Tell us a bit about yourself!
I'm a native of Fredericton, NB and living a super active lifestyle. Being outdoors is a huge part of my life, and playing rugby is my main passion. I'm attending Concordia U in the new year, and am excited to start a new journey in Montréal!
Could you briefly describe your mental health journey?
I've been diagnosed several times with different disorders, not really being able to pinpoint exactly what it is that I'm struggling with. A lot of the time, I have voices in my head that I have trouble deciphering whether or not are real. There are also times where I have manic episodes that can last up to two weeks. Although I struggle, I don't let that stand in the way of achieving goals. After trying to take my own life twice in the past six months, I still manage to wake up every morning, take my medication and practice mindfulness. With group and individual therapy, I have significantly improved in being able to tame the voices, and my mania is less frequent now. I can go to school again, play rugby (which is my passion) and most important of all, I can maintain a healthy relationship with myself and the people I love.
Why is ending the stigma important to you?
Ending the stigma surrounding mental illness is extremely important to me. Growing up being ashamed of having a mental disorder and feeling the need to hide it was so difficult, and I don't think anyone should have to go through that. Talking about it is the first step to getting better.
How has being a part of the LGBTQ+ community played a part in your mental health journey?
Being a part of the LGBTQ+ community hasn't really affected my mental health in any drastic ways. When I first came out as a lesbian to my peer group, some of the girls distanced themselves and for a few months I felt isolated. But I feel that for them, they needed a bit of time to process. Besides that, coming out was so rewarding. I have super accepting family and friends who make me feel no different than before I came out. If anything, being a part of the community has made me feel more accepted and supported, which has had many positive effects in my mental health journey.
What do you wish more people knew about the LGBTQ+ community?
I wish more people knew that you don't need to be part of the LGBTQ+ community to stand behind it. You can be cis, straight, and still fight for equal rights.
Do you have any advice for LGBTQ+ youth who may be struggling?
My advice to LGBTQ+ youth who are struggling is this: don't ever feel like you're any different than your peers for loving who you love or being your true self. The biggest mistake I made throughout high school is worrying about what other people think, when in the end, to be happy, being genuine is key.
What is your favourite thing about yourself?
If I had to pick a favourite thing about myself, it would have to be my endless care for others. It can be challenging sometimes because I catch myself putting other's needs before my own, but being selfless is a quality I am grateful to have.