisters from drowning. Around the same time period, she also experienced a head injury.
Luna: And the river, the water was dark because it was like, storming at the time. We didn’t care, we called away… And then all—when we got to the river, my sister, she’s almost dead. Because she’s all the way down in the river. And then, oh my God. I came out and she’s with my brother. And I was like, “Where is [sister] and where is [sister]?” And she said, “I don’t know. I don’t know where they are. Maybe they’re already dead.” And then I jumped in the water and I found her and I needed to pull on her hair. And I pulled on my sister’s, little sister’s hair, and I took it out—and I came outside… And then I went again and I saved her. And then I went and I saved my other sister. So that was a big trauma for me because that showed me how that—how’s this life.
Later in in adolescence, after Luna moved to Michigan, she dated a man who lived in Cincinnati. Although she was in high school and working at McDonald’s at the time, he asked her to move to Cincinnati to help him open a Mexican restaurant. As a result, she moved to Ohio. Not long after, Luna found out she was pregnant, and the father did not want the child. However, she decided to keep the baby and reached out to her other family in Ohio for support. She still feels emotional about this time in her life.
A few years after giving birth to her first child, Luna started dating a man who used alcohol and drugs. She attributes the onset of her schizophrenia to this relationship – he verbally and sexually abused her. With help from her family, she got him to move out. However, after he moved out, Luna found out she was pregnant with his child. Luna told the father, and he was excited to be a dad. Luna notes that she was careful not to pressure him into an unwanted situation, but he moved back in with her. Eventually she was pregnant again, and he decided he didn’t want to help with childcare anymore, so he left before she gave birth to her third child.
Luna later recalls a hard time that started with losing track of her oldest child. She couldn’t find her child, so she called the police. Although she found him by the time the police arrived, they arrested her for having three children in a one-bedroom apartment and for “smacking him [the child] with a belt.” The police took custody of her children. Luna thinks she started to get sick around this time, and it was hard because she had very little social support. After she served time in jail and paid her fines, she went to the hospital because of symptoms of schizophrenia.
Luna: And that’s when they said I had a schizophrenic bipolar problem. Since then, I’ve been taking medicine. I attend groups sometimes. I try to do the stuff, try to take my medication and get stability, but how can I get my kids back? I try my best to be okay, you know.
At the time of the interview, Luna had been taking medication for schizophrenia for ten years. She says the medicine helps her sleep, but she still hears voices. She does not tell many people about her schizophrenia because she doesn’t want people to think she’s “crazy” or to make fun of her. Luna feels that individuals who do not have schizophrenia misunderstand people who do have schizophrenia, and so she only discloses her illness to the people closest to her. Listen to Luna talk about how others may not understand here:
When Luna was interviewed, she didn’t want her children back yet because she was still trying to “make her life together.” She was thinking about trying to buy a house and go back to school. She was working and saving money, wanting to get her GED so she could go to nursing school when she received her updated visa. She said she was praying for her green card – known officially as a Permanent Residence Card in order to live in the US permanently.
On a typical day, Luna wakes up around 10 because she feels too groggy to wake up at 7. She takes a shower, cleans, watches some TV, makes lunch for her boyfriend, then goes to work. After work, she makes dinner, watches TV, and goes to sleep. Local services have been helpful to Luna – she says services from GCB (Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health Services) have really helped her because she has a skilled doctor. Other service organizations that work on immigration-related issues have also been helpful.
When asked about her best life memory, Luna recalls her pregnancies. She says her best memories in life are when she was pregnant because she was amazed by being able to carry a child. She was also proud of herself for being able to provide for her children. Listen to her talk about motherhood below:
Since Luna’s schizophrenia diagnosis, she connects more with her faith. She attends church, and her pastor encourages her to think about life and the role of God in her life. She attends disciple classes and grows closer to God.
Luna dreams of helping people. If she were to go back to Mexico, she would build a house and open a little store and feed the poor. She’s also thought about starting a food program in her neighborhood for feeding hungry children. Listen to Luna talk about some of her dreams:
When asked about how it felt to share her story, she responded:
Luna: I feel okay. I feel release from my heart and my soul about what I was carrying from eight years.
Luna decided to share her story because she likes to help people and hopes her history can help change the world. She also hopes to share with her children someday.
Luna: …I like to help other people. Maybe my history can help to change the world, or help another lady like this. And because I feel when I’m talking, I try to make—my past is in pieces. My past is in pieces, so I try to put them close. And one day I would show—if you give me a copy of this on paper— I can show it to my kids and say, “This happened, that’s why I left you. Not because I don’t love you, but because I was sick.”