Rose Delaney’s Common Threads — Stories of Survival & Recovery From Mental Illness

 I found the following story of Rose Delaney in the book Common Threads post on the book publishers website. 

Rose Delaney is a remarkable woman. After years of isolation and long-term
hospitalization she found her way back to a life filled with possibilities. She is a leader
in the f ght for quality mental health services for consumers throughout the state. Rose
continues to live in Lehigh Acres and work with the Compeer program with NAMI,
and she is a proud participant in the Florida Self-Directed Care program.
Rose identifies many of the same common threads for recovery that our other storytellers
have. She particularly emphasizes the importance of peer support and the value of
educating yourself about your illness. She is a wonderful example of the power of helping
I knew from childhood that there was something wrong with me; at least I felt
that way. I was always so serious. I always had to make sure, even when I was little,
that everyone else was okay or happy. Th roughout my childhood, I remember
hearing my parents say to other people that I was this perfect child. “We take
her places and she is so quiet and well behaved” was a common phrase. So I just
thought that was it, I was a quiet, well-behaved little girl. Meanwhile, I felt so sad
inside and didn’t know how to express this to anyone.
When I started junior high school, I began having horrible panic attacks. I would
fear when I got home from school that there wouldn’t be anyone there and I
would be all alone. It didn’t matter that this never happened; I was just scared it
would. So I started to skip school. I would sneak back in the house and stay there
all day. Eventually, the school notified my parents. They brought me to the school
counselor. I told them of my fear, and they just said it was the anxiety of starting
junior high. Inside, I was just desperate for someone to listen to me. I knew there
was something else going on.
High school was horrible. No one realized there was something deeply wrong
with me. I think that made it worse for me. I just continued to try to hide it from
myself and everyone else. I felt as if I had to live up to the perfect child my parents
saw me as. I didn’t want to cause them any problems, so I would keep everything
inside. I had suicidal thoughts back then but never acted on them. I was very, very
depressed, yet my parents still just thought this was my personality, quiet and well
Eventually, I got married. I think I went for someone who I thought would take
care of me. I didn’t think about his character and how he would treat me, just
that he would take care of me. I didn’t fi nd out until the day we went to get our
marriage license that he had been married twice before.
At first I was told I couldn’t have children, so it was a surprise when I became
pregnant. I had a very rough pregnancy. I was bedridden from my fourth month.
Th is was very stressful for me because I was alone in the house all day. After I had
the baby, the stress continued. My daughter was premature and had to stay in the
hospital for a month. I just continued to keep everything bottled up inside. The
first time I saw a psychiatrist was after the birth of my daughter; I was 22.
My husband came home one day when my daughter was about a year old. I was
sitting in the corner on the floor just sobbing. I couldn’t take care of the baby or

anything. The doctor suggested I see a psychiatrist. This was my first experience
with a psychiatrist, who said what I was going through was normal. I just had a
baby; back then, they called it “the baby blues.” “You’ll get over it and everything
will be fine,” the psychiatrist said. I wanted to scream at this doctor, “Everything is
not going to be fine! It’s not fine!” My depression really progressed from there, and
I really only just existed. I did what I had to do to take care of my daughter and be
a wife.
My first manic episode was in my mid to late 20s. I went on a major spending
spree. I bought for myself and everyone else. I don’t mean fi ve dollar things either.
I maxed out all of our credit cards, took all the money out of our checking and
savings, and left us with nothing. My husband didn’t know at first because I
always handled the finances. When I started coming out of the mania and into the
depression, I realized what I had done. Bills were coming in, there was nothing
in the bank, and I didn’t know what to do so I had to tell him. He was livid! He
didn’t think this was because of a mental illness or anything. He just thought I
was this horrible person to have spent all the money with no regard for how hard
he worked or anything. This was the beginning of the decline of the marriage. He
started seeing my best friend. Then one day, out of the blue, he told me he wanted
a divorce.
Once he left and I had to tell the family what was going on, they were very
supportive. They found me a place to live with my daughter. My daughter was 5
and it was hard on her. One day I received a call from school that she was upsetting
other children because she was telling them that her father died. Th e school
recommended she see a psychiatrist. When I would take her there, I would think to
myself that I was the one that needed to be seeing a doctor.
It was about a month after my husband left when I decided I just couldn’t take it
anymore and swallowed a bottle of pills. My parents had gone away and had taken
my daughter with them because they thought this would be good for me. My
brother, who was about 18 at the time, was the one who found me. I remember it
like it was yesterday. He was shaking me and screaming at me, “If you don’t tell me
what you took, I’ll kill you!” Now, years later I feel so bad for putting him in that
position. That was my first suicide attempt.
Within a year, I really went manic! I went through all that I had left. I had a job
as an office manager and was PTA president. The PTA needed to raise money, so
I thought the best way to do this was to raffle off a car. My position as an office
manager gave me check-writing privileges, and I chose to use those privileges to
purchase the car for the raffle. I never thought what I was doing was wrong. I
justified my actions. I figured since my boss was always donating money, this would
be like donating money to the school. I thought I wouldn’t have check-writing
privileges if I weren’t allowed to decide where to write the checks. During this time,
I never thought I was manic or realized anything could be wrong. Th en, of course,
I swung into the depression and realized what I had done. I went to my boss and
told him about the car. He didn’t take it too well. He pressed charges and I was

