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Mental Health Awareness Month Spotlight: Deborah Cousler

Darian Khalilpour
Author: Darian Khalilpour
Date: May 8, 2024
Tags: Diversity, Healthcare Staffing, Inclusion, Spotlight

At Amergis Healthcare Staffing, our team members are at the heart of everything we do. Each month, our Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) board highlights the story of an Amergis employee who demonstrates our core values for healthcare professionals and their patients.

As we celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month this May, we are honored to spotlight the story of Deborah Cousler, an Amergis Recruiter who has overcome tremendous challenges and embraced growth. Amergis Education & Awareness Co-Chair, Sherry Elliot, recently sat down with Deborah to discuss her mental health journey.

Deborah’s Mental Health Journey

Deborah’s mental health journey really began a few years back when she was living in Texas with a life that seemed happy and fun from the outside looking in. She had a great career, family, friends, and an active social life but was hiding her feelings of unworthiness, being stuck, numb, and just fed up with her life. Along with these feelings also came shame and guilt due to the fortunate life she had and how less fortunate others are. She knew alcohol consumption was a huge factor in her depression and suicidal thoughts, as it acted as a catalyst for many of her poor decisions that led to these negative feelings. Her life back then isn’t unfamiliar to a large majority of us; drinking most nights, staying out past 2am even on work nights, driving home under the influence and realizing most of her connections with others came through alcohol consumption. Her wakeup call happened when she drank too much wine on lunch break and couldn’t return to work. Although it took her another year to cut alcohol out of her life, she knew she needed a change and this occurrence gently nudged her in the right direction. She finally got serious about her mental health and changing her life when she met her now-husband who wasn’t a big partier and rarely drank. Deborah noticed how she felt about herself around him, the calmness, and saw a glimpse of who she could be if she just stopped making excuses and started making changes.

The steps she took to take control of her mental health didn’t happen all at once. Her first step was identifying the “root of the evil” and being brutally honest with herself. She reflected on the moments she felt her worst and identified the common denominators with questions such as “What happened before that moment? Who was I with? What were we doing?” She realized the common denominator was alcohol and her “friends”. She says cutting people out of her life was way harder than cutting out alcohol and spoke of the importance of setting your own boundaries. She justified these friendships because they weren’t bad people, it wasn’t their fault and they were there for her when she needed them. But she had to recognize the negative root of their friendship. She believes paying attention to how you feel around others is crucial when gaining control of your mental health and becoming the happiest version of yourself. Deborah compares mental health to physical health and believes everyone has their own experience with it whether they recognize it or not. “Mental health doesn’t just fit into one box. It’s ongoing, another facet of health, just like your physical health. It’s never a destination and never a point in time can you stop nurturing it.” She believes in focusing on baby steps when making changes. “Are you waking up just in time to get dressed and rush out the door to work? Try getting up 30 minutes earlier to give yourself time to have a less stressful morning or shutting your phone off earlier to get more sleep. Change doesn’t happen overnight and it’s the small daily choices that lead to a healthier state of mind.”

Deborah’s Mental Health Strategies

When asked about preventative tools she uses on a daily basis to keep her mental health in check she provided simple but helpful advice. “For me, alcohol and my best self just cannot live together. To this day, it is the best decision I have ever made (besides marrying my husband last month).

I also fully believe in the power of sunshine! Seriously, get outside and just sit or stand in the grass barefoot for 10 minutes or however long you have. Shut your phone and apple watch OFF and just BE. Challenge yourself to unplug and disconnect as much as you can and for the love of cheese sticks… GIVE YOURSELF WORK LIFE BALANCE!! You are not just your job, you are a whole person and you need to protect your time away from work. If you have a faith that you follow, dive deeper into that as well. I find that the more time I spend with God in prayer and reading the Bible, the better I feel. Something so powerful to be in solitude with our creator. Also, MOVE YOUR BODY. Go for a walk, stand up and stretch. Last but not least, remove people from your life that are holding you back. This was the hardest to do for me. I legitimately moved across the country to do so because I knew I wasn’t strong enough to stop hanging out with that crowd as long as I lived in the same city as them. As cold as it sounds, you really need to walk away from people that are not helping you move in the direction you want to be. You are your environment. Make the change.”

Deborah’s story is a reminder that we all have our own mental health journey and your feelings of struggle are valid regardless of how fortunate you are. As she says “just because you were ‘raised better than that’, have a great job, family, friends and abundantly blessed, doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to have these feelings.” When it comes to mental health, honesty is always key whether it’s with yourself or with a friend or family member who might be struggling.

Thank you Deborah for sharing your story of resilience and self-discovery!

Join the Amergis Healthcare Staffing Team and Make a Difference

Amergis Staffing always has a wide range of available opportunities for people who are ready to accelerate their careers. We embrace employees from all different backgrounds and always strive to foster a welcoming work environment by following our core values of:

Learn how you can join the Amergis Staffing team by reaching out online or visiting our jobs site today.

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