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Annie’s Story

Annie’s Story

One of the biggest eye-opening years was when I was in Grade 11. At the time, I was going through my first breakup, and it was the first time I experienced depression. There were a few months where my brain was completely fogged. I don’t remember hanging out with friends, I don’t remember playing sports. The whole time was just blurry. I had a hard time once I came out of it, once I realized how many months had passed. I first reached out to the guidance counsellor at the high school. She allowed me to come in and talk to her whenever I needed to. Over the next few years, I spoke with different therapists. When I went to college was when I was diagnosed with Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder and took my first anti-depressants.

It took me a long time not to be afraid to ask for help. There were many times when I was afraid to speak out, and over time I have kind of gotten over that fear. I feel much more comfortable to be open. The first couple therapy sessions were nerve racking. Having my mom’s support and for her to say seeking professional help could be beneficial for me, helped push me through the fear of seeking help.

Now, I am doing a lot better. I still have times where I will be doing really well for a couple of months and then fall into a rut. This is a reminder that I also have to seek therapy for myself. I have a lot of exciting things coming up in the new year and I am really excited to keep advocating for mental health and the well-being of Inuit.

I think there is definitely still stigma around mental health, especially around the topic of youth and men’s mental well-being. The older generations probably have more stigma. While I was growing up, I had experience others not understanding my mental well-being and said it was all in my head. That was a big eye opener to stigma still being around. There is a significant difference from when I was in high school to now. Mental health and well-being was talked about, but not so much advocated. We didn’t do protests like the high school did this past year. This gained a lot of attention simply because of their youth. For them to lose a classmate and then take the initiative to fight for them, is amazing. I think that they are doing well with advocating for more mental health resources. People are thinking of new ways to help themselves and others around them.

Be patient with yourself and do not be so hard on yourself. Reach out to a parent, family member or a friend. Once you feel ready and comfortable, reach out to a therapist! Making that first step to get past the block of opening up to someone will help ease talking to people about how you’re feeling in the long run. Remember to take your vitamins!

If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out to someone for support. This can be a family member, friend, or the mental health support at your local health centre or hospital.

Talk to someone you trust: a family member, elder, or a friend.