Name: Sasha Prince
City: Los Angeles, California
Fav thing about your city: The continuum of creativity
Tell us a fun fact about yourself! I love eggs.
What is your connection to mental illness?
When I was around the age of 13, balancing my mental health became very challenging. As if growing up with learning disabilities and as a child of sexual abuse wasn’t already a full plate, depression, anxiety, ADHD and body dysmorphia decided to join the party. I can remember struggling with myself at as young as the age of 8, but things seemed to get really messy and confusing as I approached my teenage years.
I believe my first attempt at suicide was around this age and after leaving my public school to enter various treatments in search of “mental clarity” I was sent to a therapeutic school for the remainder of my high school education (this was far from helpful, I have to be honest). Devastatingly, my first and only friend at my new school took his own life at just 16 years old. Unfortunately I would witness several other suicide attempts through the remainder of my young adult life, garnishing my mental health cocktail off with some severe trauma issues. So here I am, mid 20’s still trying to figure things out through self-discovery, connection, and compassion. We tend to feel so alone, but if we look in the right places we can find the people who are just like us, with struggles and stories like ours.
How have you overcome your struggles?
Becoming self-aware and educating myself on mental health has been one of the most powerful tools that I could have equip myself with. It has taken a very long time to begin to learn and understand the difference between “real life problems” and my “mental games”. I like to think of it as mental gymnastics. Through committing to a healthier life-style, weight training, learning proper nutrition, and taking part in various other physical activities such a yoga and aerial arts, I have been able to challenge my mental state beyond places I ever thought I could go. Finding passion has taught me resilience, goal setting, discipline and determination. I don’t think I would have been able to sit here and type this, to even collect my thoughts on the topic, or have the confidence to talk about it if I hadn’t entered the world of “fitness”.
What has been your greatest success so far?
Regaining my physical health to pursue healing my mental health takes the cake here. Having body dysmorphia, one of my most proud moments was when I was able to step on stage in front of hundreds of people in a bikini, and be happy for myself regardless of the outcome.
What does your everyday look like?
Since I never really know the person I am going to wake up as each day, this question can get complicated quickly. Somedays I wake up full of life and passion and energy, ready to take on whatever comes my way. Other days, I have to fight with myself to even leave the house. My everyday practice consists of a lot of self-love, self-care, and gratitude. Each morning will wake up and make myself a delicious breakfast, always accompanied by some sunny side eggs and coffee. I make sure to sit and eat as quietly and mindfully as possible, using this opportunity to set a tone for the day. Though to most it may seem selfish to care for yourself, it is really the only way you can begin to be and offer your best to the people and communities you care about. I try to make a conscious effort to check in with the ones I love, as well as myself, throughout the day and share as many smiles and as much laughter as I can. After all, laughter is the best medicine. No matter what type of day I am having, I make sure to train my body and my mind daily with reading and taking part in physical activity. These two in tandem without fail, always make me feel spectacular.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would tell her to hold on, and look up. That she has more to offer the world that the boundaries of her past taught her. I would tell her she has a voice and to have the courage to use it, because there is always someone who’s is watching and listening, who needs your strength to find their own
Who is a Role Model to you?
A role model to me is someone who continues. Someone who shows flaw and admits fault, but is constantly working to better their situations in pursuit of the larger picture. A role model is someone who isn’t afraid to speak against the grain, to tell it like it is, even if you don’t want to hear it. A good role model shows dedication in a movement, even when there may be only one other voice cheering them on. A role model is a fighter, a lover, a believer, a realist and an educator. Someone who makes you feel something.
How do you spend your Self-Care Sunday?
Since moving across country, I haven’t set into a great Self-Care Sunday routine again. But, usually I will try to spend time outside, go to the gym, and be around loved ones. I feel that it is important to have alone time to clean out your “head space”, so I will often take the time to go for a meditative walk to clear my head and connect with nature. A Self-Care Sunday practice I would like to incorporate is a journaling of the week I had, followed by a mantra for the week to come.
Photos by Jersain Steven Medina