“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go, they merely determine where you start,” said Nido Qubein, motivational speaker.
“I was tired of being miserable. I was tired of coming to work and pretending to be happy and pretending that everything was okay, even though I knew it wasn’t.”
Without the help of Navy Wounded Warrior, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Shanice Dansby’s life wouldn’t be like it is today.
“I had some traumatic events happen a year or two into my career,” said Dansby. “When these events happened, they caused post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Then in 2017 and 2018 I had some more traumatic events happen that led to the PTSD and depression to be more pronounced.”
It wasn’t until she was eight years into her career that Dansby knew she was affected by PTSD and depression.
“I was in a very dark place these last two years and I was to the point where I wanted to end it all,” said Dansby.
She never realized how bad her mental health was until she returned back to work after three months of maternity leave. After experiencing thoughts of suicide, she knew she needed to reach out and get help.
Dansby found out about Navy Wounded Warrior, and what they could offer her, during one of her limited duty meetings in October of 2019. Kiana Bright, now Dansby’s recovery care coordinator, came in during a meeting and spoke about the program.
“I haven’t been to combat, or anything of that sort, and I don’t want to take the spot of somebody that actually needs this program,” said Dansby.
After some persuasion from a coworker that attended the program’s meetings, a hesitant and nervous Dansby decided to give it a try.
“I felt like I didn’t belong there because in my mind Navy Wounded Warrior was for people that had physical ailments not mental illness,” said Dansby. “People think that to be part of the program you must have a physical ailment. They don't think you can be mentally wounded,” which is not the case.
Bright and Navy Wounded Warrior conducted an assessment to find out what her needs are. They were able to give her different resources where she could get help regarding finances, education, employment and anything for her future after she transitions out of the navy.
“She set her goals, and she's very determined and articulate in achieving them,” said Bright with a smile. “She became very focused and made the most out of all the resources we provided and she plans everything ahead. She's shown great improvement.”
Once Dansby got comfortable with the program, she was able to get the help she needed and transition into a more mentally healthy person.
“They helped me out because they knew I kept to myself and kept to my kids. I only talked to friends over the phone,” said Dansby. She further explained that the program got her to the point where she was able to talk to people outside the workplace: “It helps a lot with my anxiety, with being in crowds and getting to know people. It helps me get out of my little bubble and open up to people.”
“I think a lot of people should look into it because medical can only help you so much,” said Dansby. “Having a community that really hones in on helping you get better; I just don’t think I would be here if I didn’t have the support system that they give me.”
But even with all the progress that Dansby has made over the past four months, she admits that she has yet to make a full turn around.
“I feel better but not 100 percent,” said Dansby. “I still have my days where I deal with my diagnosis and this program just allows me to get out and socialize more and not always think about it.”
This is Dansby’s story for now but it will continue. As she lives on there will likely be ups and downs; the goal is not to be perfect, but to be better than before.
“You never know how much help you can get until you take that step to reach out and talk to somebody,” said Dansby.