Stacey was afraid to go out in public during the pandemic.
Worried about catching the potentially deadly virus, she chose instead to isolate herself as much as possible, mostly removing herself from the outside world. For a person who has struggled with loneliness, depression, and suicidal thoughts, this self-imposed quarantine could have been a substantial detriment to her mental health.
Instead, it saved her life. Here’s how…
After about a decade of homelessness, drug use, unhealthy relationships, self-injurious and suicidal behavior, and a jail sentence, Stacey was referred to DLC by the Collier County Mental Health Court in March 2020. At 48 years old, after a lifetime of pain and a lifestyle of risk, she felt like she was finally ready to turn things around.
But that was exactly when the world changed when everything essentially shut down because of the pandemic. Since Stacey didn’t want to go out with this new virus on the rampage, she opted to take advantage of DLC’s Virtual Care Center, participating in sessions — including trauma therapy — via online video.
She says it’s the best thing that could have happened.
“If my counseling sessions were held in person at DLC, I don’t think I would have opened up as much and gotten to the root of my problems,” says Stacey. “For me, it’s a lot more comfortable to do it from home.
“I think the online sessions helped my therapy. I was more relaxed at home. I don’t feel like I do when I’m at a doctor’s office. I feel like I’m talking to a friend at home. So I opened up and shared more.”
Stacey is just one of the hundreds of DLC clients who have been helped since the Virtual Care Center services launched in early 2020. Online sessions became necessary because of the pandemic, but even once fully beyond the days of COVID, DLC will continue offering Virtual Care for clients who are right for it for the same reasons Stacey embraces it: Many people are more at ease talking from their own kitchen table over a cup of coffee or tea.
It all started in her childhood
Stacey’s challenges began even before she started attending school. Both parents were involved with drugs and struggled with addiction, and she says her grandparents were not much help either: “I didn’t really feel loved by anybody.”
Sexually assaulted by a family friend at a very young age, Stacey first attempted suicide at age 6. She says she was playing on a swing set when her only friend in the world suddenly said she no longer wanted to be friends. After the friend walked away, Stacey tried to hang herself by the ropes on the swing. Her grandparents took her to a clinic for counseling.
By the time she was a teenager, Stacey was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety. Years later, she was also diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.
Most of her adulthood consisted of substance use, harmful relationships, risky behavior, and several suicide attempts. “I was hurting myself with the way I was living,” Stacey says. “I didn’t care if I lived or died.”
Fast forward to a little more than a year ago, when she was referred to DLC for help… and where her story became literally a virtual success, thanks to Virtual Care.
“I think I’d be dead if it weren’t for DLC,” Stacey says. “Their help has saved my life. Things are going well now, and I’m happy.
“For the first time in my life, I wake up looking forward to the day ahead.”