“Before I found David Lawrence Centers, I was merely existing”

“Before I found David Lawrence Centers, I was merely existing”

My name is Aome Rogers, and I am Communications Director for DLC Advocates, formerly known as DLC Young Executives.

The importance of mental health resources in any community is vital. I grew up in a small town, and I remember my first experience struggling with my mental health as a teen and not being able to find help. When I was 17, my father passed away. He was an anchor figure to me, as an only child. When he passed, I wasn’t offered any counseling services at my school. I spent the next several years not knowing how to cope, ending up in a downward spiral. I felt lost and without hope. On top of that, I ended up in more than one traumatic experience in my early 20s. Then at 24, my stepdad passed. On my 25th birthday, I remember sitting down and writing a list. It was two columns: The “pros” about living, and the “cons.” I couldn’t write down a single pro at that time.

I moved to Naples one year later to be closer to my mother. The change of scenery was nice, but ultimately, I was isolated, and ended up without support. There’s a quote that comes to mind: “Don’t just exist; live.” Before I found David Lawrence Centers, I was merely existing.

Things changed when I met my Intensive Outpatient Counselor at DLC. She worked with me three times a week for three months and was the first counselor to help me finally realize that what I was missing in my life wasn’t my father or stepfather, it was my purpose, along with being part of a community. I reclaimed the things I was good at and dove into two of my passions: art and music. I worked through the trauma and used my art, music, and my love to help others as healthy coping mechanisms. I found my purpose in life again. I met like-minded people and they became my friends and also a support network, which is an integral tool in recovery and healing.

A key takeaway for me in my recovery journey was how prevalent mental illness is in our society. Mental health disorders don’t discriminate—they can affect anyone. In group counseling sessions at DLC, I sat in the room with all walks of life. It doesn’t matter what someone’s title is, whether it be a business owner, executive, stay-at-home mother, student, or veteran. Mental illness can strike suddenly, it can be residual from years of trauma, or it can simply be genetic. Mental illness can be a child struggling with anxiety, or a senior citizen dealing with years of isolation. It is important that we check on our family, friends, and colleagues, and know the signs of mental illness. DLC offers Mental Health First Aid courses to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness and how to be there for those who need help.

After my recovery, I wanted to give back to the community that saved my life. If it weren’t for DLC and the help they provided, I might not be here today. I was invited to be on the Board of the DLC Advocates in 2019 and have been involved ever since. Writing about my story is not an easy one, especially as a young professional. However, if my story can help just one other person—because things can and will get better—it makes sharing my journey worthwhile.

Mar 04, 2022 | Blog

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