A ‘We Are Well’ Award Winner’s Path to Emotional Wellness
Editor’s Note: This is the first installment of a monthly series that will tell the stories of DaVita’s 2018 We Are Well Award winners, in their own words. The We Are Well Award recognizes teammates who have worked to improve their physical, social and emotional health, often using DaVita-sponsored wellness programs.
I started having panic attacks last winter, which I had not experienced since I was in college. I knew I needed to get my mental health in order to protect my overall health. I was depressed and lonely. I utilized my DaVita medical plan and EAP to find a local counselor to start my journey.
I was able to see that counselor for several months and eventually, I got a referral for a new counselor as my counselor was leaving private practice. My depression is being managed through a plan that I have established with my counselor, and I am no longer having panic attacks. I have been able to identify personal and work goals to maintain a healthier life without using medications.
I still go for a minimum monthly check-in with the option to see my counselor more frequently as needed. Without my medical benefits, I might not have been able to take this journey of recovery. I now advocate to bring awareness to mental health/illness and to normalize it for others who may be struggling. I want to see a change in our culture that does not create shame in mental health/illness because it is truly no different than having a cold, the flu, cancer or even kidney disease.
There are treatments available and people can live healthier lives when they feel comfortable admitting they are struggling with mental health/illness without being shamed. Depression has a face, and it is not always what you might expect to see. I have good and bad days just like many others who struggle with illnesses. Often, it is hard for people to tell the difference because I have learned how to cope and function so my illness does not consume my life. I am lucky that my depression was not as deep as others’, but I know that it could be without the care I am able to receive to treat my symptoms.