Meet the #WYLfamily. Addie began as an intern in February and in May she came on full time as our Executive Assistant. From organizing events to answering e-mails, she helps keep the good vibes flowing and the ship afloat.
WYL: Tell us a little bit about yourself
AV: Hi, my name is Addie and I have the best job in the whole wide world- Wear Your Label’s Executive Assistant. I am also a novice artist and model and a recent graduate from St. Thomas University! When I'm not in my favourite place (aka at work) I love going on adventures with my friends and writing poetry.
WYL: What’s your connection to mental health?
AV: I have many connections to mental health; some of my best friends live with schizophrenia, bi polar disorder and are survivors of sexual assault. Personally, I have had a very long history with self-injury and I am very happy to say that as of December of this year I will be 3 years self-injury free! It was a long road to recovery for me, as self-injury was my go-to way to cope for the majority of my life. When I came to the realization that it wasn’t something that I wanted to continue with, it was a drastic shift. Because I didn’t have my outlet to handle stress any more I began experiencing what seemed to be random “stomach migraines” on and off for two years, which later turned out to be the beginning of a stomach ulcer. My doctor not only prescribed me medication to rebuild my stomach lining, but also prescribed me self-care.
WYL: Why is raising awareness about mental health important to you?
AV: It was so difficult for me to ask for help when I needed it. And when I finally did, it felt like the whole world was against me. Those around me actively discouraged me from seeking help and even when I reached out to my doctor I wasn’t taken seriously. The stigma was so overwhelming for me, even where I self-injured was based off the fear of someone finding out. It wasn’t until about a year after I stopped that I became open with my mental health struggles and my whole world changed. If sharing my story can make just one person find peace within their struggle then we are that much closer to ending the stigma.
WYL: Any advice for someone who might be struggling with mental illness?
AV: Of course!
1.Talk about it! When you are struggling it is so easy to get lost in your own mind, but when you speak up and let those around you know how you are feeling or what you are going through, it can make a whole world of difference.
2. Feel every feeling. Do not let someone tell you that you are being over-dramatic or that your feelings are somehow invalid. As Dumbledore once said "Of course, it is happening inside your head, Harry. But why on earth should that mean that it is not real?" Allow yourself to experience every emotion that comes your way- it will put you on the fast track to finding your most effective forms of self-help.
3. Keep going. It may be difficult to see it when you're in a tough spot but I promise that one day everything will be more beautiful than you could ever imagine. Your pace is not important, baby steps are still steps in the right direction.
WYL: Fave thing about working at WYL?
AV: There is literally so many things that I love about my job! I feel so lucky to work for Wear Your Label – my roommates think I’m bizarre because I get so excited on Sunday evenings knowing that my work-week is just around the corner.
If I had to choose one thing it would have to be responding to the heartfelt emails that you all send to us! It warms my heart to hear all of your stories of strengths and struggles and I love being able to sprinkle positivity all over the place, especially to people who may really need to hear it.
WYL: What's something random about you?
AV: I eat like a child! Pizza, mac n cheese, tacos…. Terrible food is the way to my heart!
WYL: What is your favourite thing about yourself?
AV: My positive attitude! It took me a long time to get to the place I am so it is something I really cherish.
WYL: What's your fav song RIGHT NOW?
AV: "Alaska" by Maggie Rogers - if you haven't heard it yet look it up!
WYL: Favorite Wear Your Label piece?
AV: ‘Stressed but Well-Dressed’ will forever be my favorite WYL saying, but my favorite item that we have right now is the Self-Care Isn’t Selfish tank in that beautiful maroon colour - it looks fab on everybody!
Photos: Kelsey Schroeder