What was it like when you first started struggling with your mental health? What did that look like?

I didn’t know what was happening. I couldn’t breathe. I felt numb. I was scared.

When did you realize you needed to get help and why did you take this step? If you never got help, why didn’t you? Was there a specific fear/reason? How did you get help or support? Did you find it helpful? What were the gaps you noticed, if any?

I never asked for help. I never told anyone. I was ashamed at the time and did not want anyone else important to me to feel my pain or feel bad in anyway. It was my way of dealing with myself, because I knew I could…I also did not want to feel worse trying to get help because I have known people who had a hard time finding the right sources that worked for them, were available, or cost friendly.

What’s the most valuable lesson you learned from mental illness?

I learned that life is too short—cliché I know—but it is true.

What advice would you give to your younger self? Would there be any major changes you would have made in your life related to your mental health?

I think I would go back to tell myself not to worry so much what people think and just be a kid. Also to look in the mirror and love what is staring back at me. With that said, I don’t think I would change anything to do with how I handled my mental health. It is all a journey.

What’s the best way to improve your mental health or take care of it?

I think talking to someone you trust helps for most people, but for me it was writing things down and creating music. It helped me let out my feelings.

How would you rate your mental illness right now out of 10?

If I had to put a number on it, it will be a 5. Some days are better than others.

What’s your advice for someone who wants to support someone with a mental illness but doesn’t know how?

The best thing to do is to listen and remind them about why they are special in your life. It is also really important to keep your friend occupied and do things you love to do together like baking, shopping, playing soccer, etc.

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This is not a site for personal disclosure of suicidal thoughts or behaviours. If you are in crisis, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency department for assistance.

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