It’s been a difficult struggle but Carolyn Hoskins’ story is one of resilience and determination. At age 32, Hoskins’ now 55, was diagnosed with a bi-polar disorder.

 


It’s been a difficult struggle but Carolyn Hoskins’ story is one of resilience and determination. At age 32, Hoskins’ now 55, was diagnosed with a bi-polar disorder.
“Being in an unhealthy marriage, having a stressful job, raising a teenage son and dealing with bi-polar was very difficult for me,” stated Hoskins, though she remained employed several years following the diagnosis. “I was hospitalized several times but I did not take the medicine prescribed because of the way it made me feel.”
According to Hoskins, she began taking several other types of medication trying to find the right one. In April 1992, she lost her job because she said, “I was unable to perform the duties required of me.”
Soon after, Hoskins left her husband. She and her son lived with her sister- and brother-in-law. It was her brother-in-law that suggested she apply for disability.
“I took his advice and applied the next day,” Hoskins recalled. “I was approved shortly after applying and my benefits began in July 1992.
Hoskins eventually moved into an apartment of her own. Her son graduated in the spring of 1994 and entered the Navy that November. She moved to Little Rock before returning the Helena-West Helena in 1998.
“I was sick when I moved back home but I didn’t realize it until I ended back at St. Francis Infirmary,” Hoskins said.
After dismissing her psychiatrist for “lack of concern”, she quickly sought the advice of another psychiatrist.
“He agreed to be my doctor one condition that if he saw me in the hospital again he would have me admitted to the State Hospital in Benton,” commented Hoskins. “He went on to me that he was a diabetic and that he took one shot a day. He told me that all I had to do was take one pill a day and I could live a normal healthy life. That was the turning point in my life.”
Hoskins said there have been many days of struggle but she has not returned to the hospital and continues to take her medication properly. However life after returning to Helena-West Helena turned into a series of part-time jobs.
“I got tired of being controlled by the government and I was fed up with someone dictating to me how much I could work and the amount of money I could make,” Hoskins commented.
Hoskins believed that if she had worked productively before there was no reason why she couldn’t do it again.
“I told my brothers and a few others that I was getting off disability and going back to work full-time,” she stated. “They thought  I was losing my mind because so many people were trying to get on disability and here I was trying to get off.”
However, Hoskins had a plan. At the time Terminix employed her as a secretary with what she called the “perfect hours and the perfect pay for a person on disability at that time.”
She believed that God had better plan for her. She enrolled in Phillips Community College’s Cosmetology School.
Hoskins began classes in the fall of 2002 but after awhile she became stressed from working part-time in the evenings and going to school part-time. She began to worry that she would not make it and became depressed.
“Even though I was not hitting on all four cylinders, my grades were still up to standard and I was doing well on my practical,” she recalled. “I was so stressed at the end of the spring session that I decided to sit out the summer session.”
Hoskins called it, “a wise decision.” During the summer off, she said she was able to get herself back together. She completed her final semester with a 3.67 grade point average. She passed the state board’s written and practical exams.
She then began her career in a beauty salon and her clientele grew quickly. It was then she decided to do the unthinkable – get off disability benefits.
“Because the lady at the Social Security office knew me, I am sure she thought I was not feeling well,” recalled Hoskins. “I completed and returned the forms that she gave me. It took a few months for them to get back to me concerning how much I had to pay back.”
The sum exceeded $12,000. Hoskins stated that she was not excited about paying back the money but she knew it was the right thing to do and felt she had to take responsibility for her actions.
Hoskins has been a hair stylist for almost eight years. She recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of her own salon, “Ms. Carolyn’s Hair Care Salon.”
“God has given me a gift and I have an awesome testimony,” stated Hoskins. “He did not bring me through just for me. It was to help others. I do not have all of the answers, but I do know that with God all things are possible.”