On May 1, Terri Roseler reached her breaking point.
After years of dealing with physical ailments and mental anguish, she was ready to take her own life.
"I was at such a low and such a state — physically, mentally, emotionally — just done for," she said. "I was broken and shattered."
It was a team of health-care professionals in Brandon that intervened at just the right moment. Roseler is grateful for the care she received and says they saved her life. The genuine kindness shown to her was the first step in turning her life around.
"By simply acknowledging me as a human being, by taking what I was saying seriously ... I think I was in the right place at the right time. The stars aligned."
Roseler, who is morbidly obese and diabetic, has had a tragic few years. Her father died in 2014, and less then six months later, she lost her stepmother. Last summer, her house burned down in Minnedosa.
"It’s been one thing after another," she said. "Everybody has that in their life, I’m not saying I’m the only one. But the stress level is high, and unfortunately I’m a stress eater so that did not help my situation any, which I take full responsibility for."
Roseler, 44, has sought medical help over the years, but never felt like she was taken seriously.
"Unfortunately, there’s a stigma that if you’re a fat person, ‘well, there’s nothing we can do, because you won’t be anything other than fat.’"
It all came to a head at the end of April, when she went to an emergency room in rural Manitoba. She had painful sores on her body, and she was concerned about infection. She received some ointment for the sores, but she and her common-law husband, Steve Garvin, felt like she needed serious attention, both physically and mentally.
A mental health worker helped facilitate a meeting with a psychologist on-call in the Brandon emergency room. It was there that the couple explained the gravity of the situation, and she was admitted to the Centre for Adult Psychiatry. Soon she was introduced to a nurse, who Roseler now calls her angel.
"When you become so discouraged and wanting to give up the fight, just to have somebody just sit and listen — something so simplistic — was just flabbergasting, and my whole story came out to her," she said. "Not only did she listen, but she heard what I was saying. There’s a vast difference. Things started changing right then and there."
The next day, she was transferred to the Brandon Regional Health Centre, and met with a whole team of specialists. Tests were conducted, and it was soon determined she had extremely low levels of hemoglobin in her blood. After a transfusion, her condition improved significantly.
"I could move around and breathe better, I could think better," she said.
Roseler is now a patient at the Assiniboine Centre, and expects to be transferred to Hamiota hospital in the next few days. She says the past 12 days have been a roller-coaster, but she has already made great strides.
"My mental state changed drastically overnight because I saw that there were people that cared. People that were willing to take the time to look at me, and see me and fix me," she said.
Her insulin regime has been altered, and she has already lost more than 25 pounds. All of this combined, has made a profound change in Roseler.
"I am not blameless in how I got to where I was," she said. "I just got to a point where I was so helpless … to get out of that hole I was in. And when somebody sends a ladder down, you’re going to be happy."
She is now optimistic about the future. Along with her husband, she is making plans on how to make changes at home, so the progress can continue.
"With what they did, I no longer want to take my own life. I feel elated," she said. "I don’t ever, ever want to go back to where I was, and I realize that in order to do that I need to do a lot of work."
Roseler was inspired to share her story after she was so overwhelmed with gratitude for her medical team.
"If I’d have gone home, I don’t know that I would be here today," she said. "For them to take the time to care and to give me what I needed physically and even emotionally… It’s amazing how little things can create big change."
If you are struggling with depression, there are many resources in Brandon. A starting point would be to contact Westman Crisis Services at 1-888-379-7699. A great resource for adults is Community Mental Health Services (204-578-2400) at The Town Centre. For children under 18, there is a special line: 1-866-403-5459.
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