Coping with loss? Woman credits willingness to seek help for saving her life

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) In life, no one can escape loss. Whether it's the loss of a loved one, a job, a relationship, etc..., we all experience the hurt and pain.

For some, that experience becomes overwhelming to the point that they fall into a deeper place: depression. RoxAnne Romey experienced the depth of depression from personal tragedy.

Today, with a much brighter outlook on the other side or her journey, she's in a position to help others struggling with mental illness. This is something she loves, but she wasn't always so enthusiastic.

"Dark days started for me when I found my brother who committed suicide," Romey says.

The trauma led her down a dark path and eventually, she discovered drugs and alcohol weren't enough to help her cope with her brother's death.

"I knew I needed help because I couldn't do it myself," Romey says. "So I reached out for help and I got help for my depression."

She got clean at the same time and started fulfilling her dreams, first as a social worker, then as a therapist.

"Life was going pretty good. And then the bottom fell out," Romey says.

Traumatic events pushed her back into depression.

"A lot of times, individuals are going to need assistance or some kind of help because of some loss they've experienced," says Shi Slaughter, a therapist with COMCARE. "Often times, when we think of loss, we think of the death of a loved one or someone close to us. But loss could be loss of employment, loss of relationships. It varies from person to person."

Slaughter says more times than not, people need some kind of support to make it through the losses in life.

"Often times, we're dealing with individuals who've been told if you seek help, you're broken, or you're crazy, or there's something wrong with you," she says.

Romey experienced more loss after her brother's death. She lost her partner of 12 years and then her mother, just last year.

"I really miss my mom. Luckily, I know to reach out to a therapist," she says.

Romey says had she not reached out for help, she doesn't think she'd be alive. By getting the help she needed, she says she now enjoys life, coaching others through the stigma of mental illness, people who, like her, weren't afraid to finally reach out for the help they need.