Former KVOA Anchor Martha Vazquez said her life hit “rock bottom” after a shoplifting charge that ended her 35-year career in TV news.
She "resigned" from her job and she says she sank into a deep depression and eventually left her hometown for the state of Washington.
The Arizona Daily Star writes that Today, Vazquez calls the time away from Tucson following the 2012 arrest “a healing journey.”
She has returned to Tucson, gets treatment for her depression and now wants to help others.
“I know I did wrong,” said Vazquez, sitting on her sofa in the living room of her historic barrio home. “I own it. I did it. I paid the price. I am so sorry.”
“I want people to know I made a terrible mistake. … but I don’t want it to let it define me,” said Vazquez, who asks those who spent years watching her on broadcasts, her friends and the community for forgiveness.
Today, she said she can talk about her “horrible act” that changed her life..
In February 2012, Vazquez stole a $338 jacket and a $30 pair of earrings from Dillard’s at Tucson Mall. She entered a diversion plea in City Court, paid a $180 fee and attended a nearly eight-hour counseling session.
Her debt to society was repaid in the eyes of the judicial system.
She says that she suffers from major depressive disorder, which is defined as a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest because of a chemical imbalance in the brain.
It was depression — which she will treat with medication for life under the care of a psychiatrist — in conjunction with personal problems and her belief that she was being phased out at the news station that led her to shoplift, she said.
“I acted out and my life all came to an end,” said Vazquez, who said she suffered from depression for years. She said she never had stolen anything until that day at Dillard’s.
Her husband was in Phoenix, and a girlfriend invited her to the UA basketball game, and then the two went to a movie.
“After that, I did not want to go home. So I went by myself to the mall and bought a pair of shoes and a couple of other items. She then went to Dillard’s and looked at items and then stole the earrings and jacket, recalling that after the ordeal the first person she called was her daughter, Katharine Vazquez, 33, who at the time was an animation artist in Los Angeles. She now works for a production company in New York and hopes to become a producer.
Katharine was in disbelief, recalled Vazquez. She said she explained to her daughter what she had done and the shoplifting charge that she faced. Vazquez said she then called her husband, and then the news director at KVOA.
“Two years ago, I still was overwhelmed by it and I couldn’t talk about it. I had let myself down and people that trusted me in the community down, and I had tarnished my name over a stupid thing. I was angry at myself, upset and devastated,” she said while she wiped tears.
She remembered spending months burrowed in her living room sofa, overeating and having bouts of inconsolable crying. “I kept thinking my husband would be better off without me, my daughter would be better off without me, and no one would care if I died,” said Vazquez. She said it was her husband who had her meet with a psychiatrist for medication and a psychologist for therapy.
“Depression is a disease, and it literally paralyzes you,” she said. After a year, she and Orozco moved to Goldendale, Washington, which is a small rural agricultural community about two hours from Portland, Oregon. Orozco, a general surgeon who specializes in hand surgery, was offered a job at the community’s regional medical center.
The move was a get away for a new start.
Vazquez continued conventional treatment, which helped her get to a better place. But, what helped her rejuvenate into feeling good about herself again, said Vazquez, was undergoing hypnosis, an unconventional treatment.
Hypnosis helped her accept new thoughts, beliefs and memories that helped her to stop “beating up” on herself, Vazquez said.
She said she is now a certified hypnotherapist who practices hypnosis daily. She said she lost more than 25 pounds under treatment at Positive Changes Hypnosis center, but the treatment gave her so much more than joy from the weight loss. It empowered her to realize she is “a good person who is worthy of love and respect.”
“I got more pep in my step. I felt like there was a future for me. I was not done. It gave me hope,” said Vazquez. She said she bought into the franchise and plans to open a center in Tucson next year.
“I want to help others,” said Vazquez. “One bad chapter in a book does not end a story.”