By this time, I was suicidal and was placed on 24-hour suicide watch at the jail.
I had to wear paper clothes. Th e guard, who was male, told me to change into
them. I told him I wouldn’t until he walked away, not realizing they had the
mirrors. He walked away, and then I heard them laughing as I was changing. I was
mortified! I was detained until they sent me to a local private psychiatric facility a
few days later. I stayed in there for about 6 weeks, but the doctor felt I still needed
additional inpatient care. My insurance had lapsed out, so they took me back to
the community mental health center until a bed opened at G. Pierce Wood State
Psychiatric Hospital. This was in 1987.
I was frightened. When I was admitted to G. Pierce Wood, I was coherent enough
to realize what was going on. The hospital wasn’t in the best of conditions. On
arrival, I was taken to the Intake Ward. Most of the people on this ward were pretty
psychotic. People were fighting and screaming, and I just sat there wondering
how this place was supposed to help me. When I fi rst got there, I was kept pretty
heavily sedated, almost zombie like. My dad and my uncle would come up every
day to see me. They were very upset when they saw the condition I was in. They
set up an appointment for me to see a doctor. At first, the doctors said they had
to keep me sedated to get me stabilized. My father didn’t understand what they
meant by stabilized. He just thought I was drugged and that was it. To him, that
wasn’t stable. I became okay. I felt protected by two of the older staff members.
I think they saw that I wasn’t streetwise and didn’t know the “in’s” and “out’s” of
this type of facility, so they took me under their wings. Some of the other residents
didn’t feel so inclined and used to call me Princess. My parents would bring stuff
for me, and this bothered them. They would take the stuff that was brought to me
and lock it up and not give it to me when I asked for it. So I said something and
filed a complaint. The doctor wanted me to tell him who was doing this, but I was
frightened because I knew they would retaliate. The doctor kept assuring me that
nothing like that would happen. I told him that he wasn’t here at night and didn’t
know. Well, sure enough, something was said to the people who were hurting me.
Th at night, they humiliated me in front of everyone, saying, “The little princess
complained so now we can’t do this or that and it’s all her fault.” Of course, some of
the other patients there believed this, so it was pretty rough at first.
Eventually, I was transferred to another ward. I tried to make friends with the staff
once more because I was afraid that I was going to be mistreated again. The stuff
that went on there, I used to say I would write a book about it. Then I thought
people would just think I was psychotic if I did tell them some of the going-on.
People would think I was mentally ill and fabricating stories. This wasn’t the case,
though. Things that were happening there were not in my mind. Staff members
were having sex with clients. I was at this hospital for more than 3 years. Clients
were getting pregnant. Th ere was physical abuse. Verbal abuse was constant. Most
of the workers didn’t care. I don’t mean the nurses or employees who had degrees.
Not to sound demeaning, but the other workers weren’t educated and were just
there for their check and that was it. Th e night staff in particular would come in
and just eat and watch TV. To have gotten better there had to take shear willpower
because you knew for certain that you weren’t getting any help from the staff .
Common Threads — Stories of Survival & Recovery From Mental Illness

Post Categories: Florida Peer Network
  • Gary Wolfe says:

    I would agree Rose M Delaney is a very remarkable women; in that it is remarkable that she continues to create utter bold face lie years after her crimes, how do I know this?, I am one of two employers that I am aware of with whom she has embezzled.

    Fact: Rose M Delaney embezzled from a State Farm insurance agency. Rose Delaney was arrested, convicted, placed on probation and restitution was made.

    Fact: Rose M Delaney was hired by this office, and we were not made aware of her conviction for embezzlement at the time of her hiring, although she was on probation at the time. This turned out to be the first of many concealments or misrepresentations, as she was required by the State of Florida to declare that she was on probation at time of hiring.

    Fact: Rose M. Delaney did an excellent job with our clients, company representatives and in a short period of time became a very valued member of our office. However, approximately 60 days or so into her employment, Rose M. Delaney stated that needed to speak to me, as her probation officer was stopping by to “check” on her. She advised me at that time that she had embezzled at another insurance agency, she had made restitution, she turned herself in as she had a guilty conscience. The true facts will be painfully obvious later.

    Based upon the information as I “understood”, Rose Delaney remained employed as I felt at the time everyone was deserving of a second chance especially in light of the facts as, “I understood”. Eventually Rose Delaney, became office manager, was paid a good salary with benefits and had her own company car. We were friends and even family, she would bring in food that she made, and she even married myself and my wife of the time.

    Fact: Rose M. Delaney embezzled a second time this time from my office. This embezzlement was one in which Bernie Madoff would have been proud. It consisted of knowingly misrepresenting to premium finance companies that an insurance policy had been written to get money, it involved hiding client files in her company vehicle, it involved going out and paying claims on policies that were suppose to be written, having clients call her on her cellular phone as opposed to the office, changing names on checks and forgery, basically orchestrating a one women Ponzi scheme. Yet she states, “I never thought I was doing anything wrong”.

    In her story which must be a work of fiction, Rose M Delaney indicates that she was depressed and realized what she had done and I quote: “I went to my boss and told him about the car. He didn’t take it too well. He pressed charges and I was arrested.”

    Fact: “Red Flags” occurred, files were discovered hidden her company vehicle trunk and the shear magnitude of was she had done was only beginning to surface during a six month spree. AT NO TIME DID SHE REPRESENT IN ANY FASHION what she had done, and frankly, had it just been about a car, that could have been easily dealt with. All told between the embezzlement, claims that had to be paid, attorney’s and many years in litigation, in excess of $ 600,000 was easily paid out, in one fashion or another, due directly to the misdeeds of Rose M Delaney, yes that is in excess of $600,000 and no doubt closer to seven figures when you count all the extending factors such as the Department of Insurance request to revoke my insurance license, the eventual divorce from my wife, as well as the estrangement of my children against me for a period of time or the near lose of this business….should this allow me to embezzle I think not!, the title of this article by Rose Delaney, could have apt been titled: “Leaving Others Hanging By a Thread”, including her family. Was she depressed, YES, she was caught.

    Now previously Rose Delaney stated that she “went to my (her) boss”.

    Fact: In speaking with lead investigator Lt William “Biff’ Lagan, of the Florida Department of Insurance. Rose Delaney was “found out” by her first employer at State Farm to have embezzled, she didn’t have a guilty conscience, she was caught with her hand in the cookie jar. The only reason she turned herself over to authorities is as a result of, Lt. Lagan, had threatening to come to her home with lights and sirens, news teams and all the panoply of a good arrest.

    Fact: Rose M. Delaney after the first embezzlement, Rose Delaney did not make restitution, but rather her parents made restitution on her behalf, by placing a mortgage on their home.

    Fact: Rose M Delaney, ABSOLUTELY DID NOT turn herself in after the second embezzlement; she was however enjoying herself with her friends at Busch Garden’s, when her embezzlement was finally uncovered.

    Factually speaking we all know many people who have mental illness and you will never hear me dismiss the seriousness, however, for Rose Delaney to keep stating boldface lies years after the fact is absolutely beyond incredible, and to be “Executive Director”, of a organization dealing with mental illness when she fabricates the past is equally incredible. I can only recommend that the checkbook be hidden, hide petty cash, check your files, video tape and check prior references directly. WHY? We are speaking of a lady, adjudicated guilty for 2 charges of Grand Theft, both Felonies; and 15 charges of forgery which were also Felonies, thankfully I was able to make sure that legally she could never ever be employed in the insurance industry again.

    Fact: Rose Delaney never has made complete restitution to this office, although this to was to be done during her 2nd probation. I can only assume Rose Delaney forgot this as well.

    Rose Delaney is excellent at public relations, as well as a fantastic cook, and she will easily become your friend, anyone’s friend, as she is that type of person, your best friend, your pal, your BFF. Please however be on guard, as I would place odds that it (an embezzlement of some type even in the form of a “GRANT”) will occur yet again if it hasn’t already, as it is painfully obvious from reading this account of Rose Delaney and her story of survival from mental illness, that much if not a majority of it were fiction, or to be more precise it is a boldface lie, as it surely is not based upon clear evidence or the facts and to assume otherwise would be to state that the Holocaust was made up, and Saddam Hussein was actually Mother Teresa.

    In closing, refer to me as a Harbinger, I know Rose Delaney, I know the harm she can inflict in others by betraying their trust, I know the sheer hell that she put myself, my staff, my family and clients through, so if this letter helps to prevent yet another fraud, I well, I will have done my job, as no one warned me.

    Thank you
    Gary S Wolfe

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