Name: Becca Hernandez
City: Gainesville, Fl
Fav thing about your city: Walking through the trails and creeks.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself! I skipped first grade so I was always the youngest in all my years of classes!
Why is ending the stigma important to you?
Ending the stigma is SO extremely important to me not only for other people but for myself. When I was 14 I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I was already an outcast and heavily bullied from middle school to high school that if people found out something was wrong with me that would be the end of it. When I walked around the school halls crying and feeling helpless only because hiding my depression was so hard to do, people started talking. I was this emotional, damaged, depressed girl that no one wanted anything to do with. I eventually gave up trying to talk to people about it afraid of being judged that I turned to isolating myself. With isolation came loneliness and the pain was unbearable so the only way to get rid of my internal pain was to cause external pain. I began self harming at just the age of 15. Feeling hopeless and numb I knew I needed help. I started seeing a therapist (who I still currently see) and she has changed my life for the better. Just last year I was diagnosed with panic disorder and OCD. Two major illnesses that have effected my life greatly. There's so much stigma around OCD - people think it's being organized and nitpicking certain things but there's so much more to it. I wish people would stop wearing and saying mental illnesses as trends or catch phrases, which is why the stigma needs to be ended. Now with using my platform (Instagram) I have no shame in talking openly about my struggles and how to overcome them. I post my highest and my lowest to show that it's okay to have emotions, it's okay to struggle, and that ending the stigma is more important than anything - ending the stigma means helping more people who silently are struggling so they don't turn to self harm or suicide. I am now 4 years clean of self-harm, which has not been easy but even if you relapse it does not dismiss your progress so far. Ending the stigma means making a safe environment for everyone to feel comfortable talking about their struggles to get proper help.
What does your every day look like?
My everyday is typically working, working, and more working! I work 50+ hours as a full time nanny. I love working with kids - as they are our future generation. I love to watch them grow into beautiful little humans while teaching them the most important things in life. After work I go home, eat dinner with my boyfriend, sometimes we'll go to a trail but most times I stay home and cuddle with my cats!
What advice would you give to your younger self?
To younger me,
What you're feeling now is okay. You're not broken, not damaged, and it's not the end of the world. Your struggles are valid, your feelings are valid, and the pain you are feeling right now is going to make you into such a strong person; I wish you could see yourself now. It's okay if you've lost all your friends due to your mental illness, you'll soon be surrounded by the people who matter most, love you, and support you despite your struggles. I know you're caught up in what everyone's saying about you, but none of it is true, their perception of you is irrelevant and once you realize that the only people who mater are the ones who love you, everything will make sense.
Who is a Role Model to you?
My mother is by far my biggest role model in life. My mother has been through so much throughout her life. Cancer, divorce, pain, loss, so many obstacles... but she is the strongest woman I know. She's the most humble, selfless, strongest, sweetest woman you could ever meet. She would give her last anything as long as it made someone happy. She has the biggest heart of gold, and I see so much of her in me- which I'm proud to admit. If I am even half as great as a woman as she is, I would be content with life. My mother has never left my side and never gave up on me. She has seen me through my worst turmoil, my deepest depression, she heard me cry and scream and beg to never go back to public school, but she was and still is my biggest cheerleader in life. She is my superwoman.
How do you spend your Self-Care Sunday?
Sundays are my favourite days! I usually wake up and have a delicious breakfast, kind of veg out on the couch and watch tv with my boyfriend whilst cuddling my three cats. My self-care is face masks, a bath bomb, and listening to music. Self-care has been a HUGE successor in my journey of recovery. Sad? Self care. Happy? Self-care. Angry? Self-care. Self-care is not selfish, it is by far the answer to everything.