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Role Model: Mat Comeau

Posted by Alexandra Van Rijn on

WYL: Tell us a bit about yourself!
MC:  My name is Mat, I grew up in a small french community in northern New Brunswick. I have danced for the majority of my life and started teaching in my early teens. Currently, I am a student at Saint Mary's University in Entrepreneurship and Psychology. Although it's out of my area of studies, I definitely want to do something related to performing arts in my future as it is what drives me the most and what helps me go through hard patches.

WYL: What is your connection to mental illness? 
MC: My connection to mental illness is mainly through my best friend and my roommate. They both deal with depression and self worth. I find them inspiring by the way they wake up every morning and choose to love themselves and try to fight their illness. I have had bad episode of anxiety in the past, however, I am doing much better now that I am surrounded with positivity and people who love and inspire me. 

WYL: Do you think that there is a different stigma surrounding men with mental illness? 
MC: I think there is definitely a different stigma surrounding men when it comes to mental illness. In general, people are quick to judge and love to talk. Since men do not really talk about their mental illness, it's perceived as less common and therefore, something that one should potentially be ashamed of. With that being said, I think that there is improvement regarding the matter and that people are starting to realize that living with a mental illness does not make one less of a man. Honestly, I think it's just a part of you that makes you that much more awesome because you push through it everyday. I like to believe that people are becoming more educated on the matter and more accepting, but there is quite a long way to go still.   

WYL: If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would you say? 
MC: Oh wow! I think the only thing I would tell myself, even though I know that I would not have listened, would be to just relax and remove the people who make you feel like crap out of your life. There are literally 7 billion other individuals on this Earth. You don't need that single person in your life especially when they make you feel like you're worthless.

WYL: What are you most proud of yourself for? 
MC: I am most proud of myself for (mostly) not letting anyone walk all over me regardless of the setting. I let people push me around and use me as a door mat in the past, which triggered my anxiety, and it was some of the worst times. Now I do things because I want to do them and I spend time with people I love and who loves me back. I am very proud of being back on top of that hill that I had fell off of.

WYL: Who is a Role Model to you? 
MC: I have SOOO many people that I admire and who I perceive as my role model, but I think one person who kind of just stayed in the background, but was always there, is my dad. I was not the typical child and especially not the typical son. I was in dance, I was into all types of things that the ''typical'' son would not be into, like AT ALL. He was always there to support me. He even learned how to dance so he could be in a show with me. My dad encouraged me in everything I did and keeps on doing so and accepting/loving me for who I am.


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