Anne and Dave Robbins have lived at Brightview West End for almost three years. She can always be found receiving her weekly manicure with the other ladies from at Brightview West End while they talk about what’s going on in the news. She enjoys live music in the community and always shouts out her favorite requests to the piano: “As Time Goes By” from Casablanca; “Get Me To the Church On Time” from My Fair Lady; and ANYTHING Irish!
She and Dave faithfully attend Wednesday afternoon Catholic Masses at Brightview West End. You can always hear her sharing stories of her time in the Carter White House! Recently, Anne spoke with The Washington Post about her close relationship with the Carters and how the couple, particularly the former first lady, helped her with her depression:
The mornings were some of the worst times for Anne Mahoney Robbins, when her depression became so crippling that she wondered whether she could summon the strength to get out of bed.
It was the 1970s, and Anne had not told many people how she had struggled with depression for more than a decade. She feared the stigma of mental illness would make her undesirable to employers and unacceptable to family and friends. One of the people Anne did tell, however, was not turned off by her depression — and that person happened to be the first lady.
So when the phone would ring at her Maryland home in the morning, Anne picked up and was told it was a call from the White House. Rosalynn Carter was on the line.
“She’d say, ‘Are you out of bed? Have you taken your shower?’” Anne, now 81, recounted in an interview. “She said, ‘Anne, you’re Irish. The Irish are tough. Are you tough? And are you out of bed?’”
Carter would press her to get going, repeating “I need you to take a shower,” until Anne complied.
Anne was part a member of the Carter administration’s Mental Health Commission, and her husband, Dave, now 88, was a White House aide. Until now, she has not publicly talked about her depression or the role the first lady and president played in helping her. But after former president Jimmy Carter said he was spending his final days in hospice care and Rosalynn Carter was recently diagnosed with dementia, Anne said, she felt it was time to open up about the way the couple were there for her when she was struggling.
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