What is a Role Model? Not too long ago, we decided that it wasn't enough to cast fashion models based on height and comp cards. We wanted to showcase the stories of real people, who are brave enough to wear their label. Maggie is one of those Role Models.
WYL: Tell us about yourself?
M: Hey! My name is Maggie and I recently graduated from Queen’s University with a B.A. Honours in Sociology. I specialized in consumer culture and collective behaviour and I’m trying to get a job in marketing for the summer! I love traveling, dancing, rose wine, pizza, my friends and family, and my favourite flower is a peony. I am navigating through life in Toronto and attempting to figure out what I want my life to look like.
WYL: What is your connection with mental health?
M: Last year, October 2014, I was diagnosed with depression. I thought I had just been down and missing my friends and long distance boyfriend more than usual that summer but when I got back to school and nothing changed I knew there was something wrong. I was encouraged by my two best friends to seek help and I was diagnosed. This has been an ongoing struggle in my life but I have learned to focus on the positives and try to find at least one thing each day to be grateful for.
What would you tell yourself a year ago?
One year ago I was preparing to face the summer in Toronto, where none of my best friends or my boyfriend live, and I was feeling quite apprehensive and alone. I would want to tell myself that I am not alone and that there are people all around me who love me. Mainly not to be afraid and that I will always be okay.
Why did you want to share your story?
I wanted to share my story because there are so many people suffering from mental illness, and every single person has mental health to take care of so I was hoping to demonstrate the fact that no one is alone. Even if you feel as though you are there are people surrounding you, near and far, who love you and want to help you however they can. I also wanted to do my small part in making mental illness a normalized conversation, talking about an illness shouldn’t be something that is taboo or stigmatized.
Why is ending the stigma around mental health important to you?
M: Ending the stigma surrounding mental health is immensely important to me. It is incredibly unfair that some illnesses are deemed acceptable to have and discuss and some are seen as the fault of the person affected are not often discussed. Ending the stigma surrounding mental health is a very important step in making mental health and mental illness topics that are discussed openly and so that the problems in the mental health care system are addressed.
Any advice to someone struggling with mental health?
M: If you are struggling with mental health my main piece of advice is not original but that doesn’t make it less important; do not struggle in silence. Being silent about your mental health or mental illness will only make it worse. Reach out to the people around you who you trust and I promise you will find love and support.