Name: Saige Haines
City: Quispamsis, NB
Fav thing about your city: Quispam has so many friendly faces and I run into people I know everywhere I go! It’s nice to have such a tightknit community.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself! I can almost always be found in the bath
Why is ending the stigma important to you?
I have struggled with my mental health for as long as I can remember. When I first got diagnosed with depression and anxiety I was petrified to tell anyone. I would never admit to having bad days, I would blame it on a cold or a headache. I was 15 and already scared of the world and how I would be treated if someone found out about my struggles.
Ending the stigma is important to me because I’m tired of having such negative things attached to mental illness. I should not be ashamed of who I am, and my mental health is a part of that. If I had a broken arm, I would not be ashamed or try to hide it. So why do I feel like I need to hide my arms full of scars? I want to end the stigma so little 15 year olds like I was can feel comfortable reaching out when they notice they’re not okay. I don’t want anyone else to suffer in silence like I, and so many others, did.
Getting diagnosed with borderline personality disorder changed my perspective and put me on this mission to end the stigma. My “labels” are nothing to be ashamed of, and I think it’s so important to show others. Labels are not are disadvantages or weaknesses, if anything they are an explanation of emotions, showing us that that it’s not our fault, and that we need a little extra help, and that’s okay.
What does your every day look like?
My mornings start off with me struggling to get out of my big comfy bed, usually doing my daily scroll through Instagram first. Eventually I make my way to the shower and start my (very specific) routine. I eat my breakfast and take my medication, snuggle my puppy, listen to my favourite music, and then head off to work. I get to spend my days taking care of wonderful little people who have so much potential and watch them grow into people who will change this world.
At some point in the afternoon I get a post ready for my @bpdbabes campaign that I run with a friend. We get to share a new brave person's story every day and watch everyone connect and form a safe space. After work I head off to class. My days are quite long so when I get home I try to do something for myself. Whether it is a bath, spending time with my family, taking a nap or writing in my journal. And I end my day with a snack, take my other pills, and watch Friends.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would tell younger me to put myself first some times! My whole life I have put others before myself and have always tried to please everyone. Sometimes you need to put yourself first, and that can be very hard to realize. Do not stay in relationships or friendships that don’t benefit you. You are special too and you need to remember that you do not owe anyone anything.
Also, don’t be afraid to be you. Be proud of your sexuality, be proud of your body, be proud of yourself. You have nothing to be ashamed of. You are the best you that there is and you should love who you are.
How has being a member of the LGBTQ+ community played a part in your mental health journey?
Being a member of the LGBTQ+ community has played a huge role in my journey. "Coming out" for me, was not the experience anyone wants. I was outed by my parents after they read my journal. Through this they found out I was seeing a girl, and a girl they didn't like at that. When my parents read my journal they also found out about my self harming habits; until then I had hid it very well. I never wore shorts or short sleeves, and I made sure my door was locked or they were asleep. Because my parents discovered both of these things, I misconstrued their disappointment for me hurting myself with me liking girls. They were both so upset, and I remember thinking it must be because I'm bisexual, my biggest fear had come true. Years later and after having healthier relationships with girls I have realized that my parents accept me for who I am, it was just the timing that made me feel like a disappointment.
Another reason being bisexual affected my mental health journey is because I came out at a very young age, before people in my grade were accepting of the LGBTQ+ community. I got lots of discrimination at school, as well as not being allowed to see one of my friends because of my sexuality. Even now with very supportive friends and feeling secure in my sexuality, their are times where mention being bisexual and receive a bad reaction or a dirty look.
What do you wish everyone new about the LGBTQ+ community?
WE'RE STILL HUMAN. Some people look at me like I have 2 heads when I say I'm Bi... what does my sexual preference, or lack there of, have anything to do with who I am as a person? I promise you my genuineness, intelligence, empathy, and love did not disappear when I came out. I'm still me.
I wish people knew that yes bisexual people do exist, and no it is not a phase. Now that I'm dating a boy, I constantly hear "oh it was just a phase" or "so you don't like girls anymore? I don't fall in love with someone because of anything other than who they are and how they make me feel.
I wish people knew a lot about each letter of LGBTQ+. Which is why I am an advocate for taking pride in your sexuality and never feeling guilty for who you love.
Who is a Role Model to you?
In my life I have met SO many amazing people who inspire me and have made an impact in my life. And all of these people are role models to me. Anyone who struggles getting up in the morning but somehow powers through and does it anyway is a role model to me. Anyone who wears their heart on their sleeve and goes out of their way to see people smile is someone I look up to. The people who have “imperfections” but don’t let that society define them are role models to me. And the many other mental health advocates, who share their story and try to tackle this stigma, are people I would consider role models as well.
How do you send your Self-Care Sunday?
Self-Care Sundays are my favourite day of the week. I usually let myself sleep in, and take my time getting up and ready. I hate feeling rushed and sometimes you need to go at your own pace. I like to take my dogs for a walk; I love fresh air and admiring the views. The peace and quiet gives me time to practice being mindful and clear my head. I have one of my favourite meals planned out earlier that week (something to look forward to) so I enjoy my dinner and then I run myself a bath. I LOVE baths so I pick from one of my many bubble baths, or bath bombs, and/or bath salts and bring in some fruit and a cold glass of water.
I end my day with someone I love, snuggled up in bed watching my favourite show (Friends) and simply enjoying each other’s company. At some point in the day I also make sure to spend time with my family and do at least one to make someone else smile.