Name: Ashley Jacklyn
City: Jersey City
Fav thing about your city: It's diversity
Tell us a fun fact about yourself: I'm actually an alien in love with the moon and Orca whales, haha!
What is your connection to mental illness?
I have a mental illness called Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Basically I worry about a lot of things. Things that other people wouldn't take a second thought to have. In extreme cases my fears become irrational and so terrifying that it paralyzes me and keeps me from having a normal day. It's one of the most complicated things I've ever experienced because I know my fears are irrational, I just can't stop my thoughts from having them. So it makes me feel kinda trapped in my body.
What does your everyday look like?
My everyday differs and depends on how I'm feeling at that moment. I'm at a place where I know my triggers so that I can either avoid them or prepare myself for the ride that I'll be facing. It's not an easy life but I don't think life is easy for anyone. Yes, I am different and I do have to live my life a little differently than a normal person would but I consider my life pretty typical. Because I'm so understanding of my illness, I accept a lot of my "faults" and learn to find the beauty in my differences. I try to not let it hinder my life but I do have my days and when I am feeling unwell and lost in myself, I take the necessary care I need to get myself back.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
The advice I'd give my younger self is to love myself deeper. Too many years of self-loathing because I couldn't understand my mental illness; too many tears shed because I felt alone and afraid. If only I could tell her how beautiful and powerful she was for being so vulnerable.
Who is a Role Model to you?
This is such a difficult question to me because I'm not sure if I find anyone to be a role model to me. I try not to put people on pedestals because we all make mistakes, but I do look up to people who are talking about mental health, not as role models but as comrades in this journey to fight the stigma.
How do you spend your Self-Care Sunday?
My Self-Care Sundays are usually laying in bed an extra hour more. Cuddling with my fiancé and dogs, being grateful to see another beautiful day. I always remind myself to take it slow and do something that inspires me. It can be taking photos, dancing around the room with no care in the world, making a homemade treat or watching my favourite film. As long as I'm surrounded by my family, I'm content